Qbara is one of Dubai's fine-dining hotspots that opened at the beginning of the year in the WAFI Fort Complex. It's become a popular haunt amongst the trendy Dubai crowd with a growing reputation for exceeding even the most discerning guests' expectations. So, when they announced the launch of their Friday brunch, I was eager to discover Qbara's offering.
One of the most impressive features of Qbara is the venue itself. The restaurant exudes grandeur from the moment you step inside. Its dark and mysterious décor, high ceilings, and modern Middle Eastern theme are alluring to say the least. It's an architectural masterpiece designed by Studio Glitt, the Tokyo-based agency that designed the renowned Zuma Dubai. The restaurant is spread across two floors accessible by both elevator and stairs. The main dining area is set on a raised, circular platform next to the bar and stage on the ground level, while the casual dining area with a selection of private seating options is upstairs. The restaurant's focal centerpiece is a two-story tall, vertical installation of carved timber panels used to project visual art displays. You'll have to look twice as these captivating projections portray an illusion of moving walls — especially mesmerising after two glasses of Veuve Clicquot.
We start the afternoon's festivities with a pre-brunch cocktail at the catwalk-worthy bar. 'The Bedouin' (one of their highly recommended signature cocktails) is utterly refreshing. It's made with premium bourbon whiskey, butter, sumac, dates and honey that makes it almost too easy to drink. Once seated, our waiter presented us with a menu full of Qbara favourites that were brought out in succession. In true Middle Eastern tradition, a feast of crudités were served first, with freshly baked bread, humus, and za'taar. The appetisers included a delectable Turkish beef tartare, a Moroccan harira soup, lobster kibbeh with avocado labneh, and crispy soft shell crab were enough to induce food-envy. As for main dishes, a chef's selection was presented that included sayadieh of black cod, marinated poussin with sumac; and wild mushroom risotto with freekeh, labneh & za'atar.
The highlight was the spicy lamb cutlets with rosemary, oregano and minted labneh, simply divine. With an assortment of vegetarian, fish, poultry and red meat dishes, there was something on the menu for every dietary requirement. Throughout our dining experience, waiters were on standby to top up our champagne, and copious cocktail requests.
As any seasoned brunch-goer will tell you, a Dubai brunch is not worthy without entertainment. Cue the talented magician who delighted guests with his magic, illusions, and tricks. With gourmet-savvy dishes, excellent service, and a buzzing atmosphere, this goes down as a rather perfect brunch indeed.
Qbara serves brunch every Friday, between 12:30pm and 4:00pm. Prices are AED 350 for the non-alcoholic package, AED 490 for the alcoholic package and AED 590 for the Veuve Clicquot package.