Frequent British pub goers in Dubai will already know Nelson’s in the Media Rotana.
I’d only been to Nelson’s once before many moons ago, so when I revisited Nelson’s recently for Friday Brunch on St. George’s Day, I arrived with many preconceptions. I fully expected a raucous and smoky affair akin to a night at Nell Gwynne at Byblos in Dubai Marina, with a complement of mediocre food.
Nelson’s is outfitted like a traditional English pub, decked out in dark wood and dark colours. The focal point is the bar, situated in the centre of the room, with regulars dotted around, sat with their afternoon pints. There’s a smoking section to one side, another seating area with comfy sofas, a dining area off to the side with booths, and a small outdoor terrace.
It was quiet for a Friday brunch, which I was actually quite happy with. Though the lack of people may be construed as a lack of atmosphere, I like that it was chilled out and relaxed. Not smoky, nor loud, nor pretentious, though it did get busier as it got later in the day.
At AED 195 for the alcohol package, it’s a value brunch compared to the AED 500-600 price tag of the more upmarket venues, so I (snobbily) wasn’t expecting much in terms of food quality. Perhaps that was why I was so pleasantly surprised.
This is not a froufrou brunch – there’s only one live cooking station, one roast on offer, no fancy cocktail stations – but there’s a good variety of food on offer, all of decent quality. Check out that beauty!
Can’t have an English pub lunch without chicken tikka masala.
Plate 1 – The sampler of mains – chicken tikka masala, fishcake, minced meat pie, carbonara penne, one roast parsnip, and a splodge of lamb stew.
Plate 2 – Roast dinner! Lamb, mint jelly, Yorkshire pudding, roast parsnips and a piece of grilled aubergine.
Plate 3 – Salads – a prawn salad, mini quiche, plus some other mayonnaise-y concoctions.
Plate 4 – The pork section – sausage, bacon, pork schnitzel, pork pie, plus a dollop of Branston pickle relish, just because. Not the most attractive plating…
Plate 5 – Dessert – treacle tart, Eton mess, hummingbird cake, sticky toffee pudding and a berry cobbler.
Plate 6 – The gluttonous plate – the one I didn’t need (and didn’t photograph).
On draught they had a English brown ale called Hobgoblin, from Wychwood Brewery in Oxfordshire, plus several other more common brews.
For the satisfaction to both my stomach and my wallet, I’d actually rate this as one of my favorite brunches. I also love that the Media Rotana offers free wi-fi and is engaged on social media. Lessons learned – don’t stereotype and don’t judge a brunch by its price tag.
Tel: +971 4 435 0000