Tasted: Cargo, Pier 7, Dubai
The Pier 7 venue offers Hong Kong harbour-inspired styling in the heart of Dubai’s marina.June 4, 2014
Once you’ve been to one restaurant in Pier 7 you can be pretty sure of what you’re going to find in each of the hotspot venue’s other offerings: a spacious, spherical scene with photo-ready views of the sparkly-eyed marina.
This of course Cargo offers. But rather than following the crowd with plush styling, à la Atelier M a few floors above, Cargo has looked to a 1960s harbour side eatery in Hong Kong for its décor inspiration. Raw steel, concrete and hard wood interiors give an industrial yet trendy feel.
High tables inside are inviting for a relaxed business rendezvous, with arrangements for two on the terrace catering to slightly more intimate moments. We couldn’t make up our mind if this was more a bar or a restaurant – not because it fails to fill either role, but as it happily resides in both camps.
Unlike other dining venues in Dubai which tend to remain relatively subdued until post 9pm, Cargo was lively from the moment the sun went down and surprisingly so for a Monday evening.
Relaxed, beat heavy music mixed with the boats coming into dock below and an increasingly vivacious crowd made for a very atmospheric feel. As quickly as the vibrant ambience had begun however, the mood levels dropped off earlier than expected, leaving a quieter and more passive atmosphere.
A venue to start your night then, post-work drinks in particular will find favour here, before you move on elsewhere or sit down for dinner and take a load off.
While the venue seeks inspiration from Hong Kong the menu takes the safer and more recognised fare of Asian cuisine. However, here the conundrum arises; a dozen starter options and fewer mains would normally qualify somewhere as a bar with food options in case you’re peckish, rather than an out-and-out restaurant.
That said the food is certainly of restaurant quality. The fried ebi dish – black tiger shrimps – were as meaty as they were tasty while the calamari dish was stacked as high as a tasty game of Jenga.
We’d also recommend the lemongrass chicken skewers and the Cargo oysters, for those with the inclined palate. The mini Wagyu burgers served three ways again felt like a nod to upmarket bar fodder, but the stir-fried beef was certainly a proper dining meal, and the smoked duck pad Thai was tasty enough to stand on any Asian menu.
If the quantity of food options left us unsure of its restaurant-bar stance, the drinks menu missed its opportunity to clear things up. But while it’s certainly not going to compete with Dubai’s outlets that offer encyclopaedia-sized menus, the beverage options were a decent mix of signature and classic cocktails while the wine options are a real global assortment with grape choices from South America, South Africa, Australasia, France and Italy.
Details: Cargo, Pier 7, Dubai Marina. Visit cargo-dubai.com