Pier 7, the signature circular designed building adjacent to Marina Mall, Dubai has made its mark on the culinary map. It houses 7 different dining concepts, each offering stunning views of the Dubai Marina skyline and the Arabian Gulf.
I was under the impression that Pier 7 was all about special occasions, fine-dining, and dressing up, but last weekend’s dinner at Fume (on the 1st floor of Pier 7) changed my views significantly.
With its bright red doors and blaring music, Fume is Pier 7’s casual, quirky nest. Saturday night, and the place was packed! At Fume, the vibe is welcomingly casual, and you see diners in shorts and jandals, and even suited executives who want to let their hair down.
As we walked in, we were greeted with Bon Jovi crooning out ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’, and I felt right at home in this rustic-styled, beautifully decorated ‘Neighborhood Eatery’.
We were fortunate enough to get a table with a view of the Dubai Marina. The place was brimming with tables of friends catching up over drinks and dinner, and coy couples cosying up to the views of the Arabian Gulf.
Fume prides itself for its international, home-style cuisine that is served with a signature modern twist, and a look at the very funky menu, clothes hanger and all, got me very excited!
I’d like to get in touch with the creative mind behind the menu design of Fume. It’s so kitsch, so retro and so befitted to the atmosphere of Fume! Take a peep at the drinks menu, so tongue-in-cheek!
Here is Hubby’s ‘Honey I’m Home‘. A concoction of lime, basil and honey muddled into rum, this is drink has a hint of sour, a balance of sweet, and the exotic touch of basil.
I decided to try Fume’s most talked about drink, the ‘Desert Donkey‘. When my drink hit the table in its absolutely adorable rustic tin mug, Hubby got all jealous and wanted to swap drinks. Suddenly his drink was far too ‘feminine’ for his liking!
The ‘Desert Donkey’ really is worth fighting over, I’ve never had anything quite like it! It is an interesting mix of vodka, ginger beer and fresh raspberries that has been further accentuated with the slight bitterness of a wedge of lemon, a tad bit of heat from a slit red chili, and a whole lot of fresh, fragrant coriander leaves. We are on a mission to recreate it at home… nowhere near the real ‘Donkey’ yet. The real deal is, as the menu claims, FUMazing!
Next came our round of appetizers. While sipping on my ‘Donkey’, I couldn’t help notice that the ‘Crispy Duck Salad’ was also brimming with fresh coriander. Coriander is definitely a Chef-favorite at Fume!
Fume’s ‘Crispy Duck Salad’ is a clever play of Asian flavors. The duck was crisp and chewy, and well flavored with a savory-sweet marinade. Tossed together with a whole heap of coriander leaves, pomegranate, watermelon and a generous sprinkle of cashew nuts, the salad was dressed in a very delectable freshly prepared Hoisin sauce. Trust me, it tastes even better than it looks!
The other appetizer to hit the table was a ‘Steak Tartar with Slow Cooked Egg’. I’ve had salmon tartar before, but never a red-meat variation. This is a hearty, meaty starter with full-on beef flavor, and that soft, wobbly egg that dripped all over the meat pieces was just pure heaven!
The third appetizer on the table was the ‘Smoked Peppered Mackerel Spread’. It comes on a wooden board alongside a pile of crusty bread slices, and the spread itself is canned in a retro-style mackerel tin which is ringed open once it hits the table.
This is not your average can of mackerel! The top is crusted with what appears to be a decadently thick layer of hardened butter, and the mackerel itself is of a mushy, spreadable consistency. Mildly sprinkled with pepper, this mackerel spread, with a squeeze of lemon on crusty bread, is something I’d envision right out of an ideal picnic wicker-basket!
For our mains, I went for the ‘Hot Smoked Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce and Pickled Cucumber’.
When it comes to salmon, I am extremely picky. I like my salmon juicy and moist, and there’s nothing I quite detest as much as an overcooked fillet which has the beautiful flavor of salmon exorcised out of it.
When I dug into my salmon at Fume, my fears were put at rest. My salmon was cooked more than perfectly. It was painstakingly beautiful! Moist? Check. Juicy? Check, check! And best of all, the skin was basted in teriyaki sauce, and remained crisp and flavorsome without adding any dryness to the rest of the fillet. Midway though my salmon-hallelujah moment, I had to take a click of my salmon to show you exactly what I mean:
The teriyaki sauce and pickled cucumber were hardly eaten. I was way too excited about the salmon, just by itself.
Hubby went for the ‘6-Hour Smoked Beef Chuck Rib & Slaw’.
Smothered in a special barbecue sauce made in-house, the 6 hour cooking time really paid off for the divinely soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture of the beef. If you love beef ribs, Fume’s is a must-try dish.
Accompanying our mains was a plate of ‘Grilled Portobello Mushroom’ , ‘Garlic Ponzu Butter Punkie Carrots’ and ‘Stir-fried Buck Choy’. This variety itself is a testament of Fume’s international stance at modern fusion cooking.
The ‘Grilled Portobello Mushroom’ sits on a pool of flavorful gravy and loaded with a whole pile of roasted garlic. The tender mushrooms were a great accompaniment with both the salmon and the ribs.
And how ‘punky’ are the ‘Garlic Ponzu Butter Punkie Carrots’?!
Resembling an unusually exotic bouquet, these tender roasted carrots are served in a butter sauce that has been accentuated with the characteristic flavor of ‘Ponzu’, a dark citrus-based sauce often used in Japanese cooking. The dish is garnished with deep-fried spinach, an appetizer often served with a Chinese meal. What a clever play of international flavors!
The buck choy was in comparison a far simpler dish when compared to the other two accompaniments, and it was a light and tasty break from all this over-eating!
While having our mains, we were greeted by the very friendly Head Chef of Fume, Pier 7, Dragan Susa. Interesting how ‘Fume’ has a Head Chef who’s name closely resembles that of the mythical fire-breathing beast!
Chef Dragan hails from Croatia, but loves infusing world cuisines together. Humble with a true passion for the kitchen, he also enjoys doing table visits to get direct feedback on his creations from his guests.
Fume comes under the umbrella of the JAS Hospitality Group, and I also had the pleasure of interviewing their newly appointed Head of Culinary, Chef Emiliano Bernasconi . Read all about it on this link.
Finally it was time for my favorite course, desserts!
If rustic home-style cooking is what Fume is aiming for, they’ve hit the nail on the head with their gorgeous ‘Warm Apple Pie with Ice-Cream’.
The apple filling is warm and moist and loaded with the traditional goodness of cinnamon flavor. The pie crust itself is beautifully buttery and crumbles in the mouth. The melting scoop of ice-cream is more of a French vanilla than the usual vanilla variety, and is a cooling accompaniment with this rich, traditional treat.
The second dessert was more quirky than traditional. Falling under Fume’s selection of ‘Naked Jars’, this is essentially a deconstructed chocolate mousse served in an adorably cute airtight glass jar.
The mousse is made of deep, dark chocolate and flavored with the characteristic zest of orange. A tiny jar of candied orange peel accompanies the dessert for those who want more of that orange zing.
Overall, Fume at Pier 7 is an experience in itself. With a quirky take on modern-day international cuisine, the restaurant offers great food in a wonderfully vibrant ambiance. When dining at Fume, I highly recommend grabbing a table with a view of the Dubai Marina. It’s simply magical!
Apart from the main dining area, Fume at Pier 7 also has a cafe set-up and a fully licensed bar area. This ‘neighborhood eatery’ has everyone covered!
For more information on Fume at Pier 7, call 04 4215669. They also have another branch at Manzil, Downtown Dubai.