Something of a cult favourite for seafood in Dubai, the previous venue of Sea World reopened late last year in the Matloob complex of restaurants off Sheikh Zayed Road. Armed with a pescatarian friend in tow, I decided to visit the restaurant for a seafood fix.

Deceptively small from outside, we found a spacious, Chinese-inspired setting inside, with dark wood panelling and silken lanterns in golden tones. Instead of exploring the menu (there isn’t one), we headed over to the fish counter to explore the latest catch and watch live lobster in the giant tanks behind. The selection was not especially specialist or extensive, but it was good, including sea bream, shaari, scallops, squid and tiger prawns. Unfortunately, there was also, a distinct emphasis on hammour, with this species offered in the ice beds, as well as live from the tank, and sadly no one could tell me what species the ‘local fish’ actually referred to.

Taking the waitress’ suggestions, we chose our selection of fish (comically placed in a shopping trolley), plus our preferred cooking method from the long list available. The waitress was well versed in which cooking methods suited which species, and able to advise us, although no one was giving away the secrets (or even a hint) of what the ‘chef’s special sauce’ or ‘marinated herbs’ contained. We opted for tiger prawns with the chef’s special sauce, sea bream steamed with soy sauce, squid deep fried (calamari-style), and scallops, half cooked marinated in herbs and half in lemon and garlic butter. There weren’t many side dishes on offer, but there was an option to choose a plate of vegetables and then an accompanying sauce, in addition to a couple of rice dishes.

Back to our seats and the food arrived quickly and in stages. The calamari were good. The scallops in lemon and garlic butter were well prepared, while the marinated herbs turned out to be a beautifully fragrant Thai mix that included lemongrass and kaffir lime. The prawns were huge and juicy, and this secret sauce turned out to be a nutty, spicy satay-style mix. The sea bream was the best dish, prepared with plenty of fresh shredded vegetables, ginger and spring onions, expertly de-boned at the table and delicious to eat.

Considering most items were charged by weight, occasional pangs of anxiety hit me throughout the meal as I wondered just how much the giant tiger prawns and sea bream would amount to in dirhams. When the bill came, I was shocked by how reasonable it was, and the experience is highly recommended for an affordable seafood dinner.

The bill (for two)
1x squid Dhs35
1x scallop Dhs95
1x tiger prawn Dhs102
1x seabream Dhs71
1x mixed veg Dhs25
1x large water Dhs6
1x soft drink Dhs6
2x coffee Dhs16
Total (excluding service) Dhs356