Going out to brunch isn’t as simple as it may seem
Have breakfast While the majority of brunches are all-you-can-eat affairs, foregoing a light breakfast beforehand can prove to be a costly error. Arriving to a brunch on an empty stomach will only lead to eating too much too soon, leaving you susceptible to the effects of accompanying beverages.
Arrive in good time ‘Fashionably late’ is not a phrase recognised in the Official Bahrain Brunch Dictionary. The average brunch lasts for three-and-a-half hours. Make sure you get your money’s worth.
Strategise Pity the fool who starts his brunch at the carvery or curry station. An experienced bruncher will pace themselves, checking out the options before diving in. Our advice is to avoid the bread basket and start light (sushi is always a safe bet), building up to a crescendo of pasta, piles of meat or pizza – not necessarily all on the same plate.
Find a wing man They say brunches are sociable occasions. That’s true in theory, but it’s only at the beginning of a buffet brunch that everyone actually sits together. From then on your dining ‘companions’ are either perusing the buffet stations or flirting with the group on the next table. Find someone who eats at the same pace as you, has the same tastes and similar priorities (food).
Plan an escape Moving on to another bar seems like a great idea at the time, but it really isn’t. You’ll realise this when you find yourself sat at your desk two days later, wondering at what point over the weekend you misplaced your dignity. Avoid all of the above by ‘visiting the lavatories’ once you’ve paid the bill and never coming back.
Go out the night before Often, the prospect of a brunch can be too much and staying in on a Thursday night isn’t an option. Only when you log onto Facebook and see photos of yourself using a pile of pasta as a pillow will you realise that staying in was definitely an option. A very good option at that.
Forget to eat As stupid as it sounds, forgetting to eat is one of the biggest brunch faux pas there is. You’re excited to see everyone. You have a couple of drinks. You chat to the person next to you, opposite you, friends at another table. You have another couple of drinks and chat some more. Before you know it, it’s 3pm and all you’ve had to eat is a maki roll you stole from your friend’s plate.
Panic Choice anxiety is a common ailment at a brunch – the selection is so vast, it’s difficult to know where to start. Rather than rush in and regret the beans and brie combo you pile on your plate (see below), pause for thought, take a look at the options and select sensibly.
Mix and match There’s something about a brunch that brings out our inner child – for some, the naughty thrill of piling up baked beans next to sushi is too difficult resist. But resist you must, for some foods should never share the same plate (chicken and umm ali, for example).
Go too fast, too soon We can’t emphasise this enough. You have three-and-a-half hours of eating and drinking. There. Is. No. Rush.
The highs and lows
The Time Out team tell their favourite stories from the midday institution ‘Avoid the candles at brunch. A friend got a little too excited at seeing friends she hadn’t seen for ages and threw her very expensive jacket over a table onto a sofa. Unfortunately, said jacket hit the top of a decorative candle and caught fire. She didn’t notice for a while and is now minus one very expensive jacket.’
‘On my last visit to brunch for a friend’s birthday, said friend fell asleep on one of the sofas at around 2pm. The party continued without her for several hours before we realised she was missing. After launching a manhunt enlisting most of the staff and fellow brunchers, she was found napping under about 30 handbags.’
‘One of my friends once told me to try a delicious “lemon mousse”, served in a small round dish, that he’d fetched from the buffet for me. As I placed a sizeable spoonful in my mouth, I realised it was, in fact, butter. Yuck.’