Geales

Indigenous to London’s Notting Hill and Chelsea, Geales neatly fits the British gastro pub model, albeit with a fish-focussed philosophy. Beyond the red pillar box (post box to non-Brits) at the entrance, Geales’ Britishness continues to be proudly displayed inside with union flags on cushions and plates. Amid a mixture of leather and marble primarily in black and white, the space feels sophisticated but understated and laid-back. Aside from cosy posh-pub chairs and booths, you’ll find clever design accents such as fishbone flooring and hexagon patterns mirrored on the ceiling, floor and bar, picking up on the menu’s seafood theme. Fans of English beverages would do well to stop at the outdoor bar before beginning dinner, especially if you prefer your beverages juniper based. Geales has what may well be Dubai’s most comprehensive selection of popular and independent juniper brands, as well as a bar man that can offer some very knowledgeable guidance through that selection. Occupying one side of the restaurant is a large market counter, displaying fresh seafood and fish, from king crab legs and Caribbean lobster, to skate and Dover sole. Here, you can have the specimen of your choice weighed and cooked to your liking. That’s in addition to a menu already dominated by fish and seafood, featuring cold seafood platters for two and upwards, as well as signature fish and chips (made with your choice of fish from the list). Non fish-eaters can however opt for the number of posh comfort food staples on the menu such as steak, roasted half chicken, pies, beef cobbler and burgers (but featuring a lobster recipe). Refreshingly, staff at the market counter were knowledgeable and helpful, offering guidance on the size of fish and preferable cooking methods. The end result, a whole grilled sea bream with lemon butter, proved to be a beautiful dish. Cooked to perfection, the flesh was meaty, moist and moreish, with the creamy but delicately flavoured condiment offsetting the experience. In contrast, the à la carte fish and chips (with haddock) was disappointing. It was also expensive, at Dhs130. While the fish itself was faultless, the batter was unpleasantly oily, lacked crunch and had a synthetic yellow tint to it. Having said that, the other dishes were delightful. The fried calamari starter had pitch-perfect crispiness in the batter, while the squid flesh inside retained a sweet and creamy freshness to it. We also sampled the ‘seaside pick mix,’ which was a plentiful and colourful plate of cold (but cooked) prawns, mussels, clams, baby squid and octopus, lightly dressed in oil and vinegar to make a seafood lover’s dream salad. The ‘rapport’ with the waiters went downhill after an obviously inappropriate moment was chosen to interrupt the table. The attempt to fillet the sea bream at the table was a clumsy affair and took some time. However with practise, these glitches will most probably be ironed out over time. This aside, the rest of the service experience (including from the same waiting staff) was on the money: friendly, warm and knowledgeable. Despite having being open approximately two months already, staff at Geales were keen to emphasise that they had not been open very long. But this modern British spot is already more than able to welcome diners through its doors and if there is more to come, we can expect even greater things on the horizon. The bill (for two) 1x seaside pick Dhs60 1x fried calamari Dhs45 1x whole seabream (market selection) Dhs139 1x haddock fish and chips Dhs130 2x sides Dhs60 1x large water Dhs20 Total (including service) Dhs454

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