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Debonair’s resident epicurean dines at Flavio Briatore’s Crazy Fish, where things get lemony
Eduan R. Maggo
“That’s the most lemony lemon I’ve ever tasted,” has to be one of the strangest food-related utterances I’ve heard around the dinner table. In this case, however, there was no better way to describe it.
This gem of a fruit — squeezed over a lightly battered seabass — provided the citrusiest flavour I can remember. It should come as no surprise that we’re at Crazy Fish, an Italian restaurant that places the focus squarely on the freshness of its produce.
The lemon in question, we’re proudly informed, is of the Sorrento variety — its full-bodied qualities in perfect harmony with the seafood it serves. Of course, even if you didn’t know it chances are you’ve tasted it — it’s predominantly used in limoncello. Subservient yet not dominated, it played a recurring role throughout the evening.
Rather fittingly, the restaurant takes a decidedly Mediterranean approach. The raw fish bar at the entrance strikes a marketplace feel, a not-too-subtle suggestion at what to expect: the seafood is all from the Mediterranean Sea, and wild as opposed to farmed. Ingredients are treated with a light hand, so as to not obscure the inherent flavour in the fish.
Take the langoustine carpaccio, for example — a drizzle of golden olive oil, a sprinkling of pink salt, with a few peppercorns providing spicy bursts. This is offset by a prawn version with strong sweet notes, and robust raw tuna presented over with earthy, rustic crushed potatoes.
The one dish where this philosophy veers a tad off course is with eggplant rolls stuffed with king prawns and Parmesan — an interesting exercise, but the seafood gets lost. More successful is a dish featuring thin slices of tuna, quickly pan seared and served with rocket, cherry tomatoes and black olives; the combination of flavours play well off each other.
It’s refreshing how comfortably Crazy Fish marries white tablecloths with a very casual take on fried bites — calamari, squid rings and the seabass mentioned earlier is even served on brown paper. The ubiquitous tartate and that heavenly lemon complete things.
The pasta course is as confidently simple — eggy tagliolini, rich and deep yellow, is combined with plump cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and poached snapper. Executive chef Franco Blois handles the rustic elements delicately, for an elegant yet homey dish.
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The mix and assemble the tiramisu tableside, and although practically faultless it’s overshadowed by humble sorbet and ice cream. Only here it’s anything but humble — it’s served south Italian style: stuffed inside the shells of its parent fruit. As with the lemon, this seems to enhance the flavour of the filling — strawberry, chestnut, peanut and walnut more intense than expected. A true revelation.
Interestingly, Crazy Fish is the brainchild of colourful Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, so expectations are naturally high.
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