Yup, that’s exactly what you’d be doing when you go and eat at ASAP Inhouse Restaurant- Seafood in a bucket. I’m a big fan of innovation and trying out something new, so when Frank and I first heard about this place, we knew we had to try it out. It’s quite hidden and not visible from the front of the building but the first time we went there, there was a LOOONG queue outside the door and I was too hungry to wait so we opted to eat somewhere else. But that long queue translated to ‘something good’ in my mind and I knew I had to go back. I felt that ‘i must, i must, i must go and eat there’, so we scheduled a weekend where we can go early for brunch.
The next weekend we were there a few minutes past twelve (yeah we weren’t early at all. boohoo) and the place was already crowded. There were a few tables left unoccuppied and we immediately grabbed one at the corner. They had wooden benches and tables, like a slightly upgraded carinderia. Frank didn’t like the wooden benches, murmuring that they hurt his butt. I was like, ‘since when did you become all sosy?’ A few minutes later, a queue started to form outside the door.
The concept of Seafood in a bucket is really simple. You order your main dish, either sauteed (crab, mussels or shrimp) or deep fried (calamari, breaded prawn, and an assortment of fish), then you order your sauce and how spicy you want it, and then an optional side dish. This comes with unlimited rice. You then choose what drinks you have, and their refillable drinks are served in mason jars (love). You can also order soup and dessert. Everything (including the rice) are served in aluminum buckets lined with wax paper and plastic. You also eat with your hands! The menu just had the basics in there and it really works. It really really works. I always say if you want to start a restaurant, start with a few REALLY good dishes and serve just that. You can expand the choices later.
The ambience reminded me so much of eating at the ‘karinderia sa kanto’ (eateries at the street corner) that you would really want to put your feet up eat with your hands.
Frank and I ordered their calamari and shrimp with sweet chilli sauce, and mussels with garlic butter. We both ordered their apple cucumber drinks. We loved the calamari – crunchy and soft at the same time. Is that even possible? The shrimp was also cooked perfectly. I love mussels and the garlic sauce didn’t overwhelm the taste. And extra rice all you can! Isn’t that great?!
Now I don’t want to be too critical but they had really lousy service. I guess they did not anticipate the crowd because there weren’t enough staff in the restaurant. It took 10-15 minutes for someone to hand us the menu and another 5 minutes before they took our orders. I was not really hungry so I had a lot of patience but the other customers were getting really irritated and they were very expressive about how they felt. Our orders arrived more than 30 minutes later. More staff arrived a little after 1 PM so things only started to pick up from there. I also wished they had bigger servings.
Or maybe I just caught them in a bad time. Maybe. Ill probably know the next time I go there. Maybe this weekend? for brunch?
ASAP in house restaurant- Seafood in a bucket
Ground floor, Al Attar Bldg, Opposite Union Coop, Karama, Trade Center Road, Dubai