Where is it possible to brunch in style, enjoy magnificent blue ocean views and keep the kids happy?
The Abu Dhabi brunching scene is far from exclusively reserved for foodies and swinging singles. Families are increasingly a welcome part of this Friday phenomena in the UAE – in fact many restaurants are going out of their way to create an environment the whole family can enjoy.
We recently had the pleasure of enjoying Friday Brunch at Safina, Saadiyat Beach Club
In terms of setting, it doesn’t get more luxurious and stunning than this. Perfectly located on the serene white sands of Saadiyat Beach, you are served up uninterrupted views of the gulf from the outdoor terrace dining. We really got the feeling we were in for something classy, and it did not disappoint.
The Food at Aqunch – Safina Restaurant
Safina’s Friday speciality is their outdoor barbeque, cooked to perfection with some incredible inviting aromas. Inside the restaurant, there is a great array of live cooking stations from pasta to tartar. Seafood lovers are incredibly well catered for with many dishes available cooked to order. Watching your fresh food be prepared and talking to the chef is one of the wonderful novelties of a brunch and something Safina has executed to perfection. The overall selection of food is not as vast and never-ending as some brunches we have been to but what they did, they did really well and with great customer service.
The centrepiece though is unarguably the dessert table – quite cheekily you need to parade past this as you enter the restaurant, so you know that stomach space will be required for the end of the meal! Our little ones were salivating over the masterful creations and kept coming back for more. As well as the traditional chocolate fountains, the gumball and cupcakes were a winner with my brood – and not forgetting the grown-ups I loved the cheesecake, fresh pavlova and the strawberry moose. I normally end up too full for dessert but I was certainly making an exception for this amazing selection, and so beautifully displayed in chocolate earth, it was a creation in itself.
For the kids, they really enjoyed watching the live cooking stations and having their own pasta made in front of them. There is also a kids corner with the standard fare you’d expect for fussy eaters – chips, nuggets, burgers – I won’t deny that my lot still gravitate to these things despite the huge range of other foods on offer; I do like that I can have confidence they’re not going to go hungry and don’t see this as a distraction.
And for the kid’s entertainment at Aqunch
Once the kids had done their best demolishing the dessert buffet, the over 3’s can then enjoy the free kids club located poolside. Not just a “dump and leave” daycare, the staff get actively involved in games and activities with the kids as well as the usual face painting that Abu Dhabi kids come to expect! We came home with several festive creations from our Miss 5.
(Update: as of 2018 the kids club for Brunch patrons has moved to the Ballroom, we cannot advise if this is fully supervised with the same activities)
If you ever feel you’re not welcome with kids at brunch, then Safina in comparison honestly rolls out the welcome mat – in fact, I don’t think there was a table around us without at least one child. This by no means detracts from the luxury and ambience of the setting (probably because, like ours, most ended the afternoon either peacefully napping in their strollers or went to the kids club!).
The only small let down was unfortunately despite the best effort of staff, the flies were a bit of an annoyance while we were eating outside. They only seemed interested in the food to be fair, and by the time we got down to the important business of cocktails they had disappeared. Anyone who particular hates their presence can, of course, be seated inside but we simply couldn’t resist the views being on the terrace so put up with this slight distraction.
Which brings me on to the cocktail menu, quite an extensive selection for a brunch where sometimes only beer & wine is on offer. We were particularly fond of the house speciality vodka based mixers served in jars with a variety of flavours – a little odd at first but I can assure there is no more perfectly relaxing way to spend the afternoon than sipping your Stoli mixer with a cheese plate, admiring the view and knowing your kids are entertained.
The afternoon comes to a relaxed end when their resident DJ starts playing beachside hits, our juniors were quick to get out on the grass and enjoy this after brunch had drawn to a close at 4pm. Adults can relax into the evening here but for us, it was time to take our very tired, very full-bellied and beautifully painted children home.
Friday Brunch at Safina really did feel like an escape from the normal brunching circuit with an ambience like no other, we would highly recommend this as a family-friendly option in Abu Dhabi with a touch of class.
Pricing for Safina Friday Brunch
Adults: Packages from 299dhs soft / 399dhs house / 499dhs French Bubbly
Children up to 12: 99dhs
Under 6’s: Complimentary
Access to the pool and beach come at an additional cost but can be purchased together with brunch, prices starting from 399dhs++ dhs++ for adults.
Prices updated as at September 2018.
Getting There – Finding Saadiyat Beach Club
A tip for those trying to locate Safina – you need to look for the Saadiyat East exit from the Sheikh Khalifa Freeway – closer to Yas Island than Abu Dhabi & Mina Port. (Some may know it by former name the Monte Carlo Club).
Don’t let your driver confuse it with Saadiyat Beach itself, yes we learnt the hard way, and no, the two parts of Saadiyat Beach are not directly connected by road!
For more family-friendly brunch ideas don’t forget to check out Abu Dhabi’s Best Brunches..with kids and for more family-friendly activities in the UAE come to our Discover the UAE home page
Disclosure: We received complimentary access to Saadiyat Beach Club for the purpose of providing an honest review of the Safina Brunch, all views are our own. You can read our full disclosure policy here.
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