Fancy a picnic in the desert?


Fancy a picnic in the desert?

The new Saturday brunch at Al Forsan Restaurant at Bab Al Shams has everything you would expect from a laidback weekend out

By Keith Perena

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Published: Thu 31 Oct 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 8 Nov 2019, 12:03 PM

It was a different sight in the morning, I thought to myself as I made the hour-long trip to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa for their Saturday Picnic Brunch. The first time I was here was about two years ago - new in town and hearing about a meteor shower being visible in this part of the UAE. I admire the hotel's beauty as it's struck by the afternoon sun. But enough about the hotel because we're going for a picnic.
Unlike your run-of-the-mill brunches, where it just involves sitting down at a fancy table and eating non-stop for the next couple of hours, the Saturday Picnic Brunch has guests sitting down around the gardens of Bab Al Shams. Guests are given a picnic basket filled to the brim with all the essentials - plates, cutlery, breads, cheeses, cold cuts and even jars of salads. The rest of the buffet is served outdoors so that at no point are you taken out of your picnic experience.
That being said, here's a quick breakdown on what you should expect from this unique brunch.

The brunch combines different flavours. I enjoyed experimenting with this aspect. Pulled beef on top of a salmon cake? Yes, please. Chocolate churros with extra chocolate on top? Definitely doable. I enjoyed the kebabs too. Each morsel had its juices flowing between the crevices of the meat.

Whilst guests can choose to sit inside the Al Forsan dining area, the real experience lies with sitting on a grassy patch and enjoying your meal from there. The gardens lacked fences, giving guests direct access to Dubai's rolling dunes. It definitely adds to the feeling of being outdoors.

Snappy. As soon as food disappeared from one area, it was promptly topped up. The servers were attentive and also indulged themselves in a story or two, which gave the dining experience a more personal touch. Thumbs up for that.

Going back to that wicker basket - it made me feel as if I was in for an English-style, like-you-see-in-movies kind of picnic but I was mistaken. While there were rugs set up in the garden for it, they were in the traditional Arabic style that the hotel is known for.

At Dh450 for two people, it's quite a good deal, BUT, Bab Al Shams is a 50-minute drive. If you're willing to make the trip and have your meal surrounded by sand dunes, and the season's cool breeze on your face, I'd say it's well worth the price.
Al Forsan Restaurant,
Al Qudra Road, opposite Endurance City
+971 4 809 6194 and e-mail
Cost for two: Dh450 (with soft drinks)
RATING: 3.5/5

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