Fukurou House – a playful plate
Tucked in the depths of Emirates Financial Towers at DIFC sits Fukurou House serving healthy, organic food with every dish combining both fruit and vegetables.
It was a Wednesday evening, after 7pm, when my friend and I visited. On arrival and for the most part of the night, we were the only diners in the restaurant. Albeit, this atmospheric disadvantage did however mean we received undivided attention from the one waiter on duty and the Armenian owner Armen, who shortly after we had settled at our tables, warmly introduced himself. The setting and vibe is quite retro and quirky with dimmed purple lighting, glittering chandeliers, large jewelled-cushioned seats and a dedicated art wall with a monthly-changing exhibition on display.
Browsing through our iPad menus I loved the elegantly presented images and description of ingredients in each dish, saving the dreaded food envy if your friend orders a better looking dish. It was user-friendly and easy to navigate.
To whet our appetites we were served complimentary freshly prepared eggplant caviar with Armenian bread and a glass of homemade non-alcoholic wine sprinkled with fresh pomegranate seeds. Fukurou House does not have an alcohol licence. The caviar and bread, fresh from the oven were both warm, and the caviar was similar in taste to baba ghanoush.
For starters I ordered the Armenian-imported sorrel soup. Thanks to the addition of lentils, walnuts, garlic chunks and dried fruits it had a great bite, however lacked a distinctive flavour which left me slightly baffled and under-whelmed. My friend was surprised at how large her smoked salmon roll was – its photo on the digital menu is deceiving. The fresh, crunchy iceberg lettuce and the flavours of the smoked salmon, avocado and capsicums where enhanced by a zingy orange and dill side dressing despite the menu listing a lemongrass, lime and ginger mix.
Mains were the highlights of the night. Despite meat-eating being a rarity for me, I chose the sweet-roasted prune chicken. The chicken was succulent yet still maintained a tasty golden crisp on the outside and a perfect prune to meat ratio. I swapped the dried fruits basmati rice for quinoa but I was disappointed to find that the dried fruits weren’t added into the quinoa as I had presumed they would be. Without a sauce the quinoa was bland and a little difficult to eat until I poured what was left of my friend’s hoisin-orange sauce over the grains. This small addition completely lifted the dish and going forward I would like to see some sort of a sauce added to what is otherwise a great dish. It is also worth noting that the garnish of ‘oven-roasted’ grapes were three sad, raw grape halves with seeds still intact, which were annoying to pick out.
The portobello chicken with a side of sweet potato pictured on the menu showed one large mushroom stuffed with oven-baked grilled chicken, cheese and a pineapple salsa side. Yet on arrival the dish had three slightly smaller mushrooms, two of which were topped with the chicken (baked and then crisped under the grill) and cheese, while a third mushroom was topped with a minced chicken meatball. The dish was brought to the table by the owner, who explained how this element of the dish is usually on the lunch menu but he wanted us to try it. He delicately drizzled a hoisin-orange side sauce over the meatball. We both agreed this part of the dish truly was the winning element of the night. It was one of the tastiest things both of us had eaten in quite some time and would, alone, be worth re-visiting for.
As The Cinnamon Fiend, I had to try the cinnamon pear – an oven-baked pear with lime, walnuts, cinnamon usually accompanied by homemade yoghurt, but being the lactose-intolerant that I am, this was left off my dish on request. The pear half was an adequate portion size given our earlier courses. It was tender and easy to cut through with a kick of sweetness from the raw honey and textural contrast from the crushed nuts. The carrot crepe cake was less ‘carrot-ty’ than most traditional cakes with a jelly-like consistency vanilla cream, raisins and walnuts sandwiched between each layer. The portion however was too big to finish. To wash it all down, we ordered green tea with peppermint and saffron from a beautiful tea selection, all containing health-boosting Persian saffron.
Service throughout the night was attentive; cutlery was changed between courses; additional hot water for our tea was offered; and on paying the bill we were given a parting gift of homemade pastries to take home. Armen’s passion is clearly apparent from his entertaining dish descriptors, recommendations and hands-on approach – a rare find in Dubai. With a three-course meal costing AED155 per person, Fukurou House most definitely offers value for money with high quality, imaginative dishes, so I sincerely hope business does pick up. It is also worth mentioning that the menu changes every two to three weeks, swapping dishes that aren’t selling well for creative new alternatives. This is something I think more restaurants in Dubai could follow suit with, as it keeps diners intrigued and willing to return for a taste of something new.
Do you know of any other restaurants with regularly-changing menus, or ones with such playful takes on fruit and vegetables?
Yours in the love of healthy, delicious food.
The Cinnamon Fiend. x
So who is FooDiva’s guest reviewer Emma? An Irish P.E. and science teacher by trade has led to a passion for healthy, nutritious food and a fascination with molecular gastronomy. She has a food blog, Cinnamon Fiend, which focuses on wheat, dairy and sugar-free recipes, dining experiences, as well as lifestyle and nutritional tips. Check it out here or follow her on Instagram @thecinnamonfiend.