The beauty of Dubai does not only come from its high rise buildings and it being the city that never-kinda- sleeps, but it also comes from how you can find utterly relaxing and calm surroundings right at its heart. The Habtoor Grand Hotel, located right around the popular Jumeirah Beach Residence, is one of those examples. My friend and I headed there to enjoy a culinary evening in one of its signature restaurants, The Fish Bazaar (which yes, might sound familiar because it has moved from the long gone Metropolitan hotel).

Greeted by an elephant, a buddha, and a lovely hostess, we opted to sit inside rather than outdoors because A- the weather was too darn cold B- I wouldnt’ve gotten good snaps of my food to share with you lovely people C- who doesn’t love an open-ish kitchen and calm dining?

Although it is said that the restaurant is a THAI seafood one, we found out that the second half of the menu consisted of Chinese cuisine, like it wasn’t hard enough for me to pick plates with only one menu! The lovely hostess saw that we were over our heads trying to decide on what to devour, and informed us that another option was to head over to the sea food counter, pick what we’d like to have, and select from a big board menu (see above) how we’d like to have it cooked and with which sauces. Pretty awesome, right?
So for our starters, we selected four jumbo shrimps, two grilled with garlic and pepper (yang gratiem), and two grilled with Thai herbs (yang samun prai).
I was a bit worried to try the one with the Thai herbs in all honesty, in fear of it being spicy or so, but it was so good and tender, we regretted not having all four of them cooked that way.
However, the garlic and pepper choice was tasty as well, although maybe a bit too salty. While we waited for our mains, I sipped on the “innocent crush”, an unconventional mocktail mix of cucumbers, apple, and watermelon, it was different, and is definitely worth a try.
For our mains, we both chose our dishes to be grilled. My dinner date picked the Red Snapper, with a side of steamed vegetables. We both shared the dish and it still refused to be done. I chose the lobster, which was juicy and succulent, yet it lacked a bit of salt. We also ordered a side of Chinese garlic egg fried rice, yum!
You’d think with all this great food we’d be full and ready to bounce, right? Wrong. I always say it, the stomach has a secret side saved for dessert (at least my stomach is like that!)
We were a bit “meh” about dessert, solely for the fact that there were literally three options on the long long menu, and one of them was icecream! But the waiter then informed us that there have been some new desserts that were yet to be added to the menu, like the grilled(or was it roasted?) banana above, served with ice-cream. The second pick was off the menu, toffee banana, which was an interesting way to end the night with, I liked it.
All in all, it was a good dining experience, the staff was friendly, the ambience was calm (and it was a Friday) and the chef did a good job, well, mostly. The select-your-sea-food-bar was definitely something that made the experience nicer, especially that I got to pick my own lobster out of his tank (sorry Mr. lobster)
Where: Habtoor Grand Hotel
Best for: family dinners
Recommendations: Innocent Crush mocktail, Jumbo prawns with Thai herbs

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