White Friday Brunch Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort

Highlights: huge seafood selection, grills, sushi, banana pudding, stroopwaffel, children's area, great for fussy grandparents, kids activities, teen activities.

This is probably the most gloriously laid-back of all the 5-star brunches in town. Every seat in the restaurant, both inside and outside gives you a sea view, and the moment you walk in, you get a sense of instant relax. Is it the coastal decor? Is it the warm welcome? The endless blue sky? Or the fact that Dancing Queen was playing as we walked in, making me smile. Whatever it is, it works.

The live grill stations outside were excellent, with some really interesting options, showcasing food from Mare Mare, Tean and Offside. Ask for a freshly prepared lamb-rack, brisket and steak, or chow-down on nachos and the best shawarma I've had in forever. We enjoyed the freshly prepared fregola too. Oh and back inside, the Nasi Goreng was sublime!

For the foodies. With a new executive chef on board, the food offering has been changed up, whilst not losing the White faves we know and love. There's still the absolutely top-drawer roast beef, the incredible seafood selection, some outstanding sushi and great Asian favourites. In terms of newbies, one of the things that struck me was the beautiful salad/vegetable tower, with a great range of healthy options ... the asparagus was seasoned and superb. The artichoke scrolls in the Arabic section were absolutely divine and something new for me. Cue: vegetarian applause!

For children. For many, the best part of this will be the fact that off in the corner, there's a children's area with face painting, a soft archery set, a table tennis table and colouring, probably best for under 10s. Over 10s headed down to the sea for a paddle and were given the chance to fly the gloriously colourful kites, adding to the true resort-like feel of the whole experience. It's worth noting there's plenty of child-friendly food - a pasta station, nachos, grills, dumplings, sushi and oodles of great desserts.

For the sweet-obsessed. The dessert selection was strong: we started with the banana pudding (and I'll admit to a go-back for this one!), the mango rice pudding, the bread and butter pudding which had us all reminiscing about our pudding pasts, the smooth, velvety mouth-watering chocolate custard and of course the fabulous selection of cakes and tarts. The made-to-order stroopwaffel was a highlight with both children and adults alike ... such a fun and different idea. It was the gelato that was finally responsible for tipping me over the edge into the food coma but it was sooo worth it - sitting there, by the beach, eating ice-cream ... yes, happiness reigned.


Soft: AED350

House: AED475

Premium bubbly: AED600

Children 6-11 50% off soft

20% off the above prices when you sign up for Best Bites Plus on www.bestbitesuae.com

Call 02 811 4342 to book

Rachael Partington