What Olea does with The Souq Brunch is serve up a sensible number of dishes and focus on the authentic flavours of the Levant – from southern Turkey to Jordan - to match the stylish surroundings.
Like its Emirates Palace cousin in Abu Dhabi, Kempinski Mall of the Emirates oozes elegance from the moment you are greeted through the main doors.
This sense of decorum continues a few floors up in Olea, the Levantine concession which has just added the only purely Levantine brunch in Dubai to its offering.
While some mistakenly view brunch as a Western-orientated affair awash with adult refreshments, Olea adds an ingredient that is big with food-related gatherings in the Levant – family.
They even get their own dessert station; a bright splash of colour in the corner of the long dining area.
As always, there are different packages available with Tattinger the bubbly of choice being chilled an olive’s throw from the salad and cold starters zone.
Here you will find all the usual favourites: Muhammara, the Syrian hot pepper dip, came with a warm kick tempered by a zingy, fresh Quinoa Tabouleh.
A rich hummus and a moist goats cheese Shankleesh also sat well on the plate with a vibrant Spinach Sambousek delivering flavoursome mouthfuls.
It’s a small but well stocked station, but its alcove setting means queues form if you time your visit badly. Like the hot food section, however, it can be a healthy introduction to some very traditional dishes found on many a regional dining table.
The first thing you notice is the chefs preparing, chopping and mixing onion, bulgar and raw meat for kibbeh nayeh, the Lebanese festive dish that tastes better than it perhaps sounds.
There is more action opposite where kitchen staff animatedly work on dishes and to order portions of manakish, moreish topped breads.
Their efforts provide a welcome distraction for younger brunchers - but for us hungry adults the silver servers beckoned.
Subtle but distinctive flavours rendered the Chicken Magloba – a Jordanian/Palestinian blend of eggplants and meat – and a gorgeous Palestinian Musakhan (originally a peasant dish of chicken and onion in a delicate sauce of lemony sumac, cinnamon, pine nuts and saffron) highlights.
You’ll also find chefs busy outside cooking up meat and fish if your palate desires something simpler.
The authentic vibe of The Souk Brunch is further enhanced over at the piano where, on our visit, a player and female singer added music and atmosphere with renditions of Levantine folk songs and ballads. Dessert, in a small side room, is a very sticky affair. Lots of naughty but nice pastries such as Kanafeh and Baklava and a chocolate fountain await, if you’ve got a corner of stomach available.
Where some brunches can encourage a sense of over indulgence, Olea’s Souk Brunch is a sophisticated balance of family gathering and quality food delivered in an environment that is stylish yet warm.
OLEA’s The Souk Brunch at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates happens each Friday from 1pm.
THE cost is AED 225 for the soft drinks package, AED 295 with house beverages, and AED 395 for the sparkling option.
OLEA also has seating for 44 out on the balcony for al fresco dining during the cooler months.
TO book or find out more, get in touch via 04 409 5111, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.kempinski.com/en/dubai/mall-of-the-emirates/dining/restaurants/olea/
YOU'LL find the Souq Brunch and one more two-for-one deal in the current Entertainer book and app. Visit: www.theentertainerme.com