July 24, 2016 / Leave a Comment
Today I found myself grappling with a problem most Dubai residents will be familiar with – where to take guests when they visit to dine. Somewhere with good food, a good view, and prices that won’t make your visitors cry when they convert it to their local currency.
Breakfast is by no means my favourite meal of the day, so given that I think of Pier 7 as having a cool view for visitors, after a bit of research I led us off to check out the new breakfast at Fume. There was no breakfast menu online yet – a bit of a pain, so we were going in blind – but hey, I was feeling moderately adventurous.
One thing I quickly realised is that Pier 7 views just don’t have the same impact during the day, especially from the first floor. It really comes into it’s own as an evening spot, and I’ll make sure I mentally file that fact for later. We were the only table dining, but to be fair, it looks like they only started doing breakfast three weeks ago. I find Pier 7 a bit of a mission to get to, so I’m not sure breakfast is really the ideal meal to be pushing here – I can understand making more effort for those night views, but I felt it wasn’t worth the hassle for breakfast.
The menu didn’t pull any punches – mostly egg based options, typical big breakfast style dishes and a small sweet selection too – waffles, muesli, pancakes. I have to admit nothing really excited me from reading the menu, though there were quite a few spelling mistakes to keep me entertained (
quick plug: did you know I offer menu proofing services for restaurants to avoid this embarrassment?), so it was a bit of a laboured decision when it came to ordering.
What we ordered…
The Fume Pan – 78
Two fried eggs, real hash brown, mushrooms, homemade veal & chicken sausage, smoked veal bacon, slow roasted tomatoes with our baked beans & sourdough.
Lotus Pancake – 45
Lavish Chantilly cream, caramelised banana
Also ordered by the table…
Salmon with eggs & eggs – 55
House smoked Norwegian salmon, scrambled eggs, salmon caviar, avocado, chives, rocket on sourdough
Arabic breakfast – 48
Shakshouka, poached eggs, harissa, smoked eggplant salad, labneh, sourdough
The Fume Pan is the Pier 7’s smokehouse’s take on the classic big breakfast, served in a giant pan. This plating definitely looked great, but made my husband wince with the noise of metal on metal when I attempted to eat out of it. The bacon was the highlight of the dish, and the sausages were also good, but the other components weren’t outstanding. The mushroom, tomato and hash were all very garlicky and the visitors commented that it needed more cohesion, it felt like just a whole lot of individually grilled items arranged in a pan. The baked beans read as made in house from the menu description, but from tasting them I thought they were out of a can. If not, they’ve certainly put in a lot of effort to make them taste like they come out of a can, which would be a tad heartbreaking.
The Lotus Pancake stood out to me hence it made it on to the order – Lotus biscuit dishes seem to be so hot right now around town, popping up on menus left right and centre. (For those like myself who aren’t familiar with this biscuit, it’s a bit like a malt biscuit.) It turns out this dish was actually pancakes plural, three to be precise, and a pretty large serving. Add a heaping of Chantilly cream, Lotus crumbs and peanut caramel lotus sauce and this was a force to be reckoned with. Hello diabetes. Oh, there was a token piece of fruit atop the sugary pile in the form of half a banana – that sadly had a giant bruise front and centre. Being that we were the only diners, surely there was more than half of one bruised banana in the kitchen to choose from? Really unappealing, which is a shame as the dish looks pretty darn good on the whole.
I don’t think this dish really belongs on a breakfast menu, more a dessert menu perhaps, given how intensely sweet and indulgent it is. Luckily the entire table helped out with eating this, as I think after about three bites I was at sweetness saturation level. It was definitely tasty though, so I’d definitely recommend this one for dessert fiends and Lotus freaks. I think it might have been our visitors’ favourite of the bunch.
The Arabic Breakfast got a lukewarm response from the guest diners but didn’t seem to inspire any fanfare – they really didn’t have much to say about it apart from that they would have liked more spice and punch to the dish. The verdict on the smoothies was that were that they were delicious but so thick they were almost ice cream-like in texture and they would have liked them to be thinner for ease of drinking.
The Salmon with Eggs & Eggs was rated by our guest as ‘very nice’ – they also commented that it was a very large serving. I suppose those attributes together are a good combination! If quantity is your thing, you’ll love this dish – so mountainous a serving in fact that our guest didn’t even manage to demolish half of this hefty portion.
Breakfast is an easy service to just roll out the old favourites to try and generate more revenue from your restaurant. I’d like to see Fume inject some more of their personality into the breakfast options and make the menu more unique – otherwise it’s just a stock standard menu you can get anywhere. Why would you make the effort to head to Pier 7 for what you can have somewhere with less parking hassles? Even the Korean Bao that was written in chalk on a nearby pier sounded much more interesting than what we had to choose from. If you’re a smokehouse, make the most of it and inject more meat into the breakfast menu instead of relying so heavily on eggs. I’d love to shake this menu up and give it some attitude, something that would make me happily make a special trip – I can think of plenty of ways they could smartly design their breakfast menu to play to their strengths and have more of a signature. It will be interesting to see whether breakfast will be at Fume to stay, and if so how the menu will evolve. It wasn’t bad food, that’s for sure – but it was the far more serious ‘B’ word – boring.