Last night we finally made it to the rightfully famed Bu Qtair. Located in Jumeirah 1, on the Kite Beach, this shack is quite the unexpected find, but more in a fascinating than in a sore thumb kind of way. What REALLY excited me about eating here though, was that my favorite celebrity foodie & chef, Anthony Bourdain has been here and he loved it just as much as we did!
We knew we were at the right place as soon as we pulled up; for two reasons: 1. We recognized it from Zomato pictures, and 2. The crowd of both people and cars bore testament to the good food that awaited us.
I must admit, ambiance is a major factor for me and I happily pay premium for the sizzle that comes with the steak. However, the best and most delicious food is usually found in the places that have no frills; they are no nonsense and they mean business. This place was just that. Must. Make. Anthony Bourdain. Proud. Must. Eat. Everywhere. Must. Eat. Everything.
These guys have an efficient system figured out that seems to be working quite well for them. These guys don’t have a menu, they only have one kind of fish, and one kind of shrimps. They can count on one hand everything they have to offer, including sides.
You walk into the order placement area next to the kitchen, pick the size of the fish you’d like, tell them how many grams of shrimp you’d like (minimum being 250 grams), pay, tell them your name and seat yourself on a plastic stool in the waiting area. The said waiting area is right next to the dining area (also plastic stools and tables)- both under open sky. Note that i say you pick your “fish” because they only serve the catch of the day, which is different from day to day!
We were ridiculously famished so we ordered the biggest fish we saw. This set us back AED 95. Add in a quarter kilo of shrimps, and our grand total was AED 133. We would later discover that this wasn’t bad for the quality and freshness of the fish, however, I think it was pricey for street food, but then again, it is Jumeirah, I’m sure they have higher overheads.
When our food was ready (after about a 15-20 minute wait), the guy at the pick up counter (a window in the kitchen wall), screamed M’s name. We raised our hands. A table was promptly cleared and cleaned for us (with a sponge that could easily be home to many bacterial colonies), and our food was brought over to us. With this, we were asked if we’d like rice, bread or paratha. Obviously, deep fried fish and shrimps can’t possibly do enough damage to our arteries, so we asked for three parathas (and later two more. I said we were famished, ok.) You then pay for whatever you choose, as well as for the drinks.
I went into complete trance as soon as I saw the big fish laid out before us, waiting to be dug into, and hence did not manage to take any good pictures. I know, I know 🙁 I feel terrible too. But seriously though, the fish was SO well seasoned, delicious, and deep-fried to crispy PERFECTION. Tear off some paratha, roll up a piece of fish in it, dip it in some of that sambal gravy that it comes with, and forget ALL your problems.
I wasn’t too impressed by the shrimps though. They weren’t that big and weren’t all that delicious either. I’ll pass on those next time I go.
This place would be amazing when the weather gets cooler, although even in this horrid summer, it really was more bearable here than other parts of Dubai as it was right next to the sea. Can’t wait to go back, and will highly recommend it to everyone I know!