x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Seagrill on 25º restaurant is a breath of fresh air

This seafood restaurant at the Fairmont Palm Jumeirah is a quiet hide-away with a sea breeze, a sustainable menu and impeccable service.

Seagrill on 25º at Fairmont Palm Jumeirah offers a quiet atmosphere with ocean views. Courtesy Fairmont
Seagrill on 25º at Fairmont Palm Jumeirah offers a quiet atmosphere with ocean views. Courtesy Fairmont

If you’re looking for a quiet hide­away with low-lit tables and a sea breeze, try Seagrill on 25° at Fairmont Palm Jumeirah.

My first impressions were great. Given my ever-so-slightly tardy arrival for the table booking at 9pm, I was relieved to see my dining companion seated at one of the best tables on the terrace and being well taken care of. Beverages and freshly baked bread rolls had been served, and not one, but two, table lamps provided adequate light for reading the large carte.

The slick serveur turned out to be a gentleman called Ram, from Hyderabad. A legend among waiters, he deserves a shout-out for being one of the most genial and attentive chaps we’ve come across in the hospitality industry for some time.

We were heartened to see the menu packed with every seafood crowd-pleaser one could wish for, and, after much deliberation, we started with the elegantly tiered seafood platter from the raw bar. More able to feed four people rather than the suggested two, it consisted of juicy Fine de Claire oysters, salty clams, wafer-thin sliced scallops and tender smoked salmon, and more – much more. We couldn’t resist finishing the king crab claws, which were cooked to perfection and still tasted of the sea.

The only mismatch to the seafood’s delicate flavours was the accompanying sauces; the mustard dressing overpowered the calamari and shrimp.

With barely enough time for a glug of water between courses, our piping-hot entrees were served. Intrigued by the advertised “local catch of the day”, I opted for Faskar and my companion the red snapper. Neither disappointed, not least because we were given the choice of having the fillets steamed, pan fried or grilled. We opted for the latter and loved the unfussy presentation and flaky-but-firm texture of both dishes. The olive oil, lemon and chervil sauce provided a mild but tangy aftertaste.

The chef in residence clearly loves fish; the sustainable menu was geared towards local stocks. It was utterly refreshing not to see hammour on the menu. Apart from our regional fish, UAE sea bass and sea bream were also available.

So as not to upstage our culinary catch, we kept things simple with the sides. Of the 10 available, we virtuously chose steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus and the mixed green salad, which complemented the fish nicely.

To round off the meal we surveyed the desert list, which varied from sour cherry Pavlova to a well-considered cheese board.

Though in retrospect a simple sorbet selection would have sufficed, we gleefully ordered the bannoffee pie and chocolate brownie sundae.

We soon got our come-uppance, for the portions were colossal. Delicious though it was, with its Oreo crust, rosemary caramel and white chocolate creméux, the banana dessert was dense, sticky-sweet and far too generous in size. We shifted our attention to the sundae.

Scoop upon gargantuan scoop of ice cream was piled inside a tall, plastic beaker. While its opaqueness lent itself to surprise spoonfuls of brownie chunks and Nutella sauce, it wouldn’t have looked out of place on a children’s menu. Still, the thick shards of dark gianduja chocolate made with hazelnut paste that stood proudly above the rim quickly disappeared.

As the meal drew to a close we became acutely aware of being the only diners left in the restaurant, which seemed a shame given the standard of the food and faultless service. With the chilled beats, the sound of lapping water and surprisingly vocal bird life at the outdoor venue, one can only hope that word of mouth will draw more people.

Seagrill has all the right ingredients to be a new Dubai hot-spot, perhaps it just needs a little time to settle-in. If you, unlike I, manage to make it to your dinner reservation in good time, another added bonus is the shisha terrace just above. It offers panoramic views of the marina and is the perfect place for an apéritif. Take Ram’s word for it.

Dinner for two at Seagrill on 25° costs Dh640. For reservations email palm.dining@fairmont.com or call 04 457 3457. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and all reviews are conducted incognito


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