A family-friendly brunch in Abu Dhabi you need to experience at least once!
When we recently asked our readers what are their current favourite brunches in Abu Dhabi with the kids we heard an overwhelming shout-out that relative new kid on the block, Crust at the Four Seasons on Al Maryah Island was not to be missed.
Seeing what all the fuss was about, the Globetrotters headed there this past weekend to give it a try. Would it be a new contender for our “Top 5 Brunches in Abu Dhabi with kids”?
This post is part of our series Discover the UAE – pop over to see all our family family-friendly activities, accommodation and attractions
What to expect at Crust Friday Brunch
A 12.30pm Friday start at the beautiful Four Seasons on Al Maryah Island, you might need a little detective work to find the venue as sadly there’s no signposting in the foyer – but to help you out, head behind reception and up the elevator to the first floor!
From here, the doors are grandly opened at 12.30pm on the dot and we are lead through the stunningly modern dining room to our ample sized table, perfectly fitted next to the main buffet and kids room.
The Ambience at Crust
Certainly befitting of the finest of Abu Dhabi brunch experiences, this is definitely one to take your guests to for a bit of “wow factor”. You are treated to amazing views from al Maryah Island back to downtown Abu Dhabi. The room feels decadent and relaxed, not overly pretentious but not overly party-party. Immediately, we feel it’s somewhere you’ve come for great food, a great chat and relaxation.
My only criticism, if any, is that it felt a little dark and enclosed at times. With all the brilliant views and light it felt like we were very much cooped up inside. There was no outside seating as we thought, perhaps already too warm in March, but also I know flies and inadequate shade can be a UAE nuisance to outdoor dining, even in winter.
The Service & Food
This was undoubtedly a point where Crust exceeded our expectations and what really made the experience.
From the simplicity of booking, friendly smiles to greet us at the door (they were ready on time – amazing how many places still look disorganised when you get there). Your package is discretely discussed at the outset – no embarrassing fluoro wristbands shouting to the room that you’re drinking! The layout of the room and order of service is explained.
Not just a help yourself buffet, a great surprise was the chefs’ trolleys. From about half an hour into service, the chefs start coming around with sample sized dishes for you to try. If you don’t enjoy brunches because of all the ups and downs and feeling like you’re never all actually sat at the table, this is the place for you!
We had no problems with queueing at the buffet. There are plenty of live stations and staff on hand to help, describe the dishes to you and take meals to order.
Now we won’t ever profess to be total foodies, but we certainly liked what we got! Extensive seafood starters on offer, beautiful breads, salads, fruits, a selection of roasts, pasta station. We liked that all dishes were clearly labelled and also a gluten-free corner is offered.
Now whether this is a good thing or not, why do they put the deserts right at the entrance? Is this to remind you not to glut too much on your mains as you know what’s to come? A stunningly beautiful display of sweets and chocolates through to cheeses. As is usually the case, yes we didn’t get through sampling everything and that was with just Mr Globetrotter and I chatting, not a big group!
The drinks offering on the alcohol package was not extensive, but more than adequate. As well as the usual house hops and grapes, there are a few cocktails of the day as well as a gin trolley that was doing the rounds (albeit it would have been nice to see a few more – they were still very happy for table service too though).
On the whole, we really felt we were greeted with a smile by all staff, table service was prompt and attentive. The chefs enjoyed talking to you, and the head chef made the effort to talk to customers at the end of the afternoon too. We were not rushed to settle the bill and invited on to enjoy the sunset at the Eclipse bar.
And of course for the kids
This is really what we had come to test – is it one of Abu Dhabi’s most family-friendly? Without a doubt, our crew were very happy.
The kids’ room was very conveniently located to the restaurant while not being obtrusive (groups without kids may say otherwise). We were seated in an absolutely prime position where we could see what was going on but not be constantly disturbed. If you are visiting in a group with kids, definitely ask to be seated here. No need to book seats for your under 6’s, they have some small table and chairs in the kid’s room and their own separate buffet.
The buffet selection for kids looked lovely, typical fare that I know my lot of unadventurous foodies were completely satisfied with! The more willing taste buds can, of course, join you in the main dining room and buffet for everything that’s on offer, no problem (children under 6 are free or discounted for 6 to 12 years old).
As well as the sweets and treats on display, our kids also enjoyed the ice creams, fairy floss and chocolates, as well as the traditional chocolate fountain, I mean what would brunch in Abu Dhabi be without that?! For our Mr Fussy, an extensive fruit selection and pasta made to order (See they did eat something healthy too, honest!)
The children’s room is staffed with a clown, magician and a helper from the hotel’s kids club so rest assured they are safe. If you have younger ones you can’t renege all responsibility, you may want to bring your own helper if you don’t want to be disturbed or worry about wondering fingers in the candy jars.
The kids’ room itself is relatively basic not many extras fittings are brought in but it’s a great open space, a small indoor bouncy castle seemed to get the most attention along with face painting. The magician also does a round of the room to entertain the adults, far from cheesy we thought it was a good fun touch. Late afternoon they put a little show on for the kids that was well received.
The children came home with many balloon creations, painted faces and little containers of Jelly Belly sweets. Extremely satisfied little customers and very happy parents who also felt they got some ‘time off’.
What will brunch at Crust cost you
As at March 2018, the Friday Brunch at Crust, Four Seasons will cost you:
Soft drinks package 285AED+++
House Alcohol Package 395AED+++
Premium Champagne Package 560AED+++
Kids 6 to 12 years 125AED+++
Kids under 6 are free
NB Prices are INCLUSIVE of 5% VAT, but EXCLUSIVE of 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee and 4% municipality fee.
The “After Brunch” package at Eclipse bar on the roof deck is apparently no longer available, but they are happy for you to visit afterwards with a 2-4-1 happy hour running through until 7pm. It only applies to selected alcoholic beverages though – expect a can of Sprite for your littles to set you back more than brunch!
We couldn’t help but agree with our readers on this one and give Crust Brunch at Four Seasons a big thumbs up for the family crowd.
It is one of the more expensive Friday packages but certainly does not disappoint. We would recommend this for special occasions and when you want to give your visitors something special to remember. The views, the service, the room, the selection and importantly the kids are thoroughly thought about and included in the experience.
If you are visiting without kids, ask for one of the tables with a window further away from the buffet; with kids see if you can be seated next to the kitchen / playroom for ease of supervision.
And yes it’s made our cut for our revitalised “Top 5 Family Friendly Brunches in Abu Dhabi” – which means we’ve had to do a little shuffling in our queue for 2018! Pop over to our original post which has now been updated best we can for 2018 prices and packaging. Should think there are any errors or omissions in our rankings, of course, give us a shout to rectify!
Want more family-friendly dining and activity advice in Abu Dhabi? Pop over to the local Facebook group we run “With the Kids AD”. You can also check out our extensive range of family-friendly activities and adventures in “Discover the UAE”
Disclosures: Our costs for attending this brunch were partially covered by Four Seasons for the purposes of conducting an independent review. We are not sponsored or paid to present our views here, as always, all opinions remain our own. You can see our full disclosures policy here.