The good part of the expat life in the UAE is the opportunities to sample cuisines from diverse lands. Which is what got us to order a meal from Catfish, a West African food concept, with its tagline promising the foodies the healing powers of traditional African ingredients. During a pandemic, there is nothing better than supporting homegrown concepts, so we were quick to select from the Warm Bowls on the menu.
First up was the Dancing Waist bowl, with chicken glazed in honey as the juices ran clear; latter, a sign of well-cooked meat. The glazed salmon in the Talking Drum, with its outside perfectly crisp, worked well with the suya-flavoured corn. Suya is a popular Nigerian spice. Vegetarians’ Wrestlers Choice with tofu (and an option of mushroom) stood out for the mango slaw and smashed avocado as accompaniments.
A portion of Jollof rice, often labelled as a dish that unites West Africa, was part of every bowl. Whilst the overall flavours of the bowls were subtle, it was that of the rice that shone through, with the oh-so-African stamp. The warm spices with a smoky flavour were just what one needed on a cold winter evening. A good surprise was the addition of sautéed amaranth greens in a few bowls (especially since we’ve eaten a lot of kale, recently) and a quick Google search did suggest that the farmer in sub-Saharan Africa rely on the crop. And yes, we did wonder, if the plantain (a type of banana, which in your few bites could be mistaken for sweet potato) could have been baked, and not fried?
Overall, what worked in our favour us was the healthy concept of the meal. With current lifestyles, there is nothing better than consuming a bowl, which does the calculations for us and balances out the nutrition principle with a blend of vegetables, lean protein, carbs, and good fats. Is a plus point that the ingredients are certified organic, and the menu is Gluten, GMO and refined sugar-free; especially for those, with dietary restrictions and choices.
Taste (3): Average, the sad bit for us was that the serving could be mistaken for a bowl meal ordered from just any of the umpteen options on delivery apps.
Ambience (5): You are eating at your own home, in your comfort, safe zone, so yes full marks on that.
Service (3.5): Your meal is a click away. However, since some things are best consumed fresh from the pan, especially, fried plantain, so you’d miss on the crunchy factor here. There was a tad delay in the delivery as well. We're relying heavily on deliveries these days, after all.
Presentation (4): All the packaging is plastic-free, and the bowls are made from sugarcane and are 100% biodegradable.
Value for Money (4): With the price point for the bowls between Dh40 and Dh50, it may appear slightly lavish, but then one bowl would fill you up, amply.