Ever since our first dining experience at Catch, we can’t seem to get enough of this seafood restaurant perched on the edge of the Arabian Gulf. Catch in itself is a rarity and represents one the few restaurants in the capital that offers exceptional food and atmosphere while understanding the needs of the customer at a service level.
Following our initial meal at Catch, we hoped the restaurant would launch a Friday brunch and with the arrival of a new season, it seems our prayers have finally been answered. Aiming to elevate the brunch experience, the Catch Friday brunch offers fifteen of Chef Roudy Petersen’s dishes served directly to the table, accompanied by a selection of signature cocktails and those inescapable beachfront views.
In keeping with their fine-dining approach, the Catch brunch makes for a sophisticated affair and one suited more to couples and small groups than the party crowd. For the emphasis lies firmly on the food as opposed to the beverage side of things. Arriving a little after 12:30pm the restaurant is alive with a soundtrack of ambient dance music. In daylight Catch looks best; sleek lines, brilliant whites, an abundance of natural light and a sparing use of glass, make for a venue that exudes class. While the use of driftwood and fish scale textures as decorative touches, help to subtly enhance the seafood theme.
While the usual beverage options of beer (Peroni Nastro Azzurro) and wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, or Cabernet Sauvignon) are offered, we would suggest you opt for one of the three signature cocktails – you are at the beach after all! Usually not the biggest fans of gin, we found the Peach Collins with its blend of white peach. elderflower and lemon to be a stirling choice, though the flavoured mojitos were also pretty good.
With the bar set so high during our previous visits. We weren’t entirely sure how the Catch brunch would manage to balance it’s obviously high-quality ingredients against a very reasonable price tag (brunch packages start from AED 219++). We believe the fact it’s a table brunch (less wastage) and the restrained portions are certainly key factors but the real success lies in Chef Petersen’s ability to transform even the simplest of ingredients into clean plates of immaculate presentation and bold flavours.
Brunch starts simply with salted edamame and fried banana chips, the latter containing the mildest hint of curry to tickle your taste buds. Then it’s onto the small plates. A fried calamari presented in a seashell and coated in Szechuan pepper and coriander is a pleasing dish of crisp texture that isn’t afraid to go bold with the seasoning, while successfully managing to avoid the all-too-common pitfalls of dryness and chewiness.
As huge fans of dim sum (we will always order it if it’s on a menu) the Shanghai dumplings were an absolute delight. Steamed pockets of Chinese wild mushrooms and bamboo shoots present the subtlest of Asian flavours and the absence of meat is barely noted. Our favourite of the small bites had to be the Seabass Ceviche, which marks a scaled-back portion of the signature dish available when dining a la carte. The dish is presented like an abstract work of art, in which the sea bass has been rolled amongst pickled onion, chunks of sweet potato and garnished with edible flowers and a bell pepper dressing. It’s a showcase for balancing flavour without overpowering the fish.
Next up are the appetisers which include an Asian Mixed salad comprising fresh greens with a black radish and jalapeno dressing and a Quinoa Salad of watermelon and feta mixed in with the aforementioned trending superfood. There’s also a burrata cheese which is (thankfully) kept simple with a sparing decoration of cherry tomatoes, meaning there’s nothing to detract from the creamy nature of the burrata.
We’re soon treated to a platter of Catch’s signature sushi, made up of two varieties. A spicy salmon roll with wasabi, scallion and lime and a vegetarian roll of shitake mushrooms, avocado and a yuzu chilli. The sushi has always been one of Catch’s strong points and those served at the brunch are no different. Though the element of grating the wasabi root at the table, which forms a big part of dining a la carte, is sadly missing.
Part of the reason the Catch brunch works so well is that it provides diners with the opportunity to sample some of the restaurant’s signatures in the hopes of enticing them into return visits . When you’re offering dishes such as the Wagyu Beef Tacos and the Crab Burger, then the prospect of repeat business seems almost guaranteed. These were (for us) the highlights of the brunch, with the crab cake burger, with its squid ink bun, avocado tartar and fiery sauce offering exceptional flavours. In comparison, the tacos may not look like much, but a combination of sweet and spice to the Wagyu works wonders on the palette and elevates the dish to more than just street food.
Whereas many a brunch will offer you a choice of main courses, at Catch you get to try four of them. It’s a great stance on the sharing concept and allows diners to sample a little bit of everything. For seafood lovers, we’d recommend the jumbo prawns, stuffed with a ginger and edamame puree and topped with a lemon butter foam. Keeping with the Asian flavours, the salmon miso with sauteed bok choy hits all the right notes of sweetness while still remaining perfectly soft and flaky.
Catch isn’t all about seafood and the needs of both carnivores and vegetarians are well catered to in this brunch. The main courses also include a BBQ corn fed baby chicken, which our dining partner described as “some of the best chicken he’s ever had.” Again it’s the simplicity that shines through and shows that attention to detail in the cookery techniques and a good quality product is all you need. Similarly, the Grilled Wagyu Beef works wonders, presenting thick slices of pink Wagyu, complemented by the textures of al dente beans and a soft yam puree. Yet it’s the aromatics of the truffle jus that make this dish memorable.
Desserts continue the high standards and we’re treated to a molecular show with the arrival of mochi ice creams through billows of smoke, before moving through plates of fresh fruits, a zesty Pineapple Cheesecake and yet more ice cream (traditional this time) but with unique flavour combinations like as vanilla and wasabi.
It would appear as though the best is saved until last, as we dive into a perfectly cooked chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream and a gold crumb. Helpinh to emphasise the decadent nature of this brunch.
We can’t convey how excited we are with the notion of the Catch brunch and truly believe it’s the kind of brunch that Abu Dhabians has been looking for. It’s an occasion to get dressed up for and a brunch to wow visitors from out of town. While we did find the pacing slightly off, with dishes arriving too quickly at the beginning, before finding a rhythm with the main courses and desserts, we also found the service (though attentive) to be lacking the personal touch and engagement we’ve received during previous visits.
While we did find the pacing slightly off, with dishes arriving too quickly at the beginning, before finding a rhythm with the main courses and desserts. We also found the service (though attentive) to be lacking the personal touch and engagement we’ve received during previous visits.
Thankfully, Chef Petersen was on hand to ensure the smooth running of the operation and entertain diners with his humble charm. As one of the best culinary talents in the city, the Catch brunch works as a showcase for his cuisine, blending superfoods, with a hint of Asia, a strong emphasis on seafood and plating that can only be described as “gourmet artistry.”
We were invited to dine at Catch. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.