The Insider visits : Saturday Brunch at Vaga￼
Bluewater’s is still an uncharted destination with activities and culinary concepts continuously popping up. Some are experimental while some are here to stay and sway your impression. One such is VAGA!
Inspired by a vagabond, a wanderer who is constantly exploring through time and places, Vaga is named with the same intention. The various levels of this dining venue starts on its first floor with the ambiance of the past and a show kitchen. The walls are with Armenian Tuf, a style of brick decorating that many residential and government buildings use in Armenia along with churches and other cultural sites. Heading to the next floor through a red staircase, the brick wall continues only to be sporadically decorated with a reflective surface and the entire ceiling. Reflecting the present, this space has a globe DJ stand that revolves! The bar adorns the iconic Armenian brandy from various years, Ararat, named after the mighty Ararat Mountain that is the signature to Armenia.
If not yet made obvious, Vaga serves Armenian highlights in contemporary Arabic cuisine. The Saturday Vagabond Brunch is no exception. Armenian hints are across the menu from the beverages until the dessert. Pomegranate is the symbol of Armenia and its presence is prominent along the culinary journey. The Tsirani drink contains homemade plum liqueur along with rum and apricot nectar, a sweet and sour refresher. Astlik is a fun mix of pomegranate and basil soda with tequila. The Seed of Blessing sets itself apart on the beverage menu as passionfruit and toasted black seed sorbet floats in elderflower cordial while sparkling wine is poured over at the table as preferred. What a visual treat and an absolute favorite on the table.
The resident DJ, Bianca Blanco, makes quite an entrance through a rotating globe that is embedded into the wall of the restaurant. The entrance is well-matched with the tunes that follow. Starting the afternoon with oriental-themed music she has the perfect beat drops that keep you in a trance. This state becomes unclear as the food floats you into a reverie on its own.
Vagabond Brunch boasts a vibrant 4-course menu with one dish from each course to be ordered. This is a tough choice with the selection presented, but a great excuse to return another time to try more. Cold starters include Spiced Beef Tartar, Imam Bayildi, Spiced Avocado, Tuna Ceviche, Tomato Salad with Shanklish and Tropical Spiced Mango Quinoa Salad. This course comes along with the popular Armenian bulgur salad, Eech. From the hot starters, the fusion is fabulous with Aleppo Kebab in Cherry Sauce, Robata Baked Chmurr, Grilled chicken Skewers and Honey-glazed Angus Beef Skewers. With no choice as the wrong one, ask the team and be impressed with their suggestions. The Imam Bayildi is a must with an intense smoked eggplant decked in Armenian yogurt and sprinkled with garlic flakes, chili and nuts. Another outstanding dish is the Aleppo Kebab which are tiny lamb meatballs floating in one of the best cherry sauces. What an interesting combination done right!
The main course covers a range of palate preferences mixed with signature dishes. Manti is the king of the menu as homemade beef dumplings are baked and served with a yogurt-tomato sauce and a garnish of pine nuts. The blast of flavor and texture from this dish is in itself a call back to the restaurant next weekend. Fish of the day (Sea Bream), Grilled Chicken in chili garlic sauce, Lamb Ouzi to celebrate the arabic features of the menu along with a Tagine with vegetables all comprise the main course selections. A colorful and sumptuous knock-out of the park no matter the choice.
There is a single desert on the brunch menu, and let that not diminish the excitement. The Pava, a bountiful and beautiful pavlova dressed in cherry sauce, tropical fruit jelly and hidden forest fruits as you dive into it. The flamboyant dessert is the perfect ending for this vibrant brunch, though the sugar rush might be with the DJ music taking over the place
The potential of Bluewaters is concepts like VAGA which are here to stay and keep impressing you with culinary innovations that stem from the love for food and to explore more immersive experiences. Keep an eye out for this venue as it is out there to capture your imagination!