Ever since Jason Atherton’s Marina Social opened in Dubai a couple of years ago it has become a firm favourite of mine. I’ve always been a huge fan of Jason’s restaurants, as whilst living in London I was a regular visitor at the likes of City Social, Berners Tavern, Social Eating House and more recently the new Temple & Sons. I can highly recommend them all.
Shortly after its inception last year, I tried the Share and Social Brunch at Marina Social and have been dying to go back ever since. Last Friday, an opportunity materialised and we managed to get the girls together for one last jolly before everyone disappeared on their summer breaks and guess where we went….
The concept is simple, you can either order a la carte or just say “Feed Me” and the chef will do the rest. If opting for the latter, the house sends out some of the best dishes to share/fight over (depending on your philanthropic stance). Being a close-knit group and keen to sample the variety, we went for it!
As we were a group of 8 we had every dish to start, yes we were feeling rather peckish. They were all incredible and it’s hard to pick a clear favourite, but for me the Confit duck and foie gras terrine with crystallised almonds and yellow peach chutney marginally pipped it. This is the first time I’d tried this dish and although rich, it is not overpowering as duck can sometimes be. The hand chopped beef tartare, truffle dressing and egg yolk jam was also pretty popular amongst the group. What I love about this dish is that the waiter mixes it at your table to taste and it’s accompanied by buttery brioche bread that is to die for.
As I said, I had previously been to this brunch so was very upset to realise upon my return that the famous goats cheese churros and truffle honey was absent from the menu. Arguably slightly cheeky, but worth the reward, I asked the waiter if there was any way Chef Craig could arrange some churros for us and 10 minutes later one of my favourite starters of all time rocked up at the table. If you haven’t tried these get them on your list now!
I should add that amongst all the eating there were plenty of liquid refreshments. The 495 AED price tag is in line with restaurants of a similar calibre across the city and included in this you get a selection of cocktails from the bar as well as the cocktail trolley where mixologist Sam will be delighted to make one of his stunning Daiquiri’s. If you’re not a fan of cocktails you can upgrade to the bubbles package for 595 AED, my one bugbear however is that they serve prosecco instead of champagne. That’s what you call a champagne problem!
So onto mains and where to start?! Perhaps surprisingly one of my favourite dishes at Marina Social is their pizza. I know it’s not typically what springs to mind when you think “Jason Atherton” but trust me, they are insanely good! We had the pulled lamb pizza, topped with basil pesto, chargrilled courgettes and buffalo ricotta. The base is perfectly cooked and all the toppings complimented each other beautifully. (Side note to all the ladies out there, visit the bar, The Social Room, on a Wednesday for Ladies night and receive three cocktails and 50% off their pizzas. You are welcome!)
Similarly you absolutely cannot miss out on the BBQ veal short rib with honey glazed carrots and a traditional Yorkshire pudding. The meat is so succulent and tasty, it literally melts in your mouth. If you are a fan of prawns, the chargrilled tiger prawns with garlic butter are incredible and possibly some of the biggest prawns I’ve ever laid eyes on.
And finally if you aren’t fit to bust after all that, feast your eyes on these beautiful desserts! I am and always have been a chocoholic, so the warm chocolate fondant with milk ice cream went down a treat but the white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry and thyme jam was a close second. That said, let’s not forget the divine Pain Perdu with confit orange and vanilla ice cream.
Phew, just writing this and looking back at all the food is making me VERY hungry!!!
The Verdict: Definitely one of the best foodie brunches in Dubai! Don’t expect a raucous party, it’s a quiet, civilised affair and a very good option for a lovely date day or a catch-up with a group of like-minded foodie friends.