BEACH­SIDE RE­TREAT

It’s one of Dubai’s pret­ti­est eater­ies, but Does the eth­i­cally-sourced seafood at fish live up to the spec­tac­u­lar set­ting?

Good (UAE) - - CONTENTS -

fresh flavours and fair sourc­ing at fish

If you live in the UAE and you own an Instagram lo­gin, there’s lit­tle chance that the open­ing of Fish Beach Tav­erna ear­lier this year passed you by. The idyl­lic lit­tle Aegean spot, sit­u­ated right on the beach at Le Méri­dien Mina Seyahi, barely needs a fil­ter. Fairy lights twin­kle in glass jars hung from palm trees, the fur­ni­ture is of the rus­tic, white­washed va­ri­ety and there’s even a blue door di­vid­ing the ter­race space from the beach it­self, where din­ers pad­dle be­tween cour­ses, the surf lap­ping gen­tly up to the first line of ta­bles. Pretty doesn’t come close.

With all this blue and white-hued beauty, it would have been fairly easy for the food to take a back seat. But thank­fully, it seems to have been given as much care­ful thought as the in­te­ri­ors, and a host of in­de­pen­dent fish­er­men in Turkey have seen their busi­nesses thrive thanks to the kitchen’s care­ful sourc­ing.

fish, of course, is the name of the game, though the menu some­how man­ages to re­main in­ven­tive. We started by shar­ing some im­pec­ca­ble and am­bi­tious hot and cold mezze plates, each as de­li­cious as the last. Rock sam­phire comes pick­led, stud­ded with wal­nuts and pome­gran­ate seeds and driz­zled with olive oil. A dish of lavrek, salted chunks of sea bass served cold with fresh rose­mary and oregano, orange and olive oil, is light and tasty, while a warm dish of ba­lik kofte, sea bass and sea bream frit­ters mixed with pars­ley, onion, gar­lic and cheese, comes in a se­ri­ously mor­eish home­made tomato sauce. Ar­guably the pick of the mezzes though, de­spite mak­ing a mock­ery of our best di­etary in­ten­tions, is beyaz. Three chunky tri­an­gles of feta, bat­tered, pan­fried and topped with se­same and honey, it’s a salty but sweet joy, and well worth ev­ery last calo­rie. Even cheese, it seems, can be im­proved upon with a bit of deep-fry­ing

While the mains menu boasts a va­ri­ety of tasty sound­ing casseroles, plus some meat and veg­gie op­tions, it’s hard to look past the day’s fresh catch, dis­played on ice near the en­trance to the restau­rant. We se­lect a huge fresh sea bass and es­chew pan­fry, deep-fry and steam­ing op­tions in favour of the huge out­door grill. It’s the right de­ci­sion. fil­leted to serve two peo­ple, the fish ar­rives on a pair of wooden boards, the skin charred to a bub­bling crisp, the flesh moist be­neath. It’s sim­ple, and it’s pretty much perfect. Sides of tomato rice and grilled as­para­gus with more of that home­made tomato sauce are lovely, but go un­fin­ished in favour of the star of the show.

Sadly too full for dessert, we eek out the last of our glasses of wine, try­ing to stay just a lit­tle while longer be­fore head­ing back out into the city traf­fic. It might be just off bustling Beach Road, but fish feels miles from any­where and it’s all the bet­ter for it. Now, if only all those In­sta­gram­mers would put their phones down for a mo­ment…

Le Méri­dien Mina Seyahi, Beach Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur 6.30pm to 11pm, Fri and Sat noon to 11pm. Tel: (04) 5117373. Taxi: Le Méri­dien Mina Seyahi. fish-dubai.com

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