A globetrotting diner serves up sleek, worldly fare 6 Reviews
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I must admit, when I saw the menu at Fazaris, the all-day dining venture at newly opened The Address hotel, I was petrified – 12 pages of hyper-international food offerings told me this was a place that was going to please no one in its quest to please everyone. Tajine, sushi, mee goreng and vindaloo all vied for my attention, and nothing on the menu revealed itself as a speciality.
Relief came in the form of warm, freshly baked rolls of bread – some of the best I’ve sampled in all of Dubai (I was particularly smitten with a soft, airy sun-dried tomato roll). Perhaps I owe it to this mini carb-feast that my dining companion and I were ultimately able to concentrate our thoughts enough to place an order.
Unfortunately, the starter of saki-marinated octopus skewers that I was eyeing was not available, so I opted for the much artier (and hence, scarier) sounding crustacean bisque with coconut foam. It was the kind of dish that could be delicious, or, alternately, over-conceived and heinous. This rendition fell somewhere in between. While the accompanying crab tortellini was succulent and tender, the broth was over-salted and had the grainy texture and sharp taste of a ginger snap. Furthermore, the coconut foam was oddly indistinct, lacking both the sweet and nutty notes the fruit is known for.
The chef’s love affair with the salt shaker became all the more frustrating when the only thing that blocked a plump order of seared scallops, which were sweet and melting, from utter perfection was the accompaniment of an over-salted imam biyaldi (a Turkish aubergine and tomato mash). Meanwhile, my companion’s vegetarian mee goreng (a smoky, noodle dish from the Southeast Asian portion of the menu) lacked much in the way of seasoning. Though it did have a sweet, caramelised effect, the main was completely lacking in spice (an inauthentic touch, claimed my mate, who had spent time in Malaysia). Also, for vegetarian fare, it boasted very few vegetables.
Perhaps the best seasoned and most successful dish of the evening came in the form of a oven-roasted chicken marinated in preserved lemons and olives. Underneath the bird lay a potato baklava – buttery mash imbedded in a crispy filo crust – on top lay a light mint salad that complimented the marinade beautifully. The only flaw in this dish was that the chicken itself could have been juicier and more tender.
The service through to the main course had been quick and attentive, though it slowed down a bit as we started to get inklings of ordering dessert. With the time afforded us, we took in the room, which was too big and too bright for a proper romantic evening out. The terrace, however, was breath-taking: tables were spaced near a modernist waterfall (sleek and low to the ground) and overlooked the grandstanding – and record-breaking – Burj Dubai.
Eventually, the waiter dropped by to give us the menu. My date buckled at the thought of three different textures of chocolate, which came out as a dozen different ‘textures’ or items served on a massive block of pure Michel Cluizel chocolate. Of the pieces on her block, the most interesting were a delicate scoop of white chocolate ice cream, a chocolate and earl grey soup, and two chocolate mousses fitted on top of a chocolate brownie (they even managed to include a mini chocolate fondue). When she ate as much as she could, the waitress asked her if she would like the hefty chocolate block wrapped to go. I, meanwhile, was enjoying a much lighter combo of blackberries, cream cheese mousse and lemon sorbet. Again, perfection was marred by the fact that the blackberries had an oddly synthetic taste to them.
This near perfection was a problem at Fazaris. The issue, really, is that it was silly yet serious details that threatened to undo some otherwise well worked dishes, obstacles that could have been easily avoided. And while I wouldn’t claim the food here to be groundbreaking, I would say it is, by and large, good, solid fare.
The bill (for two)
1x Large Evian water Dhs26
1x Seared scallops Dhs85
1x Crustacean bisque Dhs65
1x Vegetarian mee goreng Dhs70
1x Roast chicken Dhs110
1x Chocolate textures Dhs75
1x Blackberry Dhs55
Total (including service) Dhs486
Time Out Dubai,
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