Andiamo Brunch by Robertos
What : Brunch
Where : Robertos, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi (the same brunch is available at Robertos in the DIFC, Dubai)
When : Every Friday from 12pm to 4pm
How much : AED 295 (brunch + soft drinks); AED 395 (brunch + signature cocktails/wine); AED 495 (brunch + Italian bubbles); AED 555 (brunch + French bubbles). Kids aged 5 and under eat for free otherwise the charge for brunch is AED150 per child.
Access and parking: The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Galleria Mall and directly beneath the Rosewood Hotel. Free valet parking is available at the Rosewood should you wish to drive. Remember to get your valet ticket stamped otherwise there is a charge of AED50. Taxis are readily available at the Rosewood if you need one after brunch.
Atmosphere : Cool and laid back with some good tunes. The restaurant is flooded in natural light and boasts retractable doors that open onto a beautiful promenade over looking the Arabian Gulf.
Clientele : This is very much a grown up brunch. One to be enjoyed at your table and probably best enjoyed without small kids. Let me caveat that by saying there is ample space for strollers and there is a chocolate fountain and pasta so this is not completely off bounds to younger children. I feel that there are other brunches with dedicated kids' rooms and cooking stations that would be better suited for brunching with your little ones.
Dress code : Robertos does not have a strict dress code but leave your shorts and flip flops at home. You'll feel comfortable in smart casual attire (see last image below to see what I wore if you need a little guidance).
Brunch format : I overheard someone at Robertos saying "buffet brunches are the end of civilization." This made me chuckle. More and more establishments are moving away from the traditional buffet style brunches either towards a menu served exclusively at your table or a hybrid between table service and self-service. I am a huge fan of the hybrid brunch because of the flexibility it offers between a sit down meal where all diners eat together and the freedom to taste a bit of everything that your over-sized eyes desire! Robertos offers the hybrid brunch. There are two self-service elements to this brunch: an amazing oyster bar and a hefty dessert station. Appetizers and main courses are brought to your table by polite and knowledgeable staff. There are 3 appetizer options, each option contains 6 small plates of food. A margherita pizza is served along side the appetizers. After the appetizers comes a pasta dish and mushroom risotto which is finished in a parmesan wheel and served at your table. Main courses are ordered from the menu - you choose from either a meat, fish or vegetarian dish.
Food : The food is excellent. Carnivores will love the beef tartare - it's finished at your table, packed full of flavor... a taste sensation. Sea searchers can get their hooks into the tasty tuna tartare which is dressed in light green lime and avocado polka dots. If you think you have had a good pizza, think again. The choice to use fior di latte mozeralla makes the pizza super creamy. The pizza base is thin and crispy in the right places. The main dishes are good but nowhere near as good as the appetizers - I always think that appetizers are way more interesting than main courses in most restaurants. The food at Robertos' brunch is most certainly not like mamma used to make it but rather how mamma's talented Michelin star offspring makes it. Scroll down for images of the dishes served at this brunch, I've tried to include as many as possible.
HSQ's point of view : Robertos get full marks for atmosphere, menu choice, quality of food, brunch format and service. I appreciate that there is a fine balance between bringing a halt to the cooking process and keeping food warm. However, if I am being picky I would like Robertos to consider warming plates so that food stays hotter for longer.
HSQ's tips : Pace yourself. There is a lot of food. The appetizers are the absolute star of the show but do keep in mind that after your 6 appetizers you have risotto, pasta and a main course before you even hit dessert. Use your 4 hours wisely!!!