3Fils is a small restaurant located in Jumeirah Fishing Harbor, it's advertised everywhere as Japanese/Asian cuisine, even though there are many Asian elements in their menu, you can also see few European, American and even South American hints here and there in some dishes they have in the menu, we would say it's an Asian Fusion restaurant.
If you follow them on Instagram it's impossible not to feel hungry while scrolling through their feed or watching their stories, each and every post screams "COME EAT HERE!", and then a small whisper "you won't regret it". Here's a summary of our experience at 3Fils.
Getting into the Fishing Harbor was a bit confusing, they have a huge gate right in front, visible as soon as you turn away from Jumeirah road into the small street where it is located, but that's not the entrance, that's the exit and the security guard will tell you to go back a few meters, the actual entrance is the first, kinda hidden and smaller, gate on the right, just before the big one.
After parking, getting to 3Fils is easy, everyone knows about it so anyone can guide you, you'll walk a little bit, which is challenging during summer but given the circumstances (COVID-19, pandemic and everyone locked most of the time) we appreciate every time we can go out of the house and walk a bit no matter how hot and humid it is. The landscape is relaxing, you get to see the sea, a lot of yachts and smaller ships, birds, it's very natural and the setting is perfect for outdoors dinning if mother nature allows, maybe in a few months, when it's less hot and humid.
In the Restaurant
Once we entered the restaurant, we were friendly greeted by their staff, it was empty, maybe because of the time or perhaps because of COVID-19, theres good spacing between tables so that no group is close to each other, the ambience is cozy and a bit dark, it reminds you of an old dining in an old small town fishing harbor, just like in the movies, wooden tables, everything reminds you of a dock.
We got the impression they take safety very seriously, aside of a generous space in between tables, all the staff wears their masks properly, there's also no physical menu, you need to scan a QR code and it will open a website which displays the menu, the process is simple and straightforward, in iPhone you don't need any special app to open it and also the glasses and the plates were hot, which means they were either just taken out from the dishwasher or kept sterile under a heating lamp. Our host came back after a few minutes and prompted us to order, we were more than ready.
- Triple Cooked Chips
- A5 Wagyu Maki
- Dragon Roll
- Crispy Eel
- Sakura Ebi
- Fremantle Octopus
And for drinks:
- A Japanese apple juice for the kid
- Two non-alcoholic beers
Dish by Dish
Triple Cooked Chips
Our trip started here, 6 big potato wedges, served with a spicy BBQ ketchup and a delicious garlic mayo, our waiter warned us it was very hot, and they were, but this is the type of dish you just can't let get cold so we attacked almost immediately, the chips had a super crispy golden crust which turns into a soft and tender texture in the inside as your teeth makes it way through the wedge. Dip it in the BBQ ketchup and you'll add a tangy punch with a sweet ending, dip it in the garlic mayo and you'll get a garlicky flavor with a bit of acidity, both dips are quite addictive, I couldn't get enough of them.
A5 Wagyu Maki
The initial impression of this dish was great, not because of its presentation but because of the amount of black truffle it was topped with. 6 perfectly rolled A5 Wagyu Maki, garnished with Foie Gras and Black Truffle, the beef was very finely chopped and only torched to sear it. As you chew each roll, a flavor party starts in your mouth, first you get the stickiness and sweet flavor of the sushi rice along with the strong flavor of the black truffle, then, as you chew, the sweet and greasy foie grass pops in and once the roll is completely broken, you get the smoky taste of the beef inside. In the end, you'll feel the toasted sesame seeds, I can see it was added to give a bit of texture, otherwise it would be all creamy and sticky, but, in my opinion the taste of sesame is a bit out of place, it doesn't add or takes anything away, it's just there sitting by itself, there could be a more neutral way to add that crunchy texture.
The Dragon Roll comes plated in a quite tall and impressive way, it's a high tower of rolls, garnished with spring onions, dragon sauce and pickled onions as well as a prawn tail on the top. The sushi rice was sticky, well seasoned and cooked to perfection and the rolls were well assembled.
The tempura prawns are super crispy and add a great contrast against the stickiness of the rice and the smooth texture of the sauce. Flavor-wise the sauce and the prawns are the main elements in this dish and they complement each other, the prawns are crispy and well cooked, not chewy at all, just al-dente inside the crispy tempura crust and plays well with the smocked tones of the sauce, which is also spicy enough to make you feel a kick, but not a beat up. Put a small piece of the pickled onion on top and it will give a new dimension with sweet and tangy notes.
This is quite a simple roll, it's just rice, cucumber and a bit of tobiko, but the sweetness from the eel and the tenderness from the foie gras complement each other while blending with the subtle flavors from the yellow pepper mayo. I would recommend eating it all together: take one rice roll along with a piece of eel and foie gras and spread some mayo on them, avoid soy sauce so you feel all the flavors, otherwise the invasive saltiness from it will overshadow everything else.
Think of this like a buttery and fishy pasta and you'll fall short. Of course, it's impossible not to imagine it will taste like a normal Pasta al Burro with shrimps, but it goes way beyond that, it is of course fishy and buttery, but also smocked, a bit garlicky, a bit sweet and salty with the added texture from the shrimps. The hero in this dish is definitely the lobster-infused oil, this dish is so simple and yet so complex at the same time it would be a crime not to try it if you visit.
This one, my friends, was the star of the feast, one brilliantly grilled Octopus tentacle served on top of a leek and potato puree and garnished with gremolata. The octopus was al-dente, seared outside with a bit of a crispy crust and soft, juicy and tender inside. The gremolata is the Italian cousin of the South American chimichurri, this one is not spicy and has more noble and easy to handle flavors which complements the octopus, the flavors are parsley, garlic and olive oil with a hint of lemon. The leek and potato puree was very well balanced but the texture, although quite thick, was way more liquid than what I would expect from a puree, this is for a reason, hang on.
This dish was quite special, it was so good we had to order it twice because we didn't have the full experience the first time, when you see an octopus tentacle and a puree the way you eat it is cutting a bit of octopus, then take some puree with your knife and spread it on top of the octopus, but in this case this is wrong. If you analyze the dish a bit deeper, none of the flavors overpower the octopus, but the octopus has a very strong taste and it overpowers everything else and, if you eat it that way, will be the only taste you'll feel.
To fully enjoy and experience this dish you need to eat it with a spoon, take enough puree with a spoon, then cut some octopus, place it on top and eat it. What will happen is the liquid, but yet thick, puree will wrap your tongue creating a thin layer which will nuance the rest of the flavors while you taste the potato and leek, then, as you chew the octopus, the olive oil, parsley, garlic and lemon from the gremolata will come into place along with the octopus, with all the textures and flavors this dish is very pleasant to eat, kudos to the chef.
3Fils is a restaurant with a very particular cuisine style, it has a lot of Asian elements to it, specially Japanese and Thai while incorporating few European nods, their staff is very helpful and friendly and does a great job describing the dishes while they're being served, the scenery makes you feel as if you were in a very old fishing harbor eating at a restaurant that's been there for ages, we felt very safe eating there, the tables were properly spaced and the place and food are kids friendly.
While going through their menu as well as their Instagram, we noticed a lot of wagyu and truffles incorporated in their dishes in different ways, their Mayara Wagyu, Wagyu Sando and Udon Carbonara are some of the dishes that called our attention and will be trying in a future visit.
While some dishes might appear expensive, the must try are quite budget friendly. In this visit, for example, the Wagyu Maki is something I'd order once just to try it out, but the octopus is something I'd order every single time, as well as the Dragon Roll and the Sakura Ebi.
- Overall: 5 out of 5. Great service, great food we had a great experience.
- Value for money: 4 out of 5. Although the food is great and the portions are reasonable, there are dishes which are expensive because of the ingredients, they're nice to try but didn't blow my mind.