Kim’s Singapore Seafood could possibly be the best Singaporean restaurant in Dubai. I certainly think it is. Located a short hunt away from London Dairy ice cream parlour in the old quarter of Meraas’s Al Seef in Umm Hurair, Kim’s interior (including its understated bar) draws on elements and motifs of Singaporean society to create a warm, homely, believable ambiance. Interestingly I felt more of a down-to-earth street vibe rather than that sometimes OTT Singapore bling thing we got a glimpse of in Crazy Rich Asians. Perhaps that’s why I felt instantly comfortable when I walked in. There’s a lovely terrace with a view of the Creek for al fresco dining when the weather permits. This is the first official branch of Kim’s Place Seafood of Singapore open in the Middle East.
The food at Kim’s is sensational. I found that although their Singaporean chef had toned down the spice levels, the flavours were still as vivid as I remember from my trips to Singapore. We started with Fried Clams with Sambal, Salted Egg Squid (a play on their salted egg prawns) and the Homemade Chicken Prawn Roll. Fry anything with sambal and it’ll taste good and fried clams were no different. Sam’s salted egg sauce works better with prawns (and even fish) than it does with squid. The truth is we only asked for this variation because my cousin is allergic to shellfish. Avoid it. The chicken prawn rolls were plump, well cooked and so tasteless they needed to be dredged in dipping sauce to make any sense. Hmm.
We ordered two noodles because we couldn’t agree on one. We did this not knowing Sam’s has a two for one offer on noodles. I ordered Kim’s Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee while my cousin opted for Kim’s version of Singapore Noodles. Both were sensational although, only order the Hokkien mee (fried prawn noodles) if you have a taste for seafood. Our greens were represented by their delicious Sambal Kang Kong, a vegetable I am a sucker for however its cooked.
I don’t know if my cousin, who had taken over ordering because of the years he spent in Singapore, realised that the Chilli Crab cost a whopping AED320! Even if he did, it didn’t stop him for ordering it. Thankfully I found out how much it cost after the meal. If I had known before hand, I would probably have taken that crab home and made love to it. No matter how delicious the (milder than in Singapore) chilli sauce or the little fried buns you get for scooping up the last of the sauce with…320 Dirhams for a single crab is still a lot. It’s even more than what they charge for their lobster. Well, at least I know I did justice to it, eating every last bit…with my hands and licking my fingers for good measure. Was it good? Absolutely. Was it AED320 good? Absolutely not.
The Nonya Style Steamed Red Snapper we had at the very end of our meal was sensational though, a fitting end to our Singaporean feast. We were presented with a perfectly steamed whole fish snuggly blanketed in a hot and sour curry like sauce made from shallots, lemongrass, chilli, galangal, turmeric and assam. It was served with plain white rice as a side which when combined turned into one of those unique Singaporean dishes which tastes Chinese, Indian and Malay all at the same time.
Service at Kim’s is as delicious as its food. We were greeted by a lovely Filipina hostess who showed us in and settled us at our table. Vincer, one of the managers, then came over to help us with our order. Although not Singaporean his knowledge of their menu and cuisine was impressive. Seek him out of you have any trouble.
In general, I found their waiters and servers polite, well trained and a delight to interact with. The whole team were wonderful. Kim’s turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I have no reservations in wholeheartedly recommending this gem of a restaurant and I genuinely can’t wait to go back.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.