A brilliant brunch for seafood fans who love Asian flavours

Catch Image #2

A fifteen-course brunch you say? Bring it on, say we. While that might sound like a ridiculous amount of food to consume, anyone who’s had the chance to dine on Catch’s superb seafood should be banging down the door to get into this feast. As it is, we’re one of only a handful of tables, which as you’re about to find out, is a crying shame.

Catch is a stunning venue, with a super-stylish dining room, an incredible outdoor terrace overlooking the sea, and a swanky rootop bar and lounge (where the after-brunch party takes place). We’re won over by it as soon as we step inside, and despite the quiet afternoon, the atmosphere never feels staid, in fact the funky music from the DJ and the truly excellent service make the whole experience very pleasurable indeed.

It helps that the food is absolutely amazing (barring a couple of very rare missteps). While the blurb says there will be 15 courses, for this you can read ‘sharing plates’ and, though we eventually lose count, there’s actually about 18. Much more food than anyone really needs on a Friday afternoon, but we’re definitely not complaining.

First off, the packages are great value and explained clearly – it might sound like an obvious thing, and it’s one we mention regularly, but being able to see exactly what drinks are included in each package makes brunch much easier to navigate, and often its the soft drinks option that is most difficult to do so with. Happily, here the soft drinks, juices and mocktails are itemised. The house package includes all of the above plus mixed drinks, hops and grape and sparkling, and there’s a premium package that adds bubbly to all of that. If only other brunches made it this easy. Our waitress also leaves us with one of the menus so we can remind ourselves of what’s coming and what other drinks we can order. Why most restaurants insist on stealing them away from you, we’ll never know.

On to the food then, which begins with edamame (better than average), yellow tail carpaccio, fried calamari and vegetable gyoza. It all looks pretty as a picture and tastes just as good. The calamari is on a par with any we’ve had anywhere, rivalling Zuma’s.

The miso soup knocks spots off pretty much every one we’ve ever had, an Asian-style salad with a black radish and jalapeño dressing is ace and the braised short rib is lifted from its usual one-note flavour by pairing it perfectly with pomelo and pickled carrot.

The spicy salmon and blow-torched crab rolls are both fantastic and come with freshly grated wasabi, a nice extra touch that shows the restaurant really cares about the finer details. The second course has an okay burrata salad (made better by super tomatoes) and is rounded off by crab and avocado burgers served on squid ink buns. Very modish but also very tasty.

Of the mains, the miso salmon with bok choi and tomato and grilled prawns topped with edamame and ginger purée and kimchee lemon butter sauce are the highlights, with the prawns stealing the show. Grilled beef with yam purée and baby chicken with yuzu mashed potato only go to prove that seafood is where Catch excels. Both are perhaps too heavy to be courses number 14 and 15.

We bravely attempt a trio of desserts, of which the chocolate fondant is the standout.
Excellent food, an impressive setting, brilliant service, value for money and good vibes, this is what brunches are made for.
Dhs255 (soft drinks), Dhs370 (house beverages), Dhs419 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Catch Restaurant & Lounge, Nation Riviera, Corniche West (02 611 0909).

A brilliant brunch for seafood fans who love Asian flavours

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