Full disclosure, I’ve recommended this venue to people without having ever visited. In fact, just last weekend, friends were in town from Abu Dhabi and looking for a suitable breakfast place. I told them about Fume and got a text during the morning telling me how impressed they were. Furthermore, EmiraEATi can’t stop talking about their French toast. Anyway, as my last outing to Pier 7 was a bit of a disaster (Asia Asia has not held up AT ALL, y’all), I was ready to be impressed. Fortunately, lunch starts on a good foot with the setting. Fume does not have an exterior space, so the expansive interior space makes it one of the larger venues I’ve been to in awhile. As I understand it, there’s an entire kids corner on the weekends, as well as a bar, sushi counter, unique lighting fixtures, and great views of the Marina.
My dining partner and I (the lovely Pass Me the Dimsum) arrive with a purpose, so we shouldn’t be surprised when food starts coming out. The plates come fast and furiously, such that I’m glad we’re seated at a four top because there’s no way this is all fitting at a two top. There’s calamari with Thai chili sauce (AED50), Italian Burrata (AED65), Steak Tartare (AED62) and Quinoa salad (??). Interestingly, all of these hit for us except the Quinoa salad. The salad has olives (Quelle horreur!), but aside from this egregious error to my taste buds (yes, highly personal, I’m aware), the salad is simply bland. Salt or a bolder sauce would take this dish much further. I think it’s important our vegetarian friends do not have to compromise on flavor. For the rest of the starters, I’m quite happy with the presentation and pricing. Nothing is being reinvented here, but then, there is something to be said for getting a classic done well. Would I cook the egg on the tartare a bit longer? Yes, but these are small details.
For mains, we receive far too many but do our best to taste as much as possible (with the remainder being packaged and eaten as leftovers for the rest of the week). We try Smoked Norweigan Salmon, served with a yummy sweet-salty teriyaki sauce and pickled cucumber (AED89), Pulled Beef Brisket, too big to really get into (AED69), Honey and Chili marinated chicken (you’ll want to put the sauce on everything, AED52). Overall, while perhaps a bit too much sodium across the board, Fume gets everything right in these dishes. While I think, perhaps, the Brisket should come with fries and not coleslaw (or, both fries AND coleslaw), I’m splitting hairs again. It’s clear from the tables around us that the restaurant is delivering food people want to eat, and a decent variety throughout the menu.
Desserts arrive a little before we’re ready for them, but with a sigh and smile, we accept. The Foot Long Eclair (AED49) delivers on the name, and we’re nearly overwhelmed by the Nutella and mascarpone. Unless sweets are your only source of calories, I would recommend splitting this dish between at least four people. The other, we’re told is one of the best Date Puddings in the country (AED46). A bold statement and, for the record, an accurate one. We literally cannot stop eating the blend of caramel and vanilla, and, as my dining partner detects, a bit of peanut butter. Do not leave without ordering this dish — to share! The portion sizes across the menu are definitely able to be split, or, as my case, take some home for lunch the next three days.
Overall, I also think it’s worth mentioning two additional elements. 1) Fume serves local water. They might be one of the only places in the city to do it, but huzzah – progress! and 2) The music was banging. Sure, it was a lot of up-tempo covers and remixes of popular music, but I really did enjoy the tunes and thought the music added to the ambiance. I point this out because it’s so rare that music matches venues here in Dubai.
Would I go back? I think everyone is fairly well aware of my aversion to the Marina (parking, driving, general hassle), but this was a pleasant diversion. Although not particularly my scene, I know that families get a lot of love here, so I suppose if I were meeting friends with kids, this would be a good spot. There’s a little something for everyone.
Are you a breakfast person, or do you prefer visiting Fume for ladies night on Tuesday?
A to Za’atar was a guest of Fume. Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.