Hey, mamas! Are you a fan of home cooked no-frills food, but need a night out? Or are you a big traveller like me and enjoy uncovering the signature family meals of different countries and cultures? Well you are in luck! I have just discovered a gem of a restaurant and you are going to love it.
I had heard a few whispers about the new eateries that opened in Pier 7 in the Marina this year so thought it was about time I checked it out. Seemingly only 5 of the 7 restaurants are open so far – Atelier M (French fine dining) O’Cacti (a Mexican restaurant), Cargo (Asian cuisine) and Abd el Wahab (a popular arabic). Oh and Fume, the newest addition to the group which launched in May and was the restaurant I was eager to try out.
To get to Pier 7, you can park at Marina Mall (for free!) and then make your way to the Ground Floor where there are clear signs to follow. A short walk through a glass tunnel and you will find Fume on the same level. Having read online that reservations are not accepted and they employ a first come first basis, I was relieved to see some vacant tables when I arrived.
On entering the restaurant my first impression was that this new haunt looked quirky and fun. The interiors had an industrial feel to it, with exposed pipes on the ceiling, old school wooden tables and chairs, and stone, warehouse-like walls. The atmosphere was relaxed with couples or friends enjoying a homely meal together, with a few lucky groups seated by the window, appreciating the beautiful view of the marina. You need to get there early to secure one of these tables mamas, we were certainly too late and it was only 7.45pm!
We were seated at our table by a friendly waitress, (in fact all the staff were amazing!), who proceeded to tell us about the concept at Fume. So the modern interior does fit the concept mamas, which aims to bring old time favourite dishes to modern times! The menu is strewed with comfort food from all over the world, paying homage to old style cooking and the traditional ways of preparing food, such as pickling, marinating and smoking. The dishes are designed for sharing, with every component being homemade, including the sauces such as ketchup and mayonnaise.
For starters we had the house smoked salmon which was perfect in everyway. The dish came complete with all the elements you would have expected but which you sometimes forget are missing in other restaurants. Delicious smoked salmon sat alongside a pot of smooth cream cheese, with crispy bread, salty capers and raw onion rings on the side, and of course a good wedge of squeezing lemon for that citrus twist. The simplicity was spot on and reminded me instantly of my childhood where good honest food was presented at the table. We also chose the crispy duck from the Fume dishes, which you can order as a starter or main. The succulent watermelon, with the flaky duck and crunchy cashew nuts offered a variety of different textures, which worked impeccably combined with fresh fragrant mint and a delicious homemade hoisin sauce.
For main course we ordered the lamb cutlets and the signature six hour smoked beef. The cutlets were not shy of meat (which is always an annoyance I tend to encounter with this dish at other establishments) and were seasoned with delicious Korean spices, offset by cool pickled red cabbage. Accompany this with a good helping of bok choy in oyster garlic sauce and some triple cooked potato chips, and I was certainly on my way to food heaven. The beef chuck rib was unbelievable and probably the highlight of the meal. As you inserted your knife into the meat for the first time it literally fell off the bone. The beef was so soft and delicate and the accompanied slaw offered a welcomed crunch to an otherwise melt in your mouth dish.
Other favourites amongst the regulars include the Beef Cheek Rendang with paratta and the lamb shank pie (now that’s got to remind some of you of your mothers kitchen!!!) Something to try next time, for sure…
For dessert, if you choose the monster Sundae then you can create your own tower of delight at the pastry counter, selecting from different flavour ice creams, sweets and toppings as well as meringue, cheesecake and much more. We watched attentively and with slight disbelief as the neighbouring couple returned with 2 huge ice cream sundaes, which they seemed to demolish in no time at all (when I say huge, I mean literally huge!!). Whilst we were absolutely satisfied with 2 courses and couldn’t eat another bite, I was eager to find out what were the most popular desserts (I will definitely be saving more space for this next time). The answer: Apple and Blackberry crumble with custard and vanilla ice cream, date and banana pudding or the homemade snickers. Yummy!
It’s worth mentioning that Fume is also open for lunch and has a kid’s menu. On perusing the “Ketchup menu for kids”, I did feel on first glance that the dishes maybe suited slightly older children (I think my kids would find shrimps and hot smoked salmon a little too refined for their taste) but there were other favourites such as cod fish cakes, meat balls, mac and cheese, and a good old burger on offer which I am sure would tickle their fancy.
Lastly, if you fancy an even more relaxed evening, you are welcome to enjoy your meal at the bar or one of the cooking stations. You can also just come in for drinks with your girlfriends if you like – watch out though, the signature G&T which comes with squeezed citrus fruits and an added Campari ice cube is quite lethal, so one of those might be enough!
The verdict? We had a lovely casual evening out at Fume. The relaxed atmosphere of the neighbourhood eatery coupled with the uncomplicated dishes on the menu, offered a rather unexpectedly perfect evening. This place is ideal for catching up with friends or your husband over dinner, and the best part of it all is that it won’t break the bank. We paid 500 Dhs or thereabouts for a 2-course meal each, with 2 sides, a bottle of sparkling water, an aperitif and a couple of glasses of wine. Fume is certainly one of the more affordable restaurants in Dubai and I will definitely be returning sooner rather than later.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina
Strictly no reservations, limited tables for parties of up to 12 guests
12.00pm to 1am (kitchen closes at 11.30pm)