Brunch review: Mama Zonia
Passports at the ready – prepare to head to the Amazonian jungle. Well, by passports we mean stamp books, and by jungle we mean Pier 7’s new eatery, Mama Zonia. It’s just gone 1pm on Friday, and the Don’t Feed The Animals brunch has begun. Seeing the chimp (read: man in furry costume) locked in a giant cage by the entrance, we’re warned to oblige as tiny vaccination, ahem, shots are handed around and collect our stamps – or we might well be quarantined, too.
We’ve got to hand it to the jungle-themed fusion restaurant – it’s really gone all out. Dancer’s draped in featured wings prance between the tables, giant cages host realistic enough exotic birds, ferns appear from vases spotted about, and colourful tiles depicting scenes from within the jungle cover the walls. The delivery of ’90s dance and RnB tunes remixed by the DJ might not quite fit with the theme, but it’s welcome and keeps brunchers singing and tapping their toes.
After immersing ourselves in the setup, we finally tuck in. Colourful nachos, creamy guac, edamame, calamari and chicken skewers land on our table. The poultry option is marinated with capsicum, onion and honey, offering a moreish sweet and spicy kick. Onto the cold buffet. We scoop up sushi bites and then head to the salad station. We try both the sea bass fillet (a salty, well-cooked fillet served on green leaves on top of a pulpy mango salsa) and the rice noodles (cooked with confit mushroom, asparagus and soy sauce) for mains. The first is executed perfectly, the second is good but a lack of flavour means it misses the mark. Nevertheless, we add a dollop of the gado gado peanut sauce from the salad bar and we’re satisfied.
Hunger quelled, we can’t tear ourselves away post 4pm, and continue onto the terrace – and we can’t promise you won’t be tempted to follow suit.
Don’t Feed the Animals brunch at Mama Zonia
Where: Pier 7, Dubai Marina
When: Friday, 1-4pm
Price: AED385 house beverages, AED445 sparkling
Contact: +9714 240 4747