Making the most of the good Dubai weather, off I went on a Friday afternoon to meet a girlfriend over a brunch review, my 8-month old in tow. It was the Hillside BBQ Brunch at Vida Hotel in Emirates Hills. Pet-friendly, kid-friendly and apparently it included pool access – sounds pretty good huh?
Here’s what we to expect, and what we thought of it :
Where is this Vida Hotel?
There’s a number of them in Dubai, but this is that Vida you always pass when you’re crossing over the highway to get to Reform. It’s situated strategically at the edge of Emirates Golf Course so the pool overlooks all the greenery, and that massive Top Golf that has just launched. Still don’t know? Google.
Where is the brunch held?
Origins, their all-day dining on podium level right by the pool. Grab a seat outside on their terrace – it does get a tad chilly as their terrace itself is shaded for most of the afternoon, so bring a cardigan, or a jumper, or a coat… whatever tickles your fancy.
What sorta food do they serve ?
Self-explanatory with the name isn’t it – it’s a BBQ brunch.
There are three buffet areas – one for cold seafood, one for desserts and one for carbs – pizzas, wontons, nachos, breads. Having been to Vida Downtown numerous times, I find that they do keep to similar concepts – no extensive, lavish buffets – it is minimal but food is of high-quality. The shucked oysters and peeled prawns fresh, their octopus salad delicious. They use a lot of cheesy catch phrases like ‘Talk Nacho to Me’ and “Hot Teasers’ to label their food 😉 Loved their panko prawns and prawn wontons as well.
At the station outside, you get your pasta, grilled vegetables and freshly barbequed prawns, beef steaks and chicken. Prawns were a little mushy for me on Friday but everything else was perfect.
You get 3 beautiful cocktail choices which they prepare at the bar. There’s also sparkling, the standard white and reds, draft Heineken and bottled Coronas. Drinks service was pretty good on Friday – the staff was topping up the glasses without request.
Is it family-friendly?
They do market it as kid-friendly, and it being at Vida which does have a residential section would make sense that it be so. There were a few families with young children when we went, however it be mentioned that there isn’t any specific ‘kids entertainment’. There is space for them to run around, and there is a playground tucked away in the corner (you won’t be able to see it from the tables). There is also pool access so if you have big kids they can hop in for a swim and come back to eat. Toddlers – you’ll need to be with them.
There are games you can borrow during the brunch – the likes of Monopoly, Charades and Twister. More so for the grown-ups.
Did you say we can bring our dogs?
Yep! One of the few dog-friendly hotels around. They even have a dedicated playground just for them.
Things to work on?
We had a pretty good afternoon. There was only a few minor things we picked up on which could be worked on :
- With the whole buffet concept where you wait for staff to service you – they definitely need more staff at the stations. One person at each station is not enough and it was evident from the queues.
- Some staff needs more training when it comes to conversing with guests. When asked “What’s in the cocktail?” the answer should never be “Drink it.” We felt that some staff was there just to ‘serve’, and not to liaise with guests. Forgivable on a brunch launch I suppose, but definitely wouldn’t go well going forward.
A very chilled, laid-back brunch overlooking the Emirates Golf Course. Tables in the terrace were properly spaced out so they were definitely adhering to social distancing rules here, which was nice. Come here if you want to try out a new alfresco brunch in Emirates Hills. You could make it a whole day affair by making full use of their pool as well (note: It is shaded after 4pm..)
- Hillside BBQ Brunch
- Origins, Vida Hotels Emirates Hills
- Price: AED 249 (per person) soft beverage package, AED 299 with hops, wine and sparkling, AED 360 with cocktails.
- Time: Fridays from 1pm to 4pm
Disclaimer : We were guests of Vida Hotels Emirates Hills to review their Hillside BBQ Brunch.