Fareast Seafood Market
We dine the Regent Palace 11 Reviews
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It was like the battle scene from the WWII epic Saving Private Ryan, but with seafood instead of soldiers. As a greasy, flesh-flecked fist twisted a flailing leg, a jagged fragment of crab shrapnel sliced through the air and ricocheted off a glass of water with a pristine ‘tink’, sending it hurtling into a plate of chips. Beyond a mass of shattered crab limbs lay a macabre mound of severed heads – shrimp heads to be precise – and a scattered bed of shells and antennae next to a mountain of spent clams. Though there was ample carnage on the table, our furtive hands would not stop twisting, cracking and picking in their frenzied quest for more fresh and juicy morsels of meat. We were getting stuck in at the Fareast Seafood Market, and nothing – but nothing – was going to impede our merciless march.
It had all started so affably. We’d calmly approached the seafood market, which teemed with fishy treats laid out upon crushed ice at the back of the restaurant, beyond tanks and aquaria teeming with somewhat luckier fish. There we politely pointed at whatever tickled our fancy, while a helpful waitress duly shovelled it up and popped it into plastic bags. Aside from the shellfish and crustaceans, there were plump, fresh red snappers to choose from, sea bass and hammour, sylph-like silver pomfret and menacing baby shark. We made our choices in a civilised and respectable manner and returned to our tables to two bowls of seafood soup.
The broth was drastically unspectacular, featuring a smattering of sea offerings in an uninspiring splash of soup, but our minds were fixed stubbornly on the onslaught of seafood to come. When the first plate of calamari rings arrived, we busied ourselves with devouring the soft, pan-seared squid before a huge pile of clams cooked with garlic and onions appeared. We set about removing the tiny and tasty molluscs from their lifelong abodes before a plate of mussels baked with mayonnaise and cheese dominated the table. They were fleshy and substantial, but a little too creamy and sickly to warrant a repeat order. What did deserve an encore, however, was the blue crab.
What once constituted nature’s miraculous assembly of leg, claw, abdomen, cephalothorax, phyllobranchiates and maxillipeds soon became a battered shipwreck of splintered body parts, as we cracked, pulled and yanked our way through the heap of crustaceans. A clutch of corpulent tiger prawns, grilled to perfection, provided a brief diversion from the crabs, before more were ordered, received and then attacked in the same indiscriminate manner. Even the grilled sardines, enlivened in fresh lemon juice, could only wrest our attention from the sweet, soft crabmeat for a matter of minutes.
Sated, but as guilty as war criminals, we surveyed the battlefield for any remaining flesh before finally calling a ceasefire. Not only does the all-you-can-eat promotion at Fareast Seafood Market remain one of the best-value splurges in town, but it also allows you to indulge in your wildest seafood fantasies, regardless of the mess you’ll make. So what’s left to do, but choose your opponents, roll up those sleeves and let battle commence?
By James Brennan
- Previous reviews
- 23 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 09 May,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 05 April,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 30 March,2009- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 12 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 20 September,2006- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 01 January,2002- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
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