Week 7 – Picnic brunch

Brunching is a hugely popular pastime here in the UAE – Friday’s are very often spent splashing out varying sums of money for an all-you-can-eat-and-drink package deal at any one of the hundreds of hotels around the UAE. Girls will get dressed up in heels and dresses, boys will don their sexy shirts and show off their fancy-pants shoes. You’ll also find the odd brunch that doesn’t require fancy clothes – a simple pair of shorts and t-shirt will have you fitting right in.

And now a new brunch has fallen upon us. The picnic brunch! In food trucks! On grass!

It’s your standard brunch expectation – noon ’til 4pm, unlimited food and drinks, atmosphere, music, friends.

But they’ve taken this one step further and your venue is a large grass patch at a local golf course, there are no tables, the seats are blankets scattered all over the grass, and you order your food from food trucks placed around the perimeter of the fenced off area. Arrive, take your shoes off, walk around barefoot, sip on cold beverages, stuff your face with food, play board games (that they have supplied, or bring your own!), read a  book, roll home satisfied. Sublime!

We all arrived just before 12 so that we could avoid the queues, and found ourselves a prime location near the DJ, near the drinks, and a far enough walk away from the food to make us not feel guilty about how much food we were guzzling down 😉

Our favourite food truck, by far, was Gobai – their signature dish(es) are the chips (fries) covered smothered in a choice of topping… Goan chicken, pulled lamb vindaloo, spicy beef cubes, etc. Absolutely delicious!

We tried to sample pretty much everything on offer – we’d each get a dish from different places and share everything… except for the ice creams 🙂

The music was fantastic for a lazy Saturday afternoon – chilled lounge vibes blaring from the speakers placed around the venue, and as the sun started fading beyond the horizon, the music got softer and more laid back with it, until eventually the sun disappeared and we were entertained by some live music from a 3-piece acoustic band.

But, make sure to dress warm if you plan on staying past sundown… while it was great fun walking about on the grass barefoot, in skimpy shorts and tops, once that sun starts going down the temperatures drop and drop and drop until you’re layering yourself up (personally I added on 5 layers – the socks got put on, the boots came back, a scarf was put around my neck, 2 jerseys, and eventually a blanket!) But it was all worth while as we huffed and puffed on a shisha to finish the night off, before heading home at a reasonable hour, and to climb into a warm bed and prepare for work the next day.

Loved this concept and I hope they manage to pull off many more of these!

But now for some constructive criticism for the first-time event…

The flyer clearly stated UNLIMITED food and house drinks, and upon confirmation we were sent an email that stated that you would be able to order drinks based on the arm band that you were wearing which would distinguish between the different packages on offer: alcoholic, non-alcoholic or kids.

When we arrived my friend who was doing non-alcoholic was asked to pay the full price. She didn’t argue, but unhappily handed over the full price and received her armband. We were then each handed a batch of vouchers – a collection of different drinks vouchers to be used on the day. Unlimited?

We went to the barmen and asked them about it and eventually got told that the drinks are unlimited and that we could then use the vouchers if we were staying past 4pm, when it was then open to the public and drinks and food would be charged on consumption.

My friend then queried her full-price payment and they agreed that it had been incorrect and they gave her back the balance.

4pm rolls around and a few of my friends were leaving so they gave me their vouchers to use so that those of us staying could still enjoy a few free drinks. At about 6pm we tried to use one of the vouchers and were told NO. One of my friends went up to the organiser to then query this and was told that they’d “changed their minds” and the vouchers were not valid. Fine, we’d pay.

While our issues were (semi) resolved, and we did have a great day overall (and the place was PACKED so people couldn’t have been too upset), the organisers really do need to sort out their package details BEFORE the day, and ensure that everyone knows what’s happening on the day – and not ‘change their minds’ halfway through the day.

Below are a few more photos that I took on the day – click on any of them for a larger view.

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