Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Restaurant review: Fine Italian fare with stellar views at Rockfish, Dubai

Seafood and meat lovers are well catered for at this Jumeirah Al Naseem property

Salmon at Rockfish
Salmon at Rockfish

Italian restaurant Rockfish has a new menu that promises to bring traditional Italian cuisine to life with “artfully crafted crudo, seafood and grilled mains”. This reviewer is not ashamed to admit he did not know exactly what crudo was; however, the server was happy to explain it means “raw” in Italian.

What to expect and where to sit

Rockfish is at Jumeirah Al Naseem, Duba
Rockfish is at Jumeirah Al Naseem, Dubai

You would have to be the most churlish of souls to fault the venue and vibe at this Jumeirah Al Naseem property. That is especially the case in the evening, when the dimly lit tables serve as the perfect contrast to the direct views of the ever-changing lights of the Burj Al Arab, and the surrounding waters. Thankfully, the lighting in the restaurant is not so dim that you will be straining to see your food. Request a table facing the popular Dubai landmark when you book; this is not a view you want to have obscured.

Who’s eating there

On the night I visit, Rockfish is hosting a mixed bag of patrons. From young couples enjoying a romantic night out to families spending some quality time together, the ambience is at once relaxed yet lively. The tables are spaced well apart, which goes a long way in making you feel at ease. With the right company, it is not hard to imagine the hours slipping past here.

The food

My dining partner and I would quite happily eat nothing but starters and sharing plates. The crudo platter (Dh240) is a chef’s section of thinly sliced raw fish, typically served with oil, lemon and other simple seasonings. Of these, the yellowfin tuna with black truffle and saffron arancini with spicy tuna tartare are particularly good. The platter also includes salmon in a lemon mustard cream, sea bass with tomato and vinegar, and Hokkaido scallops with caviar and sour cream. The langoustine ravioli (Dh200) may be listed as a starter, but it’s hearty enough to qualify as a main.

Foolishly, we overloaded on the first few courses, so opted for a single main: the delicious veal chop Milanese (Dh195), served with rocket, tomatoes and Parmesan.

While we were too stuffed to order dolce (Dh48 a pop), the lemon baba with limoncello and caramelised apple tart looked particularly appealing. Coffee lovers can skip the traditional post-meal cuppa for the tiramisu cappuccino (with amaretto mousse, cocoa crumble, coffee-chocolate sauce and coffee foam).

A chat with the chef

Tuscan native Marco Garfagnini says that while the new menu sticks to the Mediterranean theme, it was created to cater to different types of foodies. “For seafood lovers, I would suggest the line-caught sea bass, paired with an artichoke and lemon emulsion, and the Atlantic lobster with a Mediterranean sauce vierge,” says the chef. “For meat lovers, we offer the tender tagliata Wagyu beef rib eye with grilled mushrooms. Finally for our health-conscious guests, the seafood mixed grill is light but big on flavour and taste.”

Chef Marco Garfagnini 
Chef Marco Garfagnini

Chef Garfagnini received his first Michelin star at the age of 25 in Italy and has since travelled the globe working in Geneva, Paris, London and New York. In 2016, he joined chef Pierre Gagnaire as executive chef de cuisine for all his restaurants in France, and today Garfagnini is the executive chef for Jumeirah Al Naseem, overseeing a team of more than 150 chefs and stewards across seven restaurants, including Rockfish. “With every menu I create, I aim to put the restaurant on the map and make it the most desired culinary destination for all, and this menu is no different,” he claims. “The selection of seafood and meat dishes aside, I’ve included several homemade pasta dishes, which are a nod to my Italian heritage.”

Price point and contact information

Prices range from Dh65 to Dh180 for starters, while mains start at Dh185 for the Dover sole and run up to Dh950, if you are in the mood for a sharing seafood platter, which takes in lobster, king crab, octopus and scallops served with sauteed ratte potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The restaurant’s website advises the average cost of a meal for two is Dh500 without drinks. Call 04 432 3232.

This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant

Updated: August 7, 2019 07:22 PM

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