Fish & Chips The British Way
Being a Brit in Dubai, I’m sure I can speak for other expats who sometimes just miss a piece of home. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to be living in such a luxurious and exciting city, but when it comes to proper comforts, there’s nothing like being back in the land of Downtown Abbey, crumpets, and proper fish and chips. Speaking of fish and chips, nothing really beats amazing fresh seafood either, so when I discovered the London restaurant Geales in Dubai’s Le Royal Meridien, a restaurant specialising in fresh seafood that promises “no frills, just fabulous food and superb service”, all with a brilliant British spin, I knew it would be love at first bite. And it was.
When it comes to décor, Geales hits the nail on the head. Refreshingly simple, it’s modern and chic but cosy, with a cool, eccentrically British twist. There are Union Jack cushions, wooden parquet floors, black and white seaside pics on the walls, leather armchairs and big comfy booths. Taking a seat at the bar, one of their famous cocktails or G&Ts is a must. With cheeky names including the Margarita Thatcher, Made in Brixton, and the Chelsea Green (which is deliciously refreshing – Tanqueray gin, fresh apple, cucumber, fresh mint, and homemade pear syrup) served up in a jar, there’s sure to be a tipple to tickle your fancy.
Moving to our booth for the evening, it was onto the main event – the Geales grub. Seafood is the specialty, so it’s not surprising that fish takes up most of the menu. There are home comforts like fish pie, fish and chips cooked in beer batter, lobster tagliatelle, and fisherman’s soup, as well as the more ‘fancy’ fish. Salmon mousse, tuna tartare, and a ‘Royal Tower’ of seafood, which comes with Boston lobster, prawns, king crab scallops, mussels, and a selection from the seafood bar (which is set up like a fish market stall). If fish isn’t your thing, you still won’t be disappointed. Shepherd’s pie with baked beans, the Geales burger, asparagus risotto…oh, and sides like cauliflower cheese and mushy peas. Yes please.
We started with the good old classic, Prawn Cocktail, and the calamari, which comes with deep-fried zucchini strips and a lemon aioli. Being mildly obsessed with calamari (if it’s on the menu, I can’t not order it) I can safely say that this is one of the best in Dubai.
Our taste buds alive and ready to keep going, for mains we opted for the seafood gnocchi – home made pasta with mussels, clams, calamari ,and prawns, served in a light sauce. Rich but light, it seriously hit the spot.
And of course, we had to try a piece of fresh grilled fish, served with leafy salad and roasted potato cubes. Selected from the seafood bar, you can pick exactly what you want. The fish, how you want it cooked, what sauce you want, and what sides. Grilled to perfection, it was clear in one mouthful why Geales has the reputation of being one of the top seafood restaurants.
Never ones to turn down dessert, we finished off with a Geales apple crumble with cinnamon ice-cream, and a chocolate fondant with pistachio ice-cream. It would be rude not to, right? Sitting back in our booth, listening to the DJ spinning chilled-out tunes, glass of wine in hand, it was hard to believe that we weren’t back by the seaside in Blighty. From start to finish, the service, food, and ambiance were flawless, and it’s definitely somewhere that will become one of our regular date-night destinations. I can hear the fish pie calling my name already.
Geales, Le Royal Meredien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai, (+971) (0)4 316 5550, www.geales-dubai.com