For (what feels like) half the city, brunch is more than just an experience – it’s a competitive sport. You’ll block off an entire Friday because brunch is happening, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
Even if you’re “not into” the brunch scene, chances are that you’re in favor of a good deal, which involves an affordable meal, endless beverages, and maybe even a little entertainment. Let us be the bearer of some good news: right down the road, in Abu Dhabi, resides a hidden gem: brunch at the recently opened The Abu Dhabi Edition. Having checked into the hotel to enjoy a full menu of its lavish amenities (the city’s best steakhouse, a spa experience unlike any other, and access to all sorts of cultural excursions), I can safely say it was the brunch that stole the show – and serves as a damn good excuse to book a staycation.
Chew on This
Located at the rear of the hotel, Alba Terrace is where the aforementioned brunch awaits. If weather permits, you’ll want to sit outside near the pool, where a sweet-voiced jazz singer will croon as you navigate an enormous feast that includes a burrata bar (read: burrata customized to your heart’s content).
You’ll also dine on three courses rife with Mediterranean-inspired dishes served sharing style – an absolute steal considering the absurd all-inclusive brunch price of AED 240. Have we mentioned that a trip to Abu Dhabi is worth it for this brunch alone?
Sounds Like Bliss
If you end up at The Edition Spa as a twosome, take note of the fact that booking in for a couple’s massage grants you access to your own private wing, complete with a steam room, a massive shower room with a wooden platform for lounging, changing rooms, double closets, and dual sinks. The total privacy that this thoughtful detail allows is just the proverbial cherry on top.
I tried a 60-minute massage accompanied by something called “sound therapy”. Pardon? Ignorance is bliss. Just go with it. As a massage connoisseur, I am delighted to report that the talented hands at The Edition Spa were some of the best I’ve ever encountered. After lulling me into a stupor with her expert massage techniques, my therapist began the sound-therapy segment of the treatment, which turned out to be the one of the most deeply relaxing experiences of my life – so relaxing, in fact, that a drive back to Dubai in torrential rain couldn’t faze me.
So what is sound therapy? Well, it involves gongs and metal bowls that are placed around the body and gently tapped to create vibrations that reverberate through the skin and down deep to your tissue and marrow. As a result of this East Asian technique, sound waves become a physical sensation that enforce stillness in the mind and relaxation in the body. I don’t remember my feet touching the ground when I left the spa suite – I was floating.
Steak Your Claim
The Abu Dhabi Edition’s crown jewel is Oak Room, a posh, masculine restaurant that is decorated with rock ‘n’ roll-themed art and happens to boast the best cuts of meat in town. Created by Tom Aikens – incidentally the youngest chef to receive a Michelin star – the steakhouse is the culmination of craft, talent, and arguably the highest quality steaks in the country.
I was eager to road test Oak Room’s lofty claims, and it did not disappoint. One of the coolest features here is the ability to purchase a massive side of beef and then store it at the restaurant for expert aging – the ability to carve a steak from your personal side of beef makes for a culinary experience unlike any other, after all. Unaware of this meaty offering, I settled for the Oak Room’s impressive steak menu, which detailed the age and location of each cut’s origin.
In my humble opinion, you can’t beat filet mignon, so I selected the ‘USDA Prime Tenderloin’. And while it was incredibly flavorful, it’s something else on the menu that I still crave: the ‘Housemade Ricotta’. Plated with simplicity, it featured basil, a mouth-watering drizzle of barrel-aged balsamic, and some of the best heirloom tomatoes I’ve ever tasted – but that ricotta was something else. Go for the steak, stay for the salad? Hey, stranger things have happened.
Out and About
A stay at The Abu Dhabi Edition means that you’re only a 20-minute ride from the beaches of Saadiyat Island and the countless shopping, leisure, and entertainment options at Yas Island. Alternatively, if you’re up for something with a little more adrenalin, you can paddle around the mangroves in a kayak, courtesy of Noukhada Adventure Company.
Like Sharjah, Abu Dhabi is also a hub for art and culture, so stimulating your senses with pit stops at the always photogenic Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must – do it for the ‘gram if you have to.