Entering the Seafood Market at the Le Meridien Dubai has an excitement of its own. Accessible straight from the parking lot of the hotel, it is the restaurant’s sheer size that stands out at first glance.
The closed dark doors at the entrance reveal little of the happening going on behind them. And stepping inside the Seafood Market, revealed more than what we had expected. Here was a large restaurant - not often witnessed among the new and upcoming outlets today - with spacious seating and a welcoming feel to it. We had just entered but were already convinced a great evening lay ahead of us.
As we were led to our table by the smiling hostess, we took in the restaurant and it’s well laid out smart setting with a casual relaxed feeling. The staff in their smart black and white uniforms were very friendly and obliging.
The lighting was soft and comfortable and the music filtered through the restaurant at a decent volume rising just above the chatter but yet not loud to drown out conversations. The music choice was also carefully picked in keeping with the ambience of the restaurant, which was more of the chill out type.
On one side of the restaurant fish tanks are neatly lined up against the wall, their sheer sizes almost covering it. Large boards above them inform of the type of fish available and its price per kilogramme. It is from here that the chef scoops out the fish with a little net and sends it to the kitchen ensuring that what you get is absolutely fresh.
While most of the tanks contain different varieties of fish, the others contain crabs, which come from neighbouring Oman to as far away as Australia and lobsters among other seafood. The assortment of colours coming from the tanks provides a perfect backdrop for the restaurant. Lined up alongside, are trays of oysters, clams and other fresh seafood. The choice that Seafood Market offers is pretty large and an interesting one as well.
The restaurant also has a private function room hidden behind a glass partition to one side which can seat around 10 people. the room also doubles up as a family room.
Santos the restaurant manager was a lovely man who took care of everyone entering the restaurant. Along with the tips on what food to eat, he is extremely knowledgeable on what goes into the preparation of dishes.
To get the guests involved in most of the process, they have to select the fish of their choice from the counter which is put into a basket carried by one of the service staff. This takes quite a while as the choice is big and its best to take your time making the picks.
Once this task is done, its time to decide how the fish has to be cooked. The charges for the dishes are decided on weight of the fish and the cooking method opted.
No matter whether you like your seafood hot and spicy, creamy and tasty or just cool and crisp there is a cooking method and serving style to suit them all.
You may choose to have your meal sautéed with perhaps Szechwan spicy chilli sauce, lemon butter sauce or soy sauce, ginger and spring onions.
The deep fried selection allows you to enjoy a Far Eastern style, Tempura or a combination of salt, chilli, pepper and garlic. Being a lover of calamari I was more than happy to try the suggested serve of deep fried calamari with salt, chilli, pepper and garlic. These crisp and tasty delights are the perfect starter which can also be shared when needed.
The Lobster with hot chilli sauce is another tantalising starter which is a great foil to the calamari.
For a seafood dish with a difference that blends the flavours of seafood with the freshness of noodles, try the Japanese style udon noodles or perhaps even the fried noodles with shrimp.
Rice is a very popular dish with many people, and a wonderful accompaniment for any meal. Seafood Market offers not just the traditional vegetable fried rice but also a more adventurous blend of garlic and fish fried rice that is perfect to eat just by itself as well.
Moving further into the main course it was now time to dive into the fresh fish delicacies.
Being fond of steamed seafood, we opted for a steamed fresh sea brim. After scooping the fish out of the tank, it was sent to the kitchen to be prepared. After a short wait, the fish was served with fresh garlic, golden garlic, spring onions and coriander leaves with sesame oil. The fish was served open, cut down the middle with sauce drizzled on top. With the freshness and flavour so rich and full you just can’t help but enjoy this delightful dish just the way you like it.
There is a vast selection of fresh vegetables that can be plucked straight from the market style counter and prepared and served to your liking in a variety of sauces. With such a large selection of foods you will be hard pushed to find the room to enjoy the desserts.
Located alongside the vegetable “market”, there is the fresh fruit market that offers an array of fruits from different corners of the world served as a tropical fruit platter.
We were feeling adventurous and decided to try out the special flambé desserts that serve a minimum of two people. The Carribean banana was a banana lover’s paradise. Not only did it combine the pleasing tastes of banana and other exciting flavours, but its preparation was a pleasure to watch.
The Seafood Market has a unique feel to it. It is a place that could be suited for both formal as well as informal occasions. With great ambience, freshest food cooked in a variety of ways and friendly people around, there is not much more you can ask for.
Seafood Market remains open for lunch from 12.30pm to 3pm and for dinner from 7.30pm to 11.30pm.
This was a setting that left you feeling both full and satisfied as well as eager to tell others about your wonderful night out and even more eager to come back and do it all again! Be adventurous and become your own guide through the wonders of a modern style seafood market. You wont be disappointed.
by Kerry Leigh