The Copper Lobster has been on our radar for the best part of a year and a recent weekend staycation in Dibba meant we finally got to dine at the Fairmont Fujairah’s seafood-inspired restaurant that makes for an easy contender as best restaurant in the Northern Emirates.
Having visited the Emirate of Fujairah a number of times during our half-decade in the UAE it has often surprised us that with the number of five-star properties dotting the untouched coastline of the Gulf Of Oman, dining options are limited, especially when it comes to fine dining. The Copper Lobster looks to change the dining landscape of the Emirate, taking the concept of San Fransico’s Fisherman’s Wharf and adapting it for the Gulf.
Named after the locally found rock lobster which is said to emanate a unique glow, the restaurant only opens during the evenings, with guests greeted by a lively outdoor terrace complete with live musical performances on weekends. Stepping inside, diners are presented with a market-style counter containing fresh catch of the day, sourced from the local fisherman in Dibba mere hours before dinner service. The Copper Lobster is a restaurant with a vision and sustainability is high on the list with over 90% of the seafood sourced locally. Tanks of beady-eyed Canadian Lobsters (Omani lobsters are also available) make for one of the few exceptions.
Executive Chef Giovanni Pugliano and the team at The Copper Lobster should be commended for championing locally sourced produce including Dibba Bay Oysters from the first oyster farm in the Middle East to grow gourmet oysters for the home market, ensuring an unpresscedented sea to table experience in the process.
It doesn’t end with the seafood, as we discover a small herb garden and as we indulge in a Capsiano cocktail (rum, grenadine, lime and white truffle oil), we’re informed the red bell peppers forming the main component of the drink have been sourced from the palace gardens of his Highness Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. These small but significant elements heighten the sense of the community of the Northern Emirates and emphasise Rhe Copper Lobster as a special restaurant and one that’s not afraid to be different.
Impressed by the mixology on display, we soon explore the restaurant’s interiors. The theme is distinctly nautical with fish skeletons imprinted on the back wall and light fittings made from traditional lobster pots. Fisherman’s ropes have been knotted to form a central mural, while a private dining room accomodating up to ten guests in available for hire.
We truly appreciated the concise menu which allows the locally selected seafood to shine through. Diners can expect appetisers from a selection of soups, hot plates and the raw bar, with the TCL Mac & Cheese and the Poke looking partucularly strong. We select the Sultan Ibrahim Ceviche (AED 75) a dish of locally sourced Sultain Ibrrahim fish served in a dish resembling a sea-worn pebble. Marinated with a zesty yuzu tigers milk and adorned with squid ink tapioca chips and squirts of passion fruit gel, the chips bring texture while the passion fruit injects a beautiful sweetness into the acidic yuzu in a dish that’s generousluy portioned and one we wouldn’t hesitate to order again.
Main courses revolve around steaks and carefully selected seafood staples and while the lobster certainly looks appealing, we’re swayed into trying the local catch of the day, Sultan Ibrahim (AED 135) and the Chermoula Jumbo King Prawns (AED 145). Three plump prawns arrive slathered in a vibrant green Chermoula, a traditonal relish for seafood commonly found in Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. It’s an exciting nod to the the Arabic influence in North Africa and a stirling showcase for the culinary expertise of the kitchen team at The Copper Lobster.
The local catch of the day is a far more simplistic offering, with the Sultan Ibrahim lightly cooked upon the charcoal grill to bring additional flavour and a nice crunch to the skin. The flesh glides easily from the small bones and complements the sides of rich Spinach & Fontina (AED 25) and Garlic Fries (AED 25), though the fries are a touch too salty.
A sign of a good resraurant is the ability to leave the customer with a feeling of wanting to return and the menu at The Copper Lobster has us eagerly planing a future visit to sample the Fujairah Clay Pot Harra Lobster. Where the crustaceans cooked in a traditonal Arabic clay pot from the popular Masafi Friday Market, alongside a spicy sauce of tomato, garlic, cumin, coriander and lemon.
There’s little doubt The Copper Lobster makes for an exceptional dining experience with staff offering affable service and a strong passion for the menu. Our one suggestion would be to add a few more desserts. Of the three options currently available only one appealed to us, TCL Chocolate Fondant (AED 40). The dessert didn’t dissapoint with an impressive ‘ooze’ and we could’ve easily mistaken the plating for that of Chef Roudy Petersen from Abu Dhabi’s Catch. The fondant sites upon a huge chocolate swirl upon, alongside milk ice cream, salted caramel butter and caramelized hazelnut.
Having waited a year to dine at The Copper Lobster our expectations were met and perhaps even surpassed. It’s a smart move on behalf of the Fairmont Fujairah to open a fine dining establishment and one that succesfully delivers via a combination of strong service, exceptionally fresh seafood and audacious mixology. Though the signature Copper Lobster cocktail blending together tequila and lobster essence may be an ambitious step too far by talented Mixologist Alexander Khvastunov!
The Copper lobster cements itself as THE special occasion restaurant in the Northern Emirates and as a nod to Fujairah’s seafaring history, it’s worth the mountainous drive from Dubai for dinner. We will definitley return next time we’re on the East Coast.
Location: Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort, Dibba, Fujairah
Social: Instagram / Facebook
Hours: 7:30pm – 11:30pm (closed on Mondays)
Phone: 09 204 1111
Out & About UAE were guests of Copper Lobster. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.