I first dined at Fume, in celebration of my 30th birthday last year. We had enjoyed it – the vibe, the ambiance, the food. It evokes happy memories and hence the sweet yet odd feeling, when we were invited to review the food. I told my fellow partner in food crime that I had quite liked the place the first time around and I was excited about re-visiting and acquainting him with Fume’s uncomplicated bistro food.
Upon confirming our visit, we were emailed back a copy of the set-menu that the restaurant serves for media reviews. Despite having done a fair number of reviews now, this was a first for me. I’ve always had choices left open to me about what I would like to eat, though I do in all seriousness also like to sample chef’s recommendations. Therefore this too, I treated as a recommendation of the best dishes Fume has to offer.
When we got there, we were seated at a table overlooking the beautiful Dubai Marina. What a gorgeous view, well complemented by their signature cocktails. The Strawberry Aperol Spritz was light and refreshing though marked by the strong presence of alcohol in it. The gin based Pomegranate Collins too was quite strong and dry, and despite being fruity, had more alcohol than the fruit. Good cocktails, if you like your drink strong!
On the food front, we started the evening with Crispy Duck, Watermelon and Cashew Salad with Hoisin Sauce and Steak Tartare with the Slow Cooked Organic Egg. An ordinary Chicken Wings replaced the Fried Calamari that I had been looking forward to but was sadly unavailable. The duck, though beautifully presented, was quite chewy and didn’t work for me. In fact, on flavour, it was the Tartare that won! Cutting into the egg I was waiting for that moment when the golden yolk oozes out and dresses the meat. The slightly overcooked egg failed that much anticipated moment, but the flavours lived up!
What stood out in memories for me, from the first experience, and struck me even now, is Fume’s service style. It is relaxed and sassy without being too casual. I speak about service now, because in a curious way, the affable service forces you to overlook the ‘misses’ you may find in the food.
However, service can only go that far and eventually, it is the food itself that can make or break a restaurant experience. In this case, unfortunately, the food rained on my enthusiasm. The Hot Smoked Norwegian Salmon, Teriyaki Sauce and Pickled Cucumber, was overcooked slightly and overpowered by the heavy sauce. The Pulled Beef Brisket with Vinegar Slaw was dense and over seasoned while the Smashed Potatoes with Creme Fraiche, Capers and Veal Bacon lacked seasoning altogether. The Honey and Chilli Marinated Chicken was the best of the four dishes presented to us, though personally, they are not my favourite flavour combination. My friend and I agreed that the mains were nothing to write home about and we would have expected much more from a recommended set-menu.
Desserts, however, compensated for the middle-of-the-road experience so far. The Date and Banana Pudding with Custard and Vanilla Ice-Cream was decadent – warm and delicious. The Salted Caramel Chocolate éclair, despite having a slightly thick pastry, was utterly delicious, and beautifully complemented by the most perfect salted caramel I have eaten in recent times. With that, a stretched view of the tranquil marina waters and amazing company, it’s hard not to smile or be complaining for too long!
Rating (Out of 5)
Food: 3 | Service: 3.5 | Ambience: 3.5 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for Two: AED365 Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes| Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Timings: 12PM–2AM
Address: Pier 7, Level 1 Marina – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.