Once you find your way past the construction, you pull up onto a private drive to the entrance of what looks like a massive stately home. The staff are aplenty and are awaiting your arrival. They whisk open the doors and usher you inside this sumptuous haven. You walk into a large foyer with sweeping marble staircases, chandeliers, fresh flowers, and Doric columns. Even the scent you inhale is sweet.
The St. Regis opened late last year and houses eight F&B outlets, one of which is Brasserie Quartier, which recently launched their Friday Brunch at the Manor. Three hours of opulence and gluttony. Cheers to that!
The interior of Brasserie Quartier has an exclusive clubby feel, with tiled floors and dark wood and shades of hunter green and cream.
The St. Regis is classy and civilised so don’t expect to see punters clambering around unsightly chafing dishes or Jägerbomb stations. Instead, drinks, salads, starters, mains and even a palate cleanser (Mais oui!) are brought directly to your table.
The food is also very dignified. The selection of starters included snail beignets, pissaladière, black olive tapenade, cheese gougères and croquettes, plus an artsy splodge of hummous that comes to the table with that postmodern half-eaten effect.
The salads are equally dainty and pretty.
In addition to the food brought directly to your table, there’s a smattering of gourmet offerings dotted about near the open kitchen. Across from the display of freshly baked breads and croissants, there’s a table full of seafood for the seafood lovers. Here’s the seafood platter they prepared for us. Prawns, lobster, oysters, mussels, crab claws, razor clams…
My favourite station was the one with three stunning bricks of fois gras terrine, one of which was filled with morels. The fois gras was so rich, creamy and delicious spread on a crusty piece of bread. Or eaten by the spoonful. If only I weren’t trying to be so adult, I’d have tried to smuggle one home.
Or was my favourite station the cheese and port station? The one with the giant wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano and the whole gamut of creamy, crumbly, mouldy, chalky, mild and stinky cheeses – plus ten different varieties of port. You can help yourself or ask someone to help you. Either which way, the St. Regis certainly knows how to spoil you with good food.
When you’re ready for your mains, a trolley magically appears at your table along with a man who is ready to serve you freshly cooked meats.
The meat trolley was replete with a massive bone-in rib eye, roast chicken, pan-seared salmon and duck breast, as well as veggies, gravy, and the most delicious mash.
Here’s the rib eye up close, though this photo doesn’t do justice to the massive brontosaurus bone sticking out of the side.
To cut the grease and get you in the mood for dessert, the next trolley contains the palate cleanser serving Colonels – lemon sorbet with vodka (or Prosecco if you prefer).
If not the fois gras station and if not the cheese and port station, then perhaps the best part of this brunch is the pâtisserie. It’s like you’ve walked into your technicolour dessert dream. From towers of brightly-coloured macarons to an old-school cotton candy machine, to a selection of pick ‘n’ mix, gelato, gorgeous cakes, tarts, éclairs, and pastries. You’re spoiled for choice – you can have any or all.
This phenomenal contraption is how the St. Regis does the chocolate fountain. Milk, dark and white chocolate flowing in full glory.
It would be rude not to.
And it should come as no surprise that the St. Regis has its own master chocolatier who recently developed a bespoke chocolate profile for each of the UAE’s three St. Regis properties. In addition to the cakes and pastries, you can gorge on as many of his handmade truffles and chocolates as you can manage.
For a change of scenery, you can continue your gluttony in the cafe.
Brasserie Quartier is the St. Regis’s take on the French neighbourhood restaurant. But it wouldn’t be a true French experience without the French chefs themselves. Meet the talented men behind the gastronomy, Executive Pastry Chef Ludovic Audaux and Chef de Cuisine Sofiane Kaced. Thank you, Chefs!
Verdict: This is the brunch for Francophiles with lofty ambitions. Grab a copy of Le Monde, some fois gras and a glass of Champagne and channel your inner Catherine Deneuve.
Note to self: If French women don’t get fat, and I’m a woman eating French food, that means I won’t get fat either. Surely.
Chow for now!