Delicious deep-fried seafood leaves Sneha May Francis craving for more
Being a hardcore foodie I have come to discover that some of the best dishes the world over are created in the tiniest, most inconspicuous kitchens. My hungry tummy always finds its way to the delectable knocks and corners of each city. And Dubai is no exception. Just a stone’s throw away from the famous Burj Al Arab is a gastronomic delight – The Bu Qtair Cafeteria.
Our friends took us on a rare gastronomic treat, leaving us completely bowled over. At first glance, The Bu Qtair Cafeteria is nothing more than a large, modest cabin with just four large tables, recreating the old-school canteen feel. A few tables are put outside near the gigantic boats with the colourfully shaded Burj Al Arab making a neat backdrop. The clean tiled kitchen is open, intoxicating us with the rich aroma.
We chose our catch from a tray of neatly-piled fresh fish dressed in reddish spiced splendour.
We then let the chef weigh the fish and announce its price. As we gave the nod, the majestic fish was handed over to the main chef, who carefully placed them in a pool of hot oil, peppered in some spices and patiently monitored the cooking.
We picked two black pomfrets, one mighty hammour and a pile of splendidly marinated reddish prawns.
As we waited for our meal to cook, our friends filled us in on how the Bu Qtair Cafeteria flavour has smitten many locals. They added that it’s almost impossible to find a table on Fridays, leaving many to pack their catch back home.
After nearly 15 minutes, the fish arrived, fried to crispy perfection with the interiors soft and juicy, retaining the flavoured spices. We ordered a bowl of lightly fragranced ghee rice, flaky soft parathas and fish curry to go with our fishy treat.
I believe that good food takes over from good conversation. And that’s exactly what happened. As soon as the fish arrived, everyone went quiet, planning their way through the fishy delights and relishing each bite. And once the bony leftovers clogged the large plate, we leaned back to savour the taste! A round of hot, milky tea proved the perfect way to end the lavish meal.
This is truly every fish-eater’s paradise. Don’t expect an elaborate menu or other such frills, just a large helping of the best fish fry in the world.
Bill for 4 (plus one tiny-tot!)
3 fish fry + prawns Dh130
Fish curry Dh3
Ghee rice Dh4
The Bu Qtair Cafeteria,
Jumeirah-5, Beach Road
(Published e+, Gulf News, January 29,2009 issue)