You may have noticed from my previous posts that I am rather the fan of a brunch. If you don’t live in Dubai let me explain the concept to you…. every Friday you get dressed up, have a pre-gamer around 11am, then head to pretty much any restaurant in Dubai where you have 3-4 hours of all-inclusive food and drinks. Sound good?? That’d be because brunch is awesome! It’s a huge thing here in Dubai and with the number of restaurants around there is some stiff competition. There’s a brunch for everybody, child friendly brunches complete with clowns (not the IT kind!) and bouncy castles, chilled beach brunches, fine dining a la carte brunches and then your crazy party brunches.
Ting Irie, the best Jamaican restaurant in town, recently launched their brand new House Party Brunch and we had the pleasure of attending. I’d say this brunch definitely falls somewhere between the foodie and party category pretty well. Not only do they serve up some of their best dishes from the menu but they have gone all out to really bring the party atmosphere. Think vats of rum punch, a rum-punch-pong table (basically a beer pong table using rum punch, dangerous I know!) and an awesome DJ. For their first brunch they absolutely nailed it and I cannot wait to visit again with a big group.
Let’s start with the vibe… located in Souk Al Manzil the restaurant is completely indoors with literally no windows, so you have no idea what time of day or night it is. This certainly helps bring the party feels when you are starting at 12pm! It’s a really cool venue and immediately transports you to some funky rum shack in the Caribbean but with some lovely modern touches.
What I loved about this brunch is they really know what they do well and have made sure their best dishes are on the menu. There is nothing worse than rocking up to a brunch only to find some of the restaurants signature dishes are missing. Ting Irie are totally on this and have been keen ensure to include their oxtail nachos, the INCREDIBLE, literally life-changing oxtail cocobuns and their goat curry.
To get the gastric juices flowing the eating begins with some plantain and tortilla chips and scotch bonnet salsa which are a fab little taster. But just wait for the real starters to hit your table! I’d tried the patty crust nachos when I visited a couple of weeks ago and trust me when I tell you they are amazing. They are finished with your usual toppings but then the wonderfully genius addition of their slow cooked oxtail. Trust me when I tell you you’ll be in heaven! Next up the “World Famous Jamaican Patties” which are basically little pockets of happiness. I hadn’t tried these previously but would now put them down as one of the “must-try” dishes at Ting Irie. The last dish to be served was my favourite, the Oxtail cocobread sandwiches. These aren’t huge but holy hell they really pack a punch! They are loaded with the slow cooked, juicy, pull-apart oxtail and literally dripping with naughty, delicious sauce. Basically as I said above, life changing. Actually life changing.
A lovely taster platter swiftly followed our starters. This included the “Chips O’Mon Burger”, jerk shrimp skewers and flaming Appleton wings. The platter isn’t huge but just enough to give you a taste of all the different flavours and dishes. The burger was the winner for me here; it was juicy with just enough filthiness to really satisfy those cravings. The wings could definitely have been a bit more “flaming” for me but then I do love my food nice and spicy.
We were starting to feel a little full at this point but as it was Ting Irie’s first brunch I think the team were keen to keep the food flowing and so I’m not even joking when I say that our mains arrived almost the moment our table was cleared. To be honest I wasn’t complaining, I think I could eat most men under the table but my poor husband was already starting to feel the strain!
The mains focused on the more traditional Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken, goat curry, ackee and saltfish and rice ‘n’ peas. I’ve never had saltfish before and whilst it was ok, it wasn’t quite to my taste but I am a huge fan of Ting Irie’s goat curry. It’s literally packed full of flavour, the goat falls apart and it has a lovely kick without being too much. The jerk chicken was absolutely incredible too. It was possibly the juiciest chicken I’ve had since moving to Dubai, (Dubai really seems to struggle with chicken) and I’m told it’s all down to the state of the art cookers that the kitchen has installed.
To round off an awesome brunch it was time to satiate that sweet tooth of mine with dessert. The rum cake was divine and they certainly didn’t scrimp on the rum! The cookie butter french toast had the perfect caramelised outside although I definitely wouldn’t have complained it was served with some kind of sauce or syrup. Otherwise it was the perfect end to the meal.
After eating our body weight we moved into the bar to carry on with a few drinks. This is a 5 hour brunch (yes 5 hours!) and we’d pretty much finished eating by around 3pm so thought we’d spend the next couple of hours having some leisurely drinks. The brunch covers the rum punch dotted round the bar, beers, wine, spirits and a couple of signature cocktails so you’ve got a great selection to choose from. The bartender even made us a couple of speciality espresso martinis which were to die for. We actually ended up spending the rest of the time chatting with the head chef, Nick, who was filling us in on stories from Jamaica, his experiences working in other countries and the start-up of Ting Irie. It’s incredible that the vast majority of the team were brought over from Jamaica to bring the real experience and I’m not joking when I tell you these guys really do want to have fun. It’s not just a place of work for them. The lovely manager, Bonita, looked after us all day and couldn’t do enough for us, you can tell she puts her heart and soul into the place. Ting Irie really feels like home and I cannot wait to go back!
For more info visit: http://tingirie.com/ or call: 04 557 5601