Olea, Kempinski Hotel, Dubai

Olea – The latest brunch in town. We all know Friday activity in Dubai is Brunching and we head to Kempinski Hotel, Mall of Emirates to try their latest Levantine brunch at Olea Restaurant. That’s when I realized that there is no other restaurant that serves traditional Levantine Brunch in any of the Emirates.  Located on the 2nd floor, the interior was very fancy, welcoming and warm with orange, green and brown being the dominant colors in their theme.

Kempinski Hotel, Dubai

Priced at AED 225/ person, the concept of the brunch was a brunch Souq, very unique indeed. Probably that’s why the atmosphere was very relaxed and interactive like you’re at home, no pressure of fine dining. There were an in-house singer and a pianist which added five stars to the ambiance.

The Juice Station

Moreover, there was a very entertaining juice server who would even perform and the whole team of chefs would join him and sing and dance along with him. It made the whole atmosphere very light and relaxing.

The cold mezze section consisted had quite a collection. Including hummus, fattoush, Salad and grape wine leaves. The taste of all of them was good and unique, much finer than the usual.

On the main course side, there were 2 soups, lentil and broth based. The dishes weren’t labeled. On inquiring, I was explained why there were no labels on the dishes by the man of the hour- Chef Bilal. He told me that their main aim was to bridge the gap between the guests & the chefs hence no labels.

That’s why at each station there is a chef awaiting you with a warm smile, to explain you the dishes himself. That bonding takes the whole brunch experience to another level. There are more or less 10 chefs present there, all are masters in their respective departments.

The reason why chef Bilal came up with this one of a kind Souq Brunch was that he wanted to go back to the basics and offer dishes in their most authentic and rustic forms.
The techniques used in cooking certain dishes were the ones that were used almost 50 years ago. Like the manaeesh which is usually rolled out first then baked in an oven, here was being spread out with hand on a hot traditional pan, which was such a sight to watch!
Meat grilled over hot coals
The spinach & Lahm fatayer were also very moist and tasted better than others served elsewhere. The shawarmas were made with a special bread, and the beef inside was juicy and flavorful, cooked to perfection.  I loved it. The kibbeh too was very unique and mouthwatering. There were even prawns and some traditional meat and chicken gravy that were in the buffet.
There were a few rice dishes as well which I certainly didn’t have room for. There was even quinoa with chickpeas and chicken which tasted really good. My personal favorite were the falafel which were freshly fried and tasted divine.
Raw Kibbeh
The fresh juices and cocktails section was commendable. I ordered kiwi, mango & strawberry cocktail and to my surprise, it tasted tropical, tangy and sweet at the same time- just the way I like it.
Other than that, there was a wine section, a dessert room & a very interesting kids candy & cupcake section. Hence the brunch was very family oriented, it had something for everyone irrespective of their age. The cotton candy cart was a visual treat.
The Wine room
The desserts were mostly Arabic sweets and they provided sugar syrup on the side. There was also a station with Fresh fruits and a duo fountain of Chocolate & Strawberry. All the desserts were delightful.

The chef explained to us how the Kunafa is eaten. Round sesame bread is sliced open and the sweet cheesy Kunafa is placed in between to make a sandwich.

Duo Fountain – Chocolate & Strawberry

Apart from the dessert station there was a Candy station for the Kids to enjoy. It was designed very well. It was low in height. Had a lot of cartoon characters and everything kids would love. Jellybeans, cupcakes, lollipops, gummy bears & lots of candies.

Upon Exit, the manager handed us lovely gift bag which had a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

There’s more space outdoor to sit if you like the weather. Even though the concept of the Brunch is Souq and meant to be interactive, I would still prefer my food have a basic label. One should definitely visit Olea for its vibrant and lively atmosphere. All the food and drink stations are excellent. The food is traditional and outstanding. The staff is friendly and professional. We had a very good time and time flew by.

Olea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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