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Ruya brunch review: A Turkish dream.

Summary: The restaurant's intimate feel on a Friday afternoon serves up a microcosm of UAE society, and great food

Keith J Fernandez, Group Editor - Commercial Publishing

For anyone who said the hipsters have decamped to the pages of history, a visit to Ruya will put paid to that notion. The restaurant's intimate feel on a Friday afternoon serves up a microcosm of UAE society - in a sort of dream sequence far removed from the real-life pains of school runs and shrinking workforces.

Willowy ladies and hirsute brutes confer by the DJ booth, while impeccably behaved children (we espied these mythical creatures as we walked past to the appetiser buffet), comport themselves like Parisian natives. Even better, apart from forays to amass starters and puddings, everything comes to the table, as we discovered when invited over recently.

Or maybe this is just modern Istanbul masquerading as Dubai. Diners often want speciality cuisine restaurants to recreate, even for a short hour, the place they represent, and Ruya does that admirably.

We began, of course, with bubbles (there are two kinds, at different price points, depending on how wasteful you feel). There were oysters - freshly shucked with a piquant Turkish vinaigrette - and buttery Turkish-cured salmon with fennel and Cacik, and tiny, slow-roasted explosive baby beetroots with goat's cheese and corn bread.

But Ruya understands breakfast is integral to brunch. Poached eggs served with peppers and tomatoes were nice and runny, and a menemen (Turkish scrambled egg), although not Gordon Ramsay's fluid concoction, came light and fluffy with a salt hit from tiny jewels of vegetables and feta. The egg-and-cheese pide was heavenly - or at least the egg and cheese was (I scraped it off - I wouldn't know how the bread itself tasted, since they didn't do me a gluten-free version. Sadly, there was no gluten-free bread at all. I was however advised which dishes featured the hated protein). My friend didn't care for the bread, though.

The kebabs were delicate - the Cag, lamb and chicken, came sliced into tiny morsels, each a gentle, tender bite to be savoured with a long tall drink, and the Adana kebab oozy, with a lovely lemony finish.

Disappointments? A coffee-flavoured rib-eye didn't exactly hit us with caffeine, although a side of za'atar potatoes was inspired. The chocolate kibbeh, though tiny, was rather too dense - which is a shame, since this is one of the restaurant's standbys. But a cheeky firin sutlac, or rice pudding, and a tart orange sorbet with a chocolate tuille and Turkish candyfloss (I ate mine without) more than made up for it.

With its clean flavours and animated atmosphere, this selection of Ruya's greatest hits adroitly reflects life in the Middle East today, which is why it's a great place to take people to.

The details

Cuisine: Contemporary Turkish

Credit card: Yes

Price: Dh295 for food with soft drinks, Dh495 with house beverages, signature cocktails and sparkling grape, and Dh595 inclusive of French bubbles.

Average Dh300 per head

Where: Ruya, Grosvenor House Dubai

When: Fridays, 12pm to 4pm.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Oct 2, 2017
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