A seafood restaurant with a view

Seaview DubaiNo I am not travelling…again. I am passport-less at the moment anyway. This quaint little fishing harbour is in Dubai, believe it or not. And not in Deira, but this side of the creek in posh Jumeirah territory, just next to DOSC (aka Dubai Offshore Sailing Club). There’s a new fish market, but more importantly there’s Seaview, a newish you guessed it seafood restaurant, with this picturesque view from a smattering of al fresco tables.

It’s quiet when I arrive on Saturday for a 1pm lunch with travel writer Haute Compass, but by the time we leave a couple of hours later, every table is occupied, plus a few inside. This is a restaurant to soak up the views over lunch or an early sunset dinner – absolutely no point in going when the weather hots up in my opinion.

With the owners fishermen, it’s all about freshly snagged fish and the local catch of the day which you can choose from a refrigerated display indoors – seabream, kingfish, mullet, mackerel, shaari (pink ear emperor), jesh (orange-spotted trevally), hammour, squid and prawns are on offer today. When I question the manager on what is widely perceived as overfished hammour, he explains that at certain times of the year like now, there’s plenty of shoals at sea, but only the larger species over 45cm can be caught using smaller nets – to allow the babies to continue to spawn. Anyhow that’s a topic worth researching for another post. Personally I find this grouper a pretty bland fish and with so much more flavoursome local species to choose from, I never eat it chez moi or out.

Catch of the dayKingfish tikka kebabsPrawn tempuraBBQ shari

Anyhow moving onto our meal. Generous chunks of kingfish kebabs spiced in the North Indian ‘achari macchi’ tikka style and baked in the clay oven are super succulent and dense, almost meaty. Talking of meat, there are quite a few chicken and veggie options for non seafood lovers. A tower of prawns fried tempura style, but in a richer batter are moreishly good especially when dipped in soy sauce, whilst our fattoush salad is fresh, crispy and zesty. Be warned, starter portions are huge and our trio fills us up pretty pronto. Sadly our two main courses of barbequed butterflied shari and a banana-wrapped kingfish are overcooked and I tend to prefer fish lightly seared. To our surprise, the latter arrives drenched in a tomato sauce which is not mentioned on the menu. A lemon and herb rice accompaniment is good enough, but next time I would stick to a simpler steamed rice. A Malay flatbread, roti canai, is a little stale, but Ishita Unblogged who first discovered this spot recommends the version stuffed with seafood. On the other hand, a kingfish coconut curry side order is as sublime as Bu’Qtair’s, especially as a dip for the piping hot and fluffy clay-baked sesame flatbread. The menu is extensive though and I would gladly return to work my way through a better choice of mains, or else a spread of appetisers, mezze-style.

I am so impressed by the service with a gentle attentiveness throughout our meal, coupled with knowledgeable and authoritative waiters. Seaview is the perfect example of a Dubai restaurant whose location, atmosphere and service outweigh the food, but is still worthy of a visit, especially given the reasonable AED140 per head (with soft bevvies) price point. And that view alone is enough to not miss my passport.

Would you return to a cheap(er) and cheerful restaurant if the food wasn’t the highlight? Anyone care to shed more light on the sustainability of hammour?

A bientôt!

FooDiva. x

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    Cafes, Dubai, Fish, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants, Seafood

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11 Responses to “A seafood restaurant with a view”

  1. IshitaUnblogged March 5, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I am glad you finally made to the restaurant. The view transports you somewhere else. About the ovefished hammour – hmm, I heard the other day that actually if you don’t catch them (of course within those 3 months), they can infest the shores and can become as dangerous as Sharks! Thanks for the shout out – I feel like an empowered Food Detective now:)

    • FooDiva March 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      Oh dear really? This hammour story is getting ridiculous now, detective Ishita would you care to uncover the truth with me behind all these tales? ;)

  2. Dave Reeder March 5, 2014 at 11:47 am

    The whole hammour question is ripe with confusion. To begin, the word relates to four different, related fish species, not all of which are endangered. Apparently, the species that come from the Indian Ocean off Yemen are not endangered, however, I have yet to see any explanation of how fishermen, merchants and diners are able to make the distinction between the species. The restaurant’s claim that smaller fish are not caught may be true of some fishing fleets but, as anyone who has been to the large fish market in Shindaga can attest, fish as small as one inch long are on display and fish sellers sidle up to you like dodgy watch salesmen in Karama asking sotto voce ‘You want hammour?’ The only safe route is never to order it and to call out the restaurant manager or cook if you see it on a menu . Yes, I know it is supposed to be part of the Emirati ‘heritage’ but the fish will only survive if given a moratorium of a dozen years or more. Last time I was at the fish market it was heartbreaking – yes, fully mature hammour but all were spawning females with thousands of eggs apiece that would never have a chance to add to the fish stocks. Final thought: if you see ‘hammour’ on a menu in a cheap canteen, then it will be some other white fish being misrepresented…

    • FooDiva March 8, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      Dave – as I just replied to Ishita, we need to uncover the real truth here. Will you do a story on it for Pro Chef and I’ll help be detective? Or else I’ll do it for FooDiva and you can be detective ;) As for your last point, Bu’Qtair also serves it daily…have no idea if it is indeed hammour as I refuse to order it.

  3. GA March 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it, we have been over and over for the prawn tempura starter, divine!! as for the hammour I don’t even like it, I always go for sea bream :)

    • FooDiva March 8, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks to your recommendation too GA :) I’ll order the sea bream next time.

  4. Dave Reeder March 8, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Have covered this subject from a number of directions in The Pro Chef ME, but still in the dark about what ‘hammour’ exactly is, as appearing on menus. Suggest you talk to Chef Uwe from Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek and Emirates Culinary Guild, one of the early F&B champions against the use of hammour, uwe.micheel@radissonblu.com

  5. Eileen Stapleton March 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Whenever I read a Foodiva review, it makes me want to go there and try that delicious looking food. Now.

    • FooDiva March 15, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Well not all of them are as good as this gem Eileen ;) You must go now before the weather hots up. Thanks so much for commenting.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Eat Greek...in Dubai | FooDiva - March 31, 2014

    […] freshly caught and served whole, rather than filleted, plus it’s usually char-grilled like at Seaview. I’d be interested to try the calamari and octopus next time […]

  2. A posh seafood shack - Serena's Seafood - Dubai restaurants - FooDiva | FooDiva - April 28, 2014

    […] overfished hammour features. I’ve dwelled on this matter before as you can read in my review of Seaview and the comments – something that requires further research. Choose your fish, how you would like […]

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