A Restaurant Called Eric’s.

If someone told me about a restaurant called Eric’s, I’d expect to be walking into a joint that served American style burgers and fries. Or maybe I’d expect a 24/7 diner dishing out tall smoothies and grilled cheese sammies. Or even a pizza joint, with an order 1 large pizza with toppings & get a small cheese pie free plastered to the front door.

Incidentally, someone did tell me about a restaurant called Eric’s.

I would never have expected to have walked into a homey little Portugese cottage-looking thing with lacey white curtains and Mario de Miranda cartoon paintings on the wall. I wouldn’t have expected food that you’d only find on the shores of the Indian state Goa, famous for its resorts, new year’s party scene, and certain substances that will never feature on this blog. And golly, I’d never have expected it to be bang in the middle of Karama.

Thank goodness that there are non-stereotyping souls out there, like @calvinslogic, who care two hoots about my expectations and will tweet the crap out of me until I drag myself to try a restaurant. A restaurant called Eric’s.

Over the course of two trips, both in the same week, the second because I left the first time craving for more, here’s what I tried…

Rawa prawns. Butterflied and bread-crumbed prawns, squatting in deep fried crispy opulence.  My tummy is letting out a string of wistful moans as I search for the right words to describe these prawns. Not a tad of grease, a collosal crunch, totally irresistable when splashed with some green chutney.

[Clockwise] Veggie spring rolls that sadly paled in comparison to the first starter, because once you have a fried prawn in your mouth, even the best of fried carrots and onions ain’t ever going to trump it. Outrageously chilli chilli chicken that my parents wiped down to the last deadly seed-speckled spot of Indo-Chinese soy-sauce gravy. One fabulous potato chop that I  hunted out on the rather long menu because @calvinslogic had highly recommended it. This little potato volcano of minced curried mutton is exactly the sort of volcano I wish would erupt in times of midnight comfort food cravings. And the most brilliant one of all, the prawn-stuffed papadums that my genius-sister-with-a-past-life-in-Goa ordered for us.

If cigarettes were rolled-up softish papadums with minced prawns stuffed in them, I’d be hopelessly addicted.

Now a quick round-up of dishes for people who aren’t gung-ho about fishy eats.

A rich Chicken Xacuti curry that’s meant to have this magical coconut-red chilli-poppy seed blend …but a taste later, it had a blend that-I-don’t-know-what-you-are-…-and-I-don’t-really-care. Veggie Hakka Noodles from their Chinese menu that by themselves will do nothing for you, but spooned over with one of their Thai curries, get this radical makeover and strut out as Saucey Strings of Savory Seduction.

Why Thai curries at a Goan restaurant? Because at Eric’s – and you are right again @calvinslogic – they are lap-it-off-the-plate good. I mean it. I first went at the curry with baby-soft buns (pav), then with noodles, then with my spoon, until I’d had enough and pushed the spoon away disgusted with my gluttonous self…and then with a mind of their own totally in sync with my tummy, my bare fingers sneakily tugged the curry pot back towards me, attacking it all over again, spoon or no spoon, right down to the last floating mushroom and broccoli that had marinated and slow-cooked and softened into curry-oozing mush.

All these curries go perfectly with steamed rice or noodles or pav buns. Or you could order a basket of buttery garlic naan, which doesn’t really go with anything. But you should probably order it anyway.

And now, the whoppers that stole the show – the seafood. In order of awesomeness, the Kingfish Curry. The actual pieces of kingfish were a bit too fishy and scaley at the core, I’d probably sub them out with prawns next time. But the gravy was this grainy, salty, maybe mustardy?, outlandishly flavorful combination of spices that keeps you tasting…hmmm-ing…dissecting…guessing…re-tasting…re-hmmm-ing…re-dissecting…yeah, gravies like that one keep me occupied for a loooong time.

The Pomfret Recheiado, with this thick lemony red-chilli-pounded paste glistening like a wet suit all over the fish. Me like recheado paste. Smokey, tangy, earthy – everything I love about chillies, but no tongue-flaming, no nostril-glistening, none of that maddening heat that I’d regret the morning after.

And then, the star of the show, the Bombil Fry. A thin fillet of bombay duck wearing a crunchy gauze of deep-fried semolina. Ironically, this duck is really a fish and not a duck at all. And the experience of eating this fish was…I’d never thought I’d use this word on my blog, but here goes: ephemereal.

Using my teeth would have been overkill. I just had to sit back and feel the duck melt into this unbelievably soft creamy flesh within the semolina, dribbling out the subtlest of spices and lemony juices on my tongue for a few precious seconds, and then gone, the flesh had dissolved and was gone, only a fleeting semolina crunch to remind me that I even had something on my tongue a few seconds before.

I’m bowled over by Eric’s.  It didn’t match any of my expectations. Nope, it just turned all my preconceived Eric’s the Burger Joint or Eric’s Crusty Pizza notions over on their backs and spanked them to a new and exquisite reality where duck is fish, and fish is butter.

No Surprises, Eric’s makes my Best of 2011 List

Karama, Dubai [Drive down with Burjuman, and then Spinneys, on your right. Take a left near the Sukh Sagar, then a U-turn, and then the first right near the West Zone supermarket. Drive down the road, and take a right near the Astor Pharmacy, and then a second left. Eric’s would be at the end of the road.]
Phone: +971 (4) 396-4447

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

17 thoughts on “A Restaurant Called Eric’s.

  1. Didi says:

    Those Rawa Prawns look so crunchy! I haven’t tasted them but looks like you could eat them NON-STOP!

  2. rads says:

    The Bombil Fry was to dieeeeeee for Arva !!!!!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this hidden treasure of Karama ….. definately going to go back again and again to Eric’s :) Besides the delicious food , loved the warm cosy feel of the place !

  3. FooDiva says:

    Oh my, what a fabbylicious find well done lady! Brings back memories of incredible food from a Goan holiday, beach fish shacks included. So going on my wish list. Perhaps one for our next FIA outing?

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @Didi – fantasy crunch-o-burger = sandwich a bunch of super crunchy prawns between two chutney-ed halves of a soft bun. What say? ;)

      @rads – I hear ya lady. It was SO hard for me to keep my hands off of that bombil fry before you landed up, I’m glad you came in time else it would have vanished!

      @FooDiva – brilliant idea! I do want to go with a huge hungry army and road-roll through that entire menu. Gonna put this on our foodie event calendar and make it happen.

  4. elainegan says:

    So this yummy place was what I missed! Argh now am filled with regret… Must do an FIA next event :D

  5. saleem says:

    Yes I can vouch for what Arva has written, chilli chicken is real hot and spicy – loved it. Would love to go back and try a few more dishes.

  6. Drina C says:

    Goan foooood! yay! as a Goan, i do believe there aren’t too many Goan restaurants. I need to go down here check this out. I do have a vegetarian friend, are there any vegetarian dishes served up?
    And you should also check out this nook called Viva Goa, tucked in a cozy corner in Al Nasr Leisureland! its quite something.. hehe

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @elainegan – I know, FooDiva has commanded so too, FIA event to happen there for sure!!

      @saleem – I’m so glad we all went there, gives me so much joy to see you and ma enjoy your food, really amps up the whole experience for me :)

      @Drina C – I thought this find would resonate with ya! I have heard about Viva Goa, and sister (who’s quite the Goan food expert having lived in Goa for 3 years) has actually been there. She actually rated Eric’s way higher than Viva Goa, in terms of authenticity and taste, but I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of a true Goan like yourself! So do let me know if you get a chance to try, or if we do an FiA event, I can watch you rate the food live :D

  7. @calvinslogic says:

    I’m so happy that I recommended this place to you. You’ve done more than justice to the menu and the flavor of this heavenly place in this post. And damn! I’m craving for those papadams now. Nobody has ever gone disappointed with this recommendation of mine. Thanks for the credits :) Cheers.

  8. Mishti says:

    I luuuurve Eric’s. But I never ever thought that someone who’s lived in Dubai for so long has not heard of it ;)

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @calvinslogic – Thank YOU for the reco, Eric’s food is so yumo that it’d be hard to make the photos look otherwise :) keep those recommendations flowing in!

      @Mishti – yep, even after all these years, one still learns new things each day! I was blind, but mah eyes are open now.

  9. Leon Lewis says:

    Hi, this is Leon, son of the owner of Eric’s Restaurant, Eric himself.
    I am truly amazed by this review and will definitely show it to my dad. Please like our page on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/ericsrestaurant.me
    A big shoutout to the author of this review. Do come back home to Eric’s!

  10. Dima';s Kitchen says:

    Arva, the pics made me want to dive in there and eat!!! YUM!!! You had me sold on this, am defo gonna go and try it out :) Totally agreed on the non-stereotypical mentality Horay to that!!

  11. Tet says:

    I want the papadums and naan NOW. Glad I came across this one via@bettyboodubai:disqus :)

    Fave part where you said “This little potato volcano of minced curried mutton is exactly the sort
    of volcano I wish would erupt in times of midnight comfort food cravings.”

    More brilliant each time…x


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