Tucked away behind Mall of the Emirates is an unassuming hotel, it sits on one of the busiest corners in Al Barsha and, if you live in Dubai, you’ve probably driven past it a million times as you leave the mall. Inside this little hotel is The Huddle, a sports bar that is serving up a cheap and cheerful Friday brunch with a side order of the latest games broadcast live.
When we arrived for brunch on the Friday I was a little confused, I had been to The Huddle before, a few years ago but it had moved – just across the lobby to a bigger space.
Inside you would be hard pressed to not immediately realise it’s a sports bar – it has all the markings of one from the leather chairs to the big screen TVs never mind the pool table and the sports memorabilia adorning the walls. In the corner is a small stage and tucked behind the bar, a pool table (an accompanying beer pong cover for their Monday night tournaments).
We took a seat and glanced around in search of the food but found nothing, looking at each other confused we waited for our waitress to return. After taking our drinks order we were given the run down: food was in the other room, just through a set of doors behind the bar and there is a non-alcoholic package and then a choice of house or premium beverages for brunch. Fairly standard, so we made our way in search of a buffet.
As you step through the little doorway you enter a dining hall, full of tables and at the far end the buffet. There are families enjoying their brunch, kids running about and more importantly an international spread of nibbles to keep you going through the afternoon.
Navigating the buffet is not as straightforward as you would assume it should be, the island in the centre offers salad, bread, bruschetta, soup, fresh juice and breakfast pots. Flanked by the live cooking stations serving crepes, eggs and pasta and a selection of cheeses there is little order to the layout so don’t expect an orderly queue (not a problem for most but my inner true brit was struggling to make peace).
We grabbed our plates and made a start, trying a little bit of almost everything.
As we headed back to the table armed with the much awaited sustenance to get us through the day we noticed a pool table tucked behind the bar and – more exciting still – a beer pong table which i was told comes into play on Monday nights (if anyone is in the mood for some frat boy style midweek fun).
For the rest of the afternoon we worked our way slowly through the buffet, sipped on our drinks and enjoyed the tunes. By the late afternoon the live music had begun and The Huddle started to fill up a little bit more and create the lively atmosphere we craved.
All in all this is a brunch that requires a good group of rowdy friends, a desire to party and a disregard for food in favour of alcohol, it is a cheap and cheerful party brunch with a kick.