New York Chic Catches Dubai

New York Chic Catches Dubai

Dubai's latest franchise brings a vibe that few trendy spots in the city can boast of. But can its food deliver TO seal the deal?



By Rohit Nair (senior Features Writer)

Published: Fri 12 Jun 2015, 1:02 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Jul 2015, 2:43 PM

It’s fascinating how quickly word that a trendy new place has opened its doors in this fair city spreads. Hardly a month in, and Catch Dubai, at the Fairmont Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road, is packed on a Friday night and bustling. The original New York City place boasts guests like Jay Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna, and you can bet your bottom dirham that they’ll probably grace the Dubai franchise when they’re in town. The why-all-the-hoopla question becomes obvious when you walk in: there’s a palpable buzz reverberating off the post-modern industrial décor embellished with ruby-like burgundy booths, with people discussing their menu options over well crafted drinks, the ubiquitous booth of ladies taking selfies and folks in power suits closing business deals. It’s very NYC meets Dubai — similar, but different from Catch’s NYC and Abu Dhabi outlets. 

One of the things that stands out at Catch is the courteousness of the staff. From the minute my dinner date and I walked in and were greeted by the front desk, to the time we left, the staff was bubbly and accommodating. We were particularly amused by our seating area’s runner, who seemed to appear out of nowhere to clear plates and then disappear just as quickly into the kitchen — sort of like one of those Whac-A-Mole arcade games. But on a more serious note, hyper-efficiency is not always appreciated, especially when you’re hopping aboard the ‘sharing’ concept bandwagon. Note to restaurateurs: please don’t clear the table until everyone is visibly done eating. There, I’ve asked nicely. It’s particularly stark when it’s just a table for two and if one of them is still eating.

The menu, as alluded to before, is the now familiar sharing concept kind and is short and sweet. Our server guided us through the options, after which we decided to start with the Hellfire and DXB sushi rolls, and the Tuna Poke. Now, don’t get me wrong, but the sushi was just par. Personally, there are other places in Dubai I’d go to get my sushi fix, but if you must, the selection at Catch is still very good — just not spectacular. The Tuna Poke, served with raw tuna, avocadoes and macadamia nuts, was fresh and a good way to prepare yourself for the hot starters, of which we tried the Kingfish Tacos, Wagyu on the Rock and the Lobster Rolls.

The Wagyu is, by a long shot, some of the best we’ve had in Dubai, and that’s saying something because it’s weirdly (despite being terribly expensive) rather commonplace here. At the Catch, it arrives on the table on a little hotplate, so you can cook it to your preference — a couple of seconds on each side should do it, any more and you might as well have not ordered it in the first place — dip it into the teriyaki sauce and devour. The meat just melts in your mouth with a buttery consistency. Seriously, do not cook this meat beyond medium-rare! The Lobster Rolls were delicious, especially the buttered exterior. The lobster filling was pretty good too, but we weren’t particularly blown away by it. The Kingfish Tacos were delicious and we were pleasantly surprised to see kingfish being used in tacos. Kudos!

We decided to get the Wagyu Short Ribs for our shared entrée, paired with Parmesan Truffle Fries. This was by far the best thing we’d eaten that night — I may have even found my favourite fries in Dubai. The meat was cooked and seasoned perfectly with hoisin sauce; wonderfully flavourful and smokey. I was a little taken aback that they cleared our table the minute we put our forks down on the empty ribs plate, even though I was still picking at the fries (see previous note) and I hope that other diners weren’t deprived the same way.

For dessert, we decided to try the one called ‘Hit Me’. Of all the desserts in Dubai, this is definitely one of the most obscene, right up there in the league of some of those grotesquely huge cheesecakes at you know which factory. It’s sickeningly sweet — not in a decadent way — and we struggled to make any noticeable dent in the layers of ice-cream, caramel and brownies. We were happy to let them clear the table then.

Catch Dubai is a good option for a night out, especially when you’ve got friends to split the bill with. It can be rather pricey — that’s the catch (ahem) — like the Surf ‘n’ Turf option of the Cantonese Lobster which runs up to nearly Dh1,000. Perhaps, that’s the price you pay for being trendy. Then again, what’s Dh1,000 between trendy friends?

rohit@khaleejtimes.com

 


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