If you asked us to pick one underdog restaurant that has surpassed all expectations this past year, we wouldn’t hesitate a single beat, hands down it would be 3Fils. The brain child of Chef Akmal Anuar, this homegrown restaurant has thrilled us all with it’s quality, consistency and innovative, yet approachable, dishes. It somehow manages to be at once intimate, sophisticated and homey - this last point is truly a credit to the knowledgeable and welcoming team.
Chef Akmal’s humble nature and focus on hard work has certainly paid off as they have just won the coveted Time Out Award for Best Asian Restaurant 2018. We had the privilege to ask the chef a few questions recently, read on to see what he had to say.
1. Tell us about a bit more about the Chef's Counter concept and why you decided to do this at your restaurant.
Apart of having an approachable simple menu, I wanted a platform where I can show a little bit more sophistication. A menu where I decide to suit the customer when I see and chat with them to know more about their dining exposure. A purpose where I can deliver the best tastings with the best quality ingredients I can get hold off. Part dining experience and also informative. My goal is to set the bar higher for 3FILS in terms of a gastronomical establishment.
2. A constantly changing menu requires a lot of creativity, what inspires you to create new dishes?
I create based on the ingredients first and using it when it is at its peak, also very importantly listening to customers/ market liking. I do not create something just based on creation but also to attain Umami and simplicity towards a dish. I believe a constant change will create more anticipation for our guest yet it also keeps us on our toes.
3. What are your top 3 must-try dishes on your a la carte menu?
- Fremantle Octopus Leek Potato Puree
- Gremolata Beef Carpaccio Rocoto Sour Sauce, Veal Chorizo Oil
- African Powerhouse Ghana Dark Chocolate, Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream.
4. You guys are no stranger to taking risks - you're a homegrown concept that decided to tackle a very competitive dining scene full of big name brands. What do you think is the secret to your success?
There is no secret or formula. We take our business seriously and I have a good team behind who takes pride and believes in the product. Hard work, experience and exposure is also definitely a key in becoming a successful restaurant. Our customers are taken care of and eventually many of them become regulars and friends.
5. Any advice you have for budding chefs in the region?
Find your voice and start doing your own thing. Don’t be too comfortable and take risk. Not taking any risk is the biggest risk.
6. What’s an ingredient that you think is underrated right now?
Bread. It's so hard to find a place that makes good bread. I have never come across a place yet in Dubai where the smell of freshly baked breads pulls you to it.
7. Lastly, what we really want to know is, what's your favorite thing to eat when you’re not in the kitchen?
I like a good simple dish from back home called Assam Pedas literally means "Hot and Sour". A red soupy stew of fresh catch seafood and steamed Jasmine rice.