“So there’s this new place.. like OHMAGADDD… it’s from New York! like the desserts are all over ma instagram feed”
That’s pretty much all we had heard about Catch at the Fairmont, so we thought of trying it and booked a table for 11 people on a Friday night. Deadly mistake ya mama, well not deadly but big mistake.. Never try out a new place when you’re a party of 11.
The name Catch is behind the joint’s apparent specialty in seafood, but is made even more fitting by the staff whose attention we spent the evening continuously trying to catch. You sometimes get a feeling when you meet someone that you’re just not really going to get along. This felt that way almost as soon as we showed up. As we waited for our table to get ready, we were informed that we were not standing at the right side of the bar, as we didn’t know there was one. That’s ok, but when we sat down and were instructed to share the menus because they were running low on them, things started getting fishy. When the party became complete and we were about to order, your beloved tante asked for two menus for the couple who just joined. After eyeing a stack of menus that were lying around at the service booth, the waiter came back having decided that we didn’t quite need them and we can just share the ones we already had. Fine. Let’s not spoil the evening. We each gave our orders with naive instructions on what to share, what was meant to be an appetiser and what we wanted for a main course. A little later, orders started showing up randomly. Not the funny kind of randomness, but the annoying one. The place was loud and we couldn’t really catch up on each and every person’s order to make informed guesses on who ordered what. One of us would get someone’s Wagyu beef on a rock and start asking around to find out to whom it belonged. One corner of the table would get the other’s appetiser and start to eat it, while the rest are complaining that their order never showed up. We gently asked them at this point to kindly pay attention to giving each person his/her right order instead of aimlessly throwing everything at different sides of our big table. They didn’t seem to appreciate the request, complaining that they’re not sure who asked for what and that the table wasn’t small. Pardon us for inconveniencing your cranky, overrated establishment. Ok let’s try to enjoy what’s left of this evening. Our two orders of pasta randomly showed up as four plates. At this point, my hungry friends gave up on getting their orders right so they started devouring whatever randomly came their way. At a certain point, the Sfitch (our bride-to-be-friend who loves carbs) got a glass of wine that she hadn’t ordered.. but sure.. why not? Between the wrong orders that we sent back and those that haphazardly showed up but were consumed nonetheless, it was impossible to audit our way through the bill to check if we have been wrongfully charged. We just split it and paid 400 dirhams a head for what must have been the most overpriced, OK food that left almost everyone hungry.
Honestly some of the dishes were not bad, but I won’t be doing any favours to Catch. Instead I can treat it with the same level of randomness with which it shoved plates down our way: Lobster rolls that are too buttery, crispy shrimps a la PF Changs, Wagyu Beef that’s good, a humongous fish with a face, mushroom spaghetti that’s alright, Hit Me chocolate cake that’s good, Burj waffle and s’mores pizza. But best of all, the Zaatar w Zeit that most of us admitted to ordering once we got home.
Catch isn’t understaffed, but it doesn’t help that there isn’t a dedicated host for every few tables, just a disinterested army of waiters running around with random plates playing a game of Catch Me If You Can.
Until the next review, I leave you with a taste of that fine New York hospitality Catch has imported here.