On arriving at the Westin for our afternoon at the Pik Nik, we followed signs for the picnic area. Really, however, we could just have walked towards the sound of happy laughter, the hubbub of voices, and the clink of ice-cubes in glasses of Pimms and lemonade.
It’s a beautiful, restful setting, with mature trees forming a clearing around which are ranged a semicircle of jaunty, hipster food trucks. These serve a variety of food, including pizza, barbeque, healthy options and ice-cream. Through the trees, we caught glimpses of the yachts cruising past on the water; it was an idyllic scene.
Each “table” consists of a picnic table, and beside it a rug on the ground with beanbags. Picnickers can eat in comfort at the table, then sit back on the beanbags to soak up the laid-back atmosphere and the pastoral setting.
We opened our quaint picnic basket to discover an adorable assortment of jars, and various small packages tied with string. These were filled with slices of cold cuts, tasty marinated cheese and a selection of salads. The Small People devoured the pasta salad, Daddy demolished most of the Greek salad, while Mummy thought the potato salad was one of the best she’d tasted in Dubai.
Pizza arrived, crisp, thin and tasty, still bubbling with heat. A chicken burger was fresh, piping hot and full of flavour. Crusty bread was served in a paper bag- we adored the brown baguette with seeds.
The smoothie and fresh juice truck was a hit- Daddy liked the melon and ginger mixture, the Small People guzzled carrot and orange juice, and Mummy tried to hide her smug face at the thought of all the vegetable-y goodness sloshing about in small tummies.
It’s important to mention that the Pik Nik is not an all-in-brunch deal. It costs AED250 for a picnic basket for two adults and two children, containing cold cuts, salads and cheese. Menu options from the food trucks are charged separately, as are beverages. The food is reasonably priced, and the beverages are average prices for a 5-star hotel.
The Small People being two years old, the afternoon was not without its dramas, all of which were handled with aplomb by the superbly attentive staff. At one point there was a simultaneous spilling of juices, a chorus of “It was an ACCIDENT!” and a synchronised outburst of wailing. The staff swooped into action, replacing the juice-soaked picnic blanket, offering diversion, and restoring peace once more.
Apart from our own small dramas, there was plenty of entertainment for children throughout the afternoon, with balloon-making, face-painting, cookery classes and a bouncy castle. The highlight for all of us was the enthusiastic juggler who had parents on their feet clapping, and small people enthralled by his miraculous skills.
After a stroll on the beach, it was time to say goodbye. It’s a testament to the quality of the day that the Small People staged a sit-down protest in the lobby of the Westin, refusing to leave the magical world of the Pik Nik for the more mundane comforts of home. We only managed to wrest them away by promising to come back again. It wasn’t a difficult promise to make…