After a busy week for all of us, Tom and I sat down on Thursday afternoon and decided that we needed a treat (and a drink!). For us, this means a trip over the causeway to Bahrain. We do have lots of great restaurants and hotels in Al Khobar, but I have to stay in my abaya and there is no alcohol, and whilst I have no problem with these things it is sometimes nice to have a little break.
So, a quick look on booking.com for somewhere cheap, clean and safe with enough room for all of us to fit for the night, turned up Elite Seef Residence and Hotel. We could drive back over the same day of course but remember – don’t drink and drive! We were really happy with Elite Seef actually and would probably use this place again. It would be worth staying for a bit longer as their pool and kids areas looked great. Enough about that though, this is about brunch!
Brunch is a big thing in many countries around the Middle East. For those who don’t know, it’s not breakfast/lunch with pancakes or eggs as you might expect, it is usually where hotels offer an enormous buffet with unlimited food and drink between 12 and 4pm. Dubai is probably the king of brunch and some of them are absolutely unreal. You really can’t imagine the sheer volume of food and drink on offer or the opulence of brunch at the more expensive hotels. Everyone should try it once! Even the biggest brunches in Bahrain have nothing on their Dubai counterparts.
We weren’t after a “party brunch” though. It would be our first as a family of five and we wanted somewhere relaxed, with a chilled atmosphere, good quality food and drink, some table service and a bit of space for Arthur and Eirlys to run around in if needs be. We have done the Café Amsterdam brunch before and this ticks all those boxes, plus their garden space is perfect at this time of year. Café Amsterdam is undergoing a refurb at the moment so Vinoteca Barcelona (who usually do a Saturday brunch) have taken over the Friday slot.
On arrival we were shown straight to our table, given menus, offered drinks, made to feel welcome. The menu was small but perfect. There was breakfast with pancakes and eggs Benedict: a choice of tapas style salads like seafood, tomato and basil, pear and rocket: a bbq doing ribs, burgers, beef and fish: a huge paella: a dessert taster platter. Groups were sitting down under the olive trees, starting with sparkling wine or huge glasses of sangria, ordering a mix of salads to go in the middle of the table and then being brought small plates of paella or a charred burger.
The staff were attentive and thoughtful, they even realised that I needed somewhere to change Bertie before I asked and opened a room with more space in Café Amsterdam for me. The food was delicious and freshly cooked as it was table service rather than buffet style. The garden is quite small so although not “family-friendly” in the sense that there isn’t a play area or kids menu, it felt like a family lunch. Everyone relaxed and enjoying their weekend in the sunshine together. When Eirlys managed to run into a door (she does this a lot, maybe we should be worried?!) even the large table of guys next to us were checking she was ok.
We started with breads and salads and the waiter overheard Eirlys asking for the olives, so brought her over her own bowl of mixed olives, earning her love for the day. The staff also kept replenishing the bread and tapenade as fast as Arthur and Eirlys demolished it. Tom and I moved on to some gorgeous pork ribs and chorizo: a basket of chips was snuck out by the staff for the kids as they shared a burger: Bertie woke up and was cuddled: sangria and infused G&Ts were topped up: everyone found room for a tiny fruit tart or meringue. Perfect!
Disclaimer: I took no photos of any of the food because I was having too nice a time eating it and forgot. I’ll have to go back another time…what a shame!
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