Bull & Bear’s Wolf Of Wall Street Brunch: Worth It?
Bull & Bear’s Wolf Of Wall Street Brunch: Worth It?
Bull & Bear, non-alcoholic brunch starts at AED290 (US$79, £61, €68) and alcoholic with bubbles is AED450 (US$123, £95, €105). Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, Al Mustaqbal Street, Za'abeel 2, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Bull and Bear DIFC Website
Gloriously beautiful decor and views from the Waldorf Astoria DIFC’s 18th floor
Wagyu beef tartare, mini bull & bear burgers and beef Rossini slow-braised short rib rise above their peers
Finds that line between sophisticated and casual
A (very) generous alcohol pour on the brunch with constant shots
Most dishes miss the mark including nearly all of the platters, main courses and desserts
Value for money is not clear in this challenging market
Bull & Bear’s Wolf Of Wall Street Brunch: Sell Me This Brunch
Wolf Of Wall Street is a crowning achievement for Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio. At its most superficial, the movie is about excess, indulgence and escapism. Bull & Bear takes the infamous Dubai-style brunch concept and finds a new muse.
The outcome? Throngs of well-dressed diners beat their chests in unison grunting as shots are passed around like handheld sacrifices. Indeed, the coupling of the Waldorf Astoria DIFC’s art deco-inspired space against views of Downtown Dubai’s skyline almost perfectly recreate Matthew McConaughey’s classic scene.
You come to Bull & Bear for a good time. Dessert is served with rolled-up, confectionary dollar bills – a brave reference perhaps – coupled with sugary cards and white chocolate poker chips. Jellied goldfish are served from a tray channelling the Jonah Hill’s scene where he eats a goldfish alive. Super money guns spew in the air faux-dollar vouchers cascading on marble and hardwood floors. Champagne flutes are charged with sparkling wine from 1 pm until about 4.30 pm for those splurging on the alcohol package. Note: capping alcohol a half an hour before brunch ends feels more margin protective than full-throated Jordan Belfort but, I suppose, business is business.
The die-hard Wolf Of Wall Street fan will enjoy this Friday afternoon organised reenactment thinly veiled under the guise of brunch.
Bull & Bear Wolf Of Wall Street Brunch: Yes, but what about the food?
With this in mind, I find myself turning my attention to the small matter of the food served at the Bull & Bear Wolf Of Wall Street brunch.
My overall impression of the Bull & Bear brunch menu is that they want to impress guests when they read the menu. Moreover, I sense the kitchen saw an opportunity to showcase or repurpose certain a la carte dishes. I am not clear whether the kitchen really considered the challenge of serving a la carte dishes as applied to mass catering. Tables two metres away finished their main courses 45 minutes before we even saw ours.
The brunch menu is partitioned into four sections of cold starters, hot starters, mains and, of course, dessert. Vegetarians beware: a predominantly animal protein-heavy brunch comes as no surprise at a restaurant called Bull & Bear. This small point feels out of touch with the times.
Bull & Bear: What's On The Menu?
Yet Bull & Bear goes on revealing some early issues in the details. Our friendly waitresses present us with oysters with champagne jelly, pickled shallots and caviar. The oysters are dramatically served chilled under a fog of dry ice. Each oyster is sweet but not fully shucked making for fiddly eating. The oysters are missing their signature oyster salinity, which for some like me, is the best part and the salty water would stop the oysters drying out, which they did. The refreshing alligator pear with pickled avocado, coriander, pomegranate seeds and gazpacho jelly is served on a limp coal-black kalamata rice cracker. This is tasty but the alligator pear does not make the same impact as the other courses.
Bull & Bear Hot Platters and Mains
The highlight was the mini Bull & Bear burger with smoked cheddar in a potato bun and the beef Rossini braised short ribs. The braised short rib is served with foie gras, mushroom ketchup and shatteringly-crisp shallot rings. Truffle also made a cameo, because, Dubai. The collapsing short rib was a delicious winner but it is not well rounded; I want brightness and acidity through a gremolata or chimichurri to cut through the deliciously fatty rib. Still, I am pleased to see this cooking available at brunch.
The fact that only two dishes stand out positively among seven dishes over two courses squarely focuses me towards the value for money question. Lacklustre dishes like the crab cakes with bisque emulsion, truffle mushroom arancini and the josper grilled striploin are unremarkable. The arancini is cloying and stodgy, the crab cake longs for spice, citrus and aromatics and the josper striploin lacks the rich meaty, fat-rendered sear that would make it stand out. Alas, the striploin does feature the chimichurri that should be on the braised short beef rib instead. All these dishes are also noticeably underseasoned.
The mains have more issues than Vogue. Both the prawn cocktail and palamos octopus are both overcooked. The prawn cocktail is a contemporary execution of a 1960s classic and I want to applaud the change of approach but the execution falls short. I also noticed the kitchen did not clean the digestive tract from the prawns. Keep in mind that this dish is also available on the a la carte menu (AED85).
Bull & Bear Wolf Of Wall Street Desserts
Dessert is seldom a memorable affair at brunch. Bull and Bear, for me, does not break this curse. However, that may be limited to just my opinion and some may disagree.
Only dogs can hear my silent screams at the sight of ah-nuh-ther Dubai restaurant pouring hot chocolate sauce from a height. Whoever is taking notes, please tell restaurants to stop. It adds nothing to the final dessert. A good fondant would not need to be excavated from a flood chocolate sauce encasing the fondant like some concrete nuclear entombment. The jackpot is a final homage to the Wolf Of Wall Street theme but it is style over substance with its chocolate coins and playing cards fancy sugar work.
Would I Return to Bull & Bear’s Wolf Of Wall Street brunch?
At its best, the Bull & Bear’s Wolf Of Wall Street brunch is a beautiful venue with enviable views serving an ambitious menu drenched in unapologetic fun. Come dressed to slay. The underlying opulent “more is more” spirit of the 80s is alive and well in Bull & Bear’s Wolf of Wall Street brunch.
Bull & Bear was on my shortlist as a must-visit restaurant. I quietly hoped the brunch would inspire a return with Mrs EatGoSee for a dinner date.
Bull & Bear’s brunch leaves me unconvinced whether to return for either dinner or another brunch.
I often ask fellow food enthusiasts how many great courses must you eat during a brunch or tasting menu before you consider the whole menu worth it? Bull & Bear’s serves a staggering 14 dishes mostly from the a la carte menu for brunch. This suggests the kitchen makes these dishes frequently and with practice. How many dishes must you love to make it worth it?
There are only a maximum of four dishes that I would want to eat again. If this was a new album, you are better off streaming the singles than buying the whole thing no matter how many jelly goldfish or free shots with a side of tribal chanting you get. We ordered a second round of the octopus dish just to see if we would be as unlucky as the first time. Sadly, the second serving was woefully consistent with the first (as were the prawns).
Brunch in Dubai is competitive business begging the question if there is any need for a new one. A plethora of restaurants offer table service brunches at multiple price points. Keep in mind many restaurants are cutting prices to attract discerning diners. Anyone charging AED450 for a brunch will be scrutinised accordingly.
Bull and Bear is one of the more sophisticated “party brunches” I know of in the city. But a party brunch it is. I will return to the Peacock Alley to drink in the cocktails, decor and views. I am unsure whether I would return to eat at Bull and Bear, but I am intrigued by The Artisan downstairs in the Waldorf Astoria DIFC. Soon my pretty.
Who Should Come to Bull & Bear’s Wolf Of Wall Street brunch?
Lovers of art deco-inspired decor with only a weekend in Dubai looking for one of the city’s best skyline views. People who want to retire to a beautiful post-brunch drink in Peacock Alley. Wolf Of Wall Street cult followers. Fans of STK looking for an alternative venue without the dancers. Brunchers looking for a bubbles inclusive brunch under AED500. Brunch enthusiasts that prioritise vibes and booze over food.