Chef Reif Othman is one of Dubai’s most celebrated chefs. He truly is a feather in the culinary hat of MyDubai. As if we weren’t crazy enough about Play as it is, they have now embraced (what is perhaps) Dubai’s favorite institution, and introduced the Play Friday brunch!
The brunch was everything I had expected, and more. I felt like I’ve stepped into a secret, ,underground party that could not possibly be more fun. In the middle of the day, we had cabaret dancers, a live singer, and a house full of very well-fed, very happy diners. The food kept coming and kept flooring me. I would have stayed there forever if I could, and might just have written a love song for the melange of utter brilliance in textures and flavors.
The brunch was my favorite kind: ala carte. This means everything was made-to-order, plated beautifully enough for Instagram, fit for sharing, and unlimited! This ensured that we got to try a bit of everything, and go for seconds (or more) of whatever we liked, with little to no wastage.
Here’s some of what we got to try, and LOVED:
We started off with the crispy duck salad and I swear to you, I could have just eaten 10 plates of this and come home a very happy camper. We had to save room to try other things too though, so I only asked for one extra helping, but I WILL be going back for more of this.
Salmon tataki with a sesame jalapeno mustard sauce. I wish I could lick this plate clean (again) through my screen this time, as I write this caption.
The “Playful” salad with crudites and goat cheese. Anyone who knows me knows I loathe goat cheese, but M liked this a lot.
Shrimp tempura. Not my favorite thing on the menu, but only because it was dwarfed in comparison to some of the other truly creative and umami options.
The money shot: the sushi, sashimi and maki platter. I loved the maki so much that I asked for seconds.
I swear to you, the look in M’s eyes when he saw this “Mushroom Pot” had a lot more longing than when he saw me walking down the aisle. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t considered using truffle oil as perfume. Suffice to say, he wiped this bowl clean, under the pretense of hating to waste food.
Please don’t judge, but M likes his meat well-done. It was therefore baffling to me, how this well-done steak was still SO juicy, tender, and melted in our moths like butter. Can someone give Chef Reif Othman a Nobel already?
I’m usually not a fan of shrimp that isn’t fried or cooked in butter, but this was the bomb dot com. Can we take a minute to appreciate the presentation first? Done? Ok, great, now let me return to my reverie of how delicious this was.I loved that it was cut up in bite sized pieces and tossed in just the right amount of citrusy (yuzu?) sauce!
Remember, I told you about the second helping of maki? Yeah.
THIS is when I really started making sand angels. Girrrl. I mean. Just LOOK at that. The raspberry balsamic sorbet, the mochi, the pistachio ice-cream and the sneakers bar were my favorite items on this dessert platter, although it really was hard to pick favorites.
As much as I hated to conclude this meal, my stomach let me down and turned out to not be the bottomless pit I always thought it was. A cup of green tea and I called it a day, but I’m still suffering from withdrawal.
The menu for the small plates changes every week, so don’t have to be worried about getting bored with repetition. The menu for the mains changes only once a month though, so rest assured, you can also count on encores of some of your favorite items. Thank God for all that is good in life (read: this brunch).
VERY reasonably priced at AED 330/pax for the non-alcoholic package, this has got to be one of my top two most favorite brunches in Dubai, and I can’t recommend it enough.