Jumeirah James Saturday Family Brunch – Latitude.

Living in Dubai can definitely feel like residing on a  different planet – (probably one in the shape of Michael Jackson’s white glove with suitably Swarovski ‘d finger ‘fronds’ where villas are made of spangled lurex and start at 40 Million AED… )

As we’ve all watched the hotels and attractions grow bigger and gaudier, and gain more self appointed stars … There is a shining beacon of certainty amongst the overpriced  and under – delivering establishments currently popping up on every corner.

That certainty for me has always been The Jumeirah Group. I’ve never had anything but impeccable service with a smile wherever I have drank, dined or danced. As other Dubai hotspots crop up across the city , sharing the same attempt at minimal luxury, with a maximum price tag, Many have failed to recognise that if one wishes to charge 5 star prices, the service had better match.

Can you guess where we are?

Can you guess where we are?

And as the hotels grow more gimmicky, and more polished marble and , well ‘beige’, The Jumeirah Beach Hotel sits in the shadow of it’s seven star sister with the confidence of one who has seen it all. It’s not a  particularly fashionable haunt, but from one who has stayed in the grey concrete confines of a ‘W’ hotel (complete with see through toilet cubicle) , trendy and ‘now’ are not words I’d want to associate with family dining.

Family dining is an oxymoron in our household. Any ventures into the outside world are taken with trepidation and very rarely include little more than a well timed trip to a food court after a deliberately exhaustive session on the soft play. Basically , any attempts at a family day out (unless they include a water park, it seems) are literally either a delight or a disaster, and no one knows which until we get there.

So, JBH. We’d heard great things about the family brunch, we’d heard the service offering was a cut above any other places promise of keeping the kids entertained and happy, (whilst mum and dad for once managed at least a few hot forkfuls before refereeing fights or supervising countless trips to the loo)

But you see, my kids, however much I love ’em, aren’t like many other kids. If they are bored, they are bored. the slightest anything can trigger a tantrum and we have left places before we’ve even ordered in the past.

Sausage!

Sausage!

But I’ve had enough, I want us to be able to go out together, socialise and spend quality time together after the lengthy summer and Ramadan, and I was convinced the Saturday Family Brunch at Latitude was the answer.

This ground floor, bright and airy casual dining restaurant is the hotel’s main buffet area and perfect for family dining. Floor to ceiling windows lead to an outside terrace overlooking greenery and tables are set away from the food serving area.

The welcome , as always was a great one, and our server showed us around the whole array of food before escorting us to our table.

Sushi!

Sushi!

And the food. Typically, every cuisine is catered for, with seemingly nothing left out. an extensive range of Sushi and oriental dim sum sits alongside every type of salad one could wish for. Then there is a pasta  and noodle station, a stir fry station and a carvery where smiling chefs are waiting to make up your

A three piece vocal group accompany your dining with a nice mix of songs. Not remotely intrusive, nor tinkly, they were a cut above your typical house band and provided a more than pleasant background noise.

At the very end of the long dining area is the children’s section. This

It was THIS big!

It was THIS big!

incorporates a small area  with a number of staff on hand to supervise, the opportunity for face painting, balloon modelling, and a toddler height buffet full of the usual suspects.

Surprisingly, My lot were happy to partake from the main selection, (even though the boys ended up with sausage, beans and Yorkshire pudding (!) and H chose to make her own pizza .

Here's one I made earlier...

Here's one I made earlier...

Whilst quietly tucking in, we were visited by ‘Chef’ who came to say hello and warn us of the magic show that was taking place in an hour. In between finishing lunch, moseying down to the kids area, balloon sword fighting, face painting and ‘dancing’ to the startled band, this hour flew.

Can I just take this time to point out that we had been out in public a whole hour and a half without threats of Divorce and or having to leave, 2 hysterical small people in tow.

Nope, the angels were looking down on us on Saturday, in no small part to the planning of the afternoon and, actually the layout of the restaurant.

You see, apart from the dessert station, which is central, The kids are not near the food, so are not tempted to wonder, randomly prodding and picking. the band are in the centre of the long dining room and the ‘play area’ is at the bottom. Your kids will eat and not be distracted by the activities.

CHEESE!

CHEESE!

The friendly chef, who turned out to be the afternoons comedy juggling magician starts his show well into the afternoon giving all the chance to have eaten plenty before he starts.

You see it’s thoughtful touches such as these that make a big difference to our family outings, and I’m sure there are others in the same boat

The food is fab, but I’m sure you don’t need telling that.

The kids sat transfixed by the magician, who i have to say , really is pretty good, and dad, well lets just say, Dad enjoyed the cocktail menu as much as he enjoyed his dinner.

Wahey!

Wahey!

As we left after an absolutely delightful, stress free , almost 3 hours, we were all sated. there really had been something for everyone. I miss the whole British ‘Sunday Lunch’ culture and I really think I could go to Latitude every Saturday. Unfortunately, my finances don’t stretch that far.

As reliable the service and standards of The Jumeirah Group are, they also remain re-assuringly expensive. For a day like ours though – worth every penny.

No I can’t do it every week, but I wish I could, and I think the kids do too..

3 happy kids, one very happy ( amazingly relaxed and happily relieved) Mum.

THE GEN;

Saturday Family Brunch at Latitude, Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Timings: 12.30pm to 4.00pm

Price: AED 185 per adult (excludes alcoholic beverages)

AED 340 per adult (includes alcoholic beverages)

AED 85 per child (5-12 years old), under 4’s free of charge

For more information, please contact Jumeirah Beach Hotel Restaurant Reservations

Tel: +9714 406 8999

Email: JBHboxoffice@jumeirah.com

All Brunched out...

All Brunched out...

The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of The Crowd

Bonnie Langford - yesterday.

Bonnie Langford - yesterday.

We all know that our children are the most talented scrumptious-est chubbiest cheeked mummy’s little darlings, so now is the chance to play mama rose (look it up – musical theatre fans) and drag, sorry skip them down to the Madinat and show the world (well, Dubai), just how talented and beautiful your offspring really are…

That’s right, without a Simon Cowell in sight, your very own Bonnie Langford’s (or Billy Elliott’s) have the opportunity to audition for roles in this year’s Pantomimne extravaganza Sleeping Beauty,  live on stage at The First Group Theatre at Souk Madinat Jumeirah from 20th December 2009 to 2nd January 2010

JAZZ HANDS!

JAZZ HANDS!

The Gen;

Auditions

Where: The First Group Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah

When: 10 am, Friday 9th October

Who: girls and boys aged 7 to 12 and less than 5 feet tall

Roles: panto babes/villagers/general ensemble

At the audition children will be required to learn and dance a simple routine set by choreographer, Louisa Allen, and may also be asked to performa short acting piece.

This is an “OPEN” audition, children do not have to be from a dance school

or theatre group.

Call-backs and a final selection will be made on the same day.

The children who are selected must be available for all rehearsals and

performances – full details of these dates will be given out at the

auditions. Parents will be asked to sign a form committing their child to times and

dates. There will be two teams of 8 girls and/or boys with the groups doing

alternate performances.

So there you have it, your very own chance to be a pushy stage mum, just like our very own Mother Inferior….

From Panto to Pearly Queens…

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (oh no it isn’t, OH YES IT IS) – sorry , really couldn’t resist.

So it’s time to get your pearly king to get his wallet out and treat you to a limited edition bracelet from www.purely-pearls.com For the 3rd year running, they have produced and are selling this  lovely trinket (as modelled by MOI) for a bargainous 200dh, with 35% of that going to charity. (That’s AED 75 for other maths thickies like me.)

So what are you waiting for – get yourselves down to Sunny Days, at Jumeria Centre (2nd floor next to margrudys.) whilst stocks last.

They are also available at the www.expatwoman.com Burj al Arab breakfast on 29th September (for all you posh & rich peeps) or drop  me a message if you want to know more.

Laaarvely.

Laaarvely.

The Poshest Playdate in (Old) town??

No, silly, not coffee round at mine…;) , but a brand new mothers meet up at none other than the classiest address in town.

Old town that is. The Address Hotel, (Souk al Bahar area, Old Town, Burj Dubai) is now host to a Thursday morning play group – who’d of thunk?

The brainchild of a savvy resident, the playcentre is situated on the 13th floor. Meeting every Thursday at 11am, it attracts mothers of ALL nationalities and kids of ALL ages. I’ll be there next week (October 1st) to check it out. It cost 40 dhs, but sounds well worth it with some great facilities, and a change from the Mall (again.) For further info, feel free to email group member shell@ldg.net

Bubs Bargains!

Always keen to advocate a great service by fellow parents..

Funky new Dubai based online kiddie clothes store www.bubsboutique.com have a sassy sale on, but it’s the last few days.

If you want to kit out that precious little bundle in the coolest clobber take a look….

Would love to hear your honest observations of family brunches around town. Please email me at copykellie@gmail.com or via twitter www.twitter.com/mummyknows

Who needs a draughty church hall - mothers meetings - Dubai style

Who needs a draughty church hall - mothers meetings - Dubai style

You can also leave comments here! Speak soon…

Well Helllloooo DXB!

I’ve done it, I’ve finally found the time to start the blog and share my own insight into parenting with you, the very lucky people of the UAE!

What I really want to do is to make this an accessible , fun and easy to follow resource for anything out there child related. Be it restaurant, movie or show reviews, customer service success (no, really, there must be some!) or disasters, bargains to be had or tips and advice…

I’m an avid twitterer too, so if you want, you can follow us at www.twitter.com/mummyknows

The Eid ‘weekend’ is nearly over – what did you get up to?

We’ve had a fab time, doing nothing in particular, but managed to take my 8 year old to Arte www.arte.ae at Times Square mall last Friday.

There really is something for everyone at this craft fair , now to be held fortnightly. From the sublime, yes to the ridiculous, but for those of you with daughters out there, mine really enjoyed making a couple of her own bracelets and painted a canvas, before stuffing her face in the car with the cupcakes she picked up on the way out.

I really need to tell you all about Becky Britton and her ‘lilybakes’ business. I know she has a website in the pipeline and is on twitter at www.twitter.com/lilybakes. Her chocolate fudge is amazing, and the chutney I brought home didn’t last two minutes between me and my husband.

If you’ve got two minutes and are looking for something to read, you might wanna check out my naughty big sisters blog www.motherinferiordubai.wordpress.com. She certainly tells it like it is, and maybe not for the fainthearted Jumeirah Jane, but hey.. who’s perfect?

Good to  know that the Barney show at Dubai Expo is getting good reviews – not heard a bad word so far. It’s running for the next two days (TUESDAY 22nd & WEDNESDAY 23rd SEPT) at 4pm and 7pm. Tix start at 50 dhs each and there really is no need to go for the expensive ones by all accounts as it seems to make no difference to the view. You need to take some extra dirhams with you though as there are ‘Magic Planet’ type rides to be had before and after the show, and you’ll need to buy a swipecard.

Take a look at  http://naimashaikh.com/ for a first look at the new Stargate attraction in Zabeel park..

It's every parents purple pain in the neck - Live in Dubai!

It's every parents purple pain in the neck - Live in Dubai!

Now that Ramadan is over, I’m sure we will all be ‘Back to Brunch’ never mind school.. would love to hear your honest reviews on family brunching around Dubai and the other Emirates – I’m working on my list already..

Have fun!