A new standalone deli and gourmet grocer has just docked into new Dubai, Dubai Marina to be exact - Market & Platters – brought to us by the owners of Fresh Express, the long-standing suppliers to the UAE hotel trade and royalty. Occupying a corner shop just across the road from Citibank and a wee walk, temperature-permitting from Spinneys, you couldn’t ask for a better location.
The fresh seafood counter is the first to greet you, and certainly beats queuing at Carrefour – the Maldivian Grade A yellow fin tuna loin was my dinner buy (AED48 for two steaks). Sadly FooDiva spotted local hammour, and you know how I feel about overfished species. The European cheese counter is pretty substantial including real fetta, i.e Greek (the owners’ origins, so they should know a thing or two) – but the antipasti selection is a bigger differentiator with the likes of a crayfish, tomato and dill salad, and a rich cod bacalao spread luring me in (AED35 for 200g). Fruit and veg is the central focal point - all decked out market-style on white wooden craters. Sadly all is imported, but on the other hand it does give us access to hard-to-find zucchini flowers, yellow courgettes and shiso cress. The Spanish Ortiz brand of anchovies, sardines and tuna-stuffed piquilo peppers are aplenty – similar to Finer Things. There’s also a small selection of freshly baked bread, fougasse included.
The biggest USP of all are the take-away platters of carpaccio, tartares and sashimi. The Australian yellowtail hamachi carpaccio (AED38) was simply sublime – hence the ‘Platters’ branding where the owners are keen to cater for supper soirées. The seafood salads and sandwiches looked impressive, but the Nicoise would have benefited from freshly seared tuna not the tinned variety.
Above all though, from the moment FooDiva walked in, the service from senior management and ‘real’ chefs behind the counter was second-to-none with knowledgeable, professional advice. Let’s hope this is not just an opening trend and they’re here to stay. Prices are very reasonable for a gourmet deli – but a slightly higher price point than online retailer Chez Charles. Market & Platters makes a wonderful quality addition to your weekly shop, especially when you’re after that certain ‘je ne sais quoi‘. Great to see a home-grown consumer brand take shape here in Dubai competing with the likes of gourmet imports, Lafayette Gourmet, and to an extent Jones The Grocer and Milk & Honey. Pop across this weekend.
Where do you find yourself shopping for groceries – both daily staples and gourmet products?