This is definitely a sign of a good restaurant: venues either side halfheartedly vying for customers’ attention with row upon row of empty seats inside and out, while the modest 3 Fils sits unassuming, tables packed and a queue to get in. Speaks volumes.
Late last year, this Asian-inspired seafood eatery popped up out of nowhere in Jumeirah Fishing Village with the aim of, in their own words, ‘making complex simple’. You could be forgiven for knowing nothing about its existence if it weren’t for food critics, influencers and and emirates now joining the queue to sample its mix of Singaporean flavours – small and simple-yet-delicious dishes to order over and over.
The name is an incorporation of all three owners (two Emiratis and a Singaporean) each giving bringing their own style to the table, or their ‘three cents’, serving high-end food at affordable prices. One of my favourite things about this place is its lack of Dubai flashiness which I think the owners were trying to avoid. Stripping that facade back, 3 Fils becomes totally about the food and the flavours – no gimmicks, no glitter, no glam. Just modest, local deliciousness. I say local – some ingredients are flown in from Japan, as you do.
Let’s cut to the chase – you can end up spending a lot here not because it’s expensive, but because you WILL want to order everything on the menu – so don’t turn up with hungry eyes and order two portions of everything because you may as well have gone to Nobu. Or you know, do order everything because it’s all well, spot on.
The chicken wings [AED 37] arrived first, sticky, garlicky and full of flavour. Next were my two personal faves, the Volcano rolls [AED 41] and Dragon rolls [AED 42] – the former being beautiful salmon coated in teriyaki and topped with flying fish roe. The latter, shrimp tempura rolls in a gochujang sauce with spring onion and picked red onion. I love the confidence here and how they don’t offer any soy sauce as a rule – they’re that self-assured that their food needs no extra flavour, so how dare you suggest otherwise? The spicy tuna rolls [AED 45] were also a hit, drizzled in wasabi mayo. The Sakura Ebi was up next [AED 68] – thin Capellini pasta cooked with lobster oil and garlic – it doesn’t sound like much but the savoury flavours were comforting and set off completely by the lobster oil. The Fremantle Octopus, the black cod and the Wagyu overload also looked particuarly tempting. A little here goes a long way, and at AED 233 for two people (not including drinks) we left satisfied and not ripped off, which tends to be so often the case with good quality restaurants in Dubai.
Perfect for a date night or a gathering with family and friends, 3 Fils sets the bar when it comes to affordable eating out – something which other new openings should be looking to for inspiration and which overpriced tourist hot-spots could learn a few things from.
You won’t have a problem finding this place – just look for the bustling restaurant straddled either side by ghost-town eateries – and of course the giant fishing harbour infront of it, dazzling with pretty street lamps which glimmer against the water. Perfection.
Visit 3 Fils’ website to find out more, or just rock up – cause you can’t book a table in advance. Expect a short wait – it’s worth it.
If you loved 3 Fils as much as me, or have some other hotspots you would recommend, comment below and tell me!