M’s seafood bistro
Walking into this duck-egg blue restaurant, its understated nautical chic is the first thing that stands out. Scatterings of black and white photos line the walls and the odd retro fishing line can be spied throughout the room, making it feel like the kind of upscale bistro Reese Witherspoon would visit on a long weekend break in New England.
Ushered to our table and greeted with a cold towel, we tucked into an amuse bouche of crispy crostini with a dip that had a powerful punch of garlic, and chatted to the iPad menu-wielding sommelier about the best pairings for the fish before ogling over the food menu. And the concise yet broad selection was confidently seafood-focused: there are no token chicken dishes here, the offerings are all from the big blue.
To start, our dining partner opted for a Mediterranean fish soup with saffron potatoes and a garlic mayonnaise – it was a rich gravy-like soup with that burnt, musty taste that dances upon a saffron-lover’s palate, but may be too much for those who don’t love the valuable spice (it’s worth more than gold by weight, don’t ya know?).
Meanwhile, I couldn’t look past the ceviche – this nearly 2,000-year-old dish, which many think originated in Peru, uses citrus to actually cook the fish without heating it. At M’s they offer ceviche using prawns, hammour, salmon, tuna or baby octopus and marinate it in a Caribbean, Japanese, Peruvian, Mexican or Thai style. We opted for the Peruvian and the chef recommended prawns as our fish of choice – the result was a beautifully textured (it’s strange how the prawns, even without being cooked, have a kind of crunch to them) blend of avocado, citrus, biting vinegar, ginger and coriander that came in a pleasingly generous portion.
The culinary highlight of the night. We continued our culinary journey through the ocean with a garlicbutter-accompanied Grilled seafood platter and John Dory fillet with sautéed spinach and lobster sauce. The former came with a lobster (partly stuffed by a perfectly cooked, herby mash), a giant butterflied prawn and line fish – topped off by herb-crusted fries (delish). The second dish was an elegantly plated study in the gentle taste of John Dory, with completely grit-free baby spinach and mini potato fondants adding bulk and a dark lobster sauce adding a round finish to the flavours.
The first two courses done we were full, but not uncomfortably so – one of the nice things about an exclusively fish menu – and so tried a runny Chocolate soufflé (which was worth the 10 minute wait – very much so) to finish things off. Lovely.
Location Le Méridien Garhoud, Dubai
Timing 12.30pm-11pm, Sat-Thurs; Friday 7.30pm-11pm
Tel 04 217 0000
Tasty trio: Where to try Ceviche
This raw dish, which uses a citrus marinade to in a way “cook” fish, is one of the hottest food trends of the year, and Latin American steakhouse Gaucho’s selection is delicious – we particularly love the lobster creation with hints of pomegranate.
Location Gate Village, DIFC
Timing 11.30am-midnight, Sat-Tue; 11.30am-2am, Wed-Fri
Tel 04 422 7898
The delicate dish of ceviche isn’t only reserved for fine-dining, as one of our fave Dubai cafés serves it. The Ceviche salad (a snip at Dh41) is a healthy lunch of a seasonal raw white fish fillet with lemon, orange, garlic, celery, red onion, coriander and fried tapioca chips.
Location Jumeirah 1 and JBR The Walk
Timing Varies based on location
The giant sculptures and architectural interiors make Richard Sandoval’s trendy new restaurant impressive, but the food will also make a lasting impression. A must-try is the pink snapper Ceviche de huachinango, which is flavoured with orange and coriander.
Location Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina
Timing Sat-Weds 8pm-2am, Thu-Fri 8pm-2am (Fri open for brunch from 12.30pm-4pm)
Tel 04 399 8888