Seafood is an essential staple in the UAE diet. For a naturally arid country, the sea became a source of life and sustenance for early settlers.
Fast-forward to the present and marine treats have managed to hold their place on the dining table here. Not convinced? Check out Off the Hook in Deira.
Offering casual and no-frills dining, the Filipino-owned restaurant – which opened in January after enjoying success in Abu Dhabi – carries a seafood selection sourced locally and abroad. But the real catch is the experience.
Food is served boodle fight-style dining, which is a favourite among the Filipinos. Fun trivia: boodle fight originated in the Philippine military, with soldiers traditionally eating together using bare hands and sharing their food as symbol of solidarity.
This translates to our table being handed disposable aprons and gloves, as we ditch utensils in favour of our hands throughout the meal.
Four set options are available, priced between AED 69 and AED 499. A trio bucket meal for AED 139 is good for a small group and comes with unlimited rice and bottomless citrus soda.
Once we’ve chosen our catch – crab, shrimps, mussels, corn on the cob and crab balls – it’s bundled inside a plastic bag, swimming splendidly in OTH special sauce (diners can have five sauce options; OTH Special, lemon pepper, garlic butter, olive and herbs, and curry and chilli), and poured on the centre of the table so everyone can share.
With great anticipation, we pick, crack and de-shell the seafood in front of us, devouring every piece. What’s more, the steady stream of plain rice makes sure we’re not left hanging as we meticulously comb through the shells for more crab meat, made tastier by the spicy-garlicky flavour of the sauce.
In total, the entire meal and experience perfectly lives up the restaurant’s persona: unpretentious, flavourful and hearty. We are hooked, and a repeat visit is already in the diary.
Dubai Week dined as a guest of the venue.