I am certain most of you aware of this well-known portacabin structure of a seafood restaurant run by South Indian ex-fishermen and current self-trained seafood chefs who fry up a storm using the fresh catch of the day from the shores of UAE.
Bu Qtair, located in Jumeirah, Dubai is a struggle to find on your first visit, but a trusty Good Map pin never fails nor the line of cars to the self-entitled seafood shack.
For most residents and the flock of tourists who are used to the glamorous dining experience or the misconceptions of gold-plated serving platters , Bu Qtair is an out of the norm and truly surprising experience, for all.
A few tips on what to expect when dining at Bu Qtair as normal or usual dining etiquette do not apply. You’ve been warned!
- Do not expect a grand greeting at the entrance – it is essentially an open air set up with little or no warm welcome as the limited servers are busy in the kitchen or serving the magnitude of customers. Bu Qtair tends to get busy past 8 PM, mainly due to the restaurant being a tourist attraction or a late night diners paradise.
No fancy seating, expect plastic tables and colored chairs that are tiny but offer just the right comfort for a limited amount time.
First, one must place an order inside the shack set-up by choosing the fresh catch of the day. The fresh seafood is pre-applied with a bright red fish masala or marinade. The cost of your meal dependent on the weight (usually weighed in kilograms) of the seafood and the menu differs according to catch of the day. Most often, the seafood menu comprises of sheri fish, shrimps, prawns and other local fish.
- Once the order has been placed, you are asked to leave your name with one of the Bu Qtair men, clad in a white outfit, who signals you to your seat once available.
A young man will yell your name out loud, which I have noticed is most often written in Malayalam,
the mother tongue of Kerealites, so do not be surprised if your name is pronounced in a whole new way which is surprising to your ears. Ha!
Respond to your order and watch as the freshly caught and marinated flavorsome seafood with its crisp fried exterior is placed on your table with sliced onion and lemon. In addition, do not expect any utensils and ladies, if you are worried about your manicure then get your own utensils. It’s all about digging in with your fingers to dine at Bu Qtair.
One can place an order for a condiment such as a Kerala style flat bread; porotta or plain basmati rice that is meant to compliment the meal and provide a wholesome experience along with simplistic gravy, if you fancy a little curry with the meal. The only drinks available are water, aerated drinks and tea, mainly karak chai.
Personally the experience was not exceptional as being Indian and my not-so frequent travels to India, I have had the pleasure of dining in a similar setting that is fairly common, especially in Goa, the party state of India where a seafood shack is present on most of the beaches and is part of the Goan well as the Magalorean lifestyle, since the coastal waters provide a fresh catch daily and the same can be experienced in the state of Kerela. Nonetheless, for Dubai it is truly a one of a kind budget experience.
Bu Qtair Restaurant
Street 2D, Jumeirah, Dubai
055 705 2130