Social Brunch at Pearl Social

A new brunch with plenty of gastropub classics

Social Brunch at Pearl Social
Social Brunch at Pearl Social Image #2
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Last month, we spoke to celebrity chef Jason Atherton about his new venture Pearl Social at Marsa Malaz Kempinski. So, this month, we check out the Friday brunch here.

The restaurant is nestled in a separate area on the left of the hotel and features a beautiful terrace overlooking the waterfront with a view of the pastel shades of the Venice-themed Qanat Quartier. The interiors feel like we’re in an exclusive members only club with leather chairs, dim lighting and wood panel walls.

This à la carte brunch features a range of appetisers for sharing and a selection of main courses. As we wait for our starters to arrive, we tuck into delicious garlic focaccia bread with a sprinkling of rock salt. The buttery bread is crispy and soft in the middle and the garlic flavours lingers for a while.

The starters arrive with a rack of cute little toasts and a plethora of other dishes. We dip into the whipped burrata cheese with honey-glazed fig jam. It’s sweet, creamy and spreads perfectly on our mini toasts. Our salad is fresher than morning sunshine.

Crumbled feta with subtle pesto flavours and a delicate touch of mint and radish, this salad has a laid-back summer barbecue vibe and works a treat.

The goat’s cheese churros pack a punch and are an original savoury take on the classic Mexican sweet treat. Served with a truffle and honey sauce, its rich, hearty and extremely filling. The spiced duck rillettes is moreish and easily our favourite starter. The mango and pea shoots give it a wonderful tang and texture and the combination is delicious without being too heavy on the stomach.

The potted salmon and steak tartare, if nothing else, are nice gourmet sandwich fillers but lack any real flavour.

One thing is the starters are all cold, a few hot appetisers on the menu would be nice.

Onto the mains. There’s a choice of just one item per person from a list of seven.

As the menu is familiar to anyone who has been to a gastropub, we think it’s best to opt for a staple classic to see Pearl Social’s take on it. The burger and fries, although acceptable, are disappointing for a restaurant of this calibre. The bun feels like something off a supermarket shelf and the fries are not hand-cut.

The next main is much better. The Norwegian salmon is chunky and the cooking is spot on. The butternut squash and chickpeas in a Moroccan-style tagine add depth and richness to the dish and is also probably the healthiest thing we have eaten so far.

We’re okay with picking just one main (okay, not completely okay with it) but clearly, one of our choices was completely wrong.

We wrap up with a trio dessert platter. Our Eton mess is a perfectly formed sphere until the waiter performs a magic trick to crack it open. With wafer-thin meringue and sharp, icy berries in a lovely cream, it’s a fantastic rendition of the British dessert.

Craving more sugar, we dive into another dessert in the trio, the golden, syrupy, sponge cake that evokes memories of childhood and school dinners. This is definitely a popular option if you’re attending with children.

Our final sugar hit is the profiterole cheesecake with a light white chocolate filling. The concept is quite interesting but the execution isn’t. The dessert is too sweet, lacking any punch and plain in its presentation.

Unfortunately, one of the signatures, the sticky toffee pudding, isn’t on the menu. If only this could replace the profiteroles.

There are plenty of crinkles to iron out but Pearl Social’s brunch is laden with potential. The selection of beverages can be much better and the brunch can be slightly longer. Although flavours are top priority at any brunch, for this price, we expect a little more flair in the presentation, with the exception of the Eton mess. The brunch is also far too quiet and for those looking for a lively, buzzing atmosphere, this is not it. It’s a better option for those looking for a discreet, unobstrusive affair.
QR220 (soft drinks), QR320 (selected beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Marsa Malaz Kempinski (4035 5300).

WHAT IS IT...
A new brunch with plenty of gastropub classics

WHY GO...
For a quiet weekend meal out

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