By Ishita B Saha: Dubai has a variety of Iftar offerings throughout the month of Ramadan across the city’s many restaurants – from elaborate Iftar spreads to beautiful Ramadan tents. This year, we take a look at a few selected Iftars which are styled differently and that we feel, embody the true spirit of Ramadan. We urge you to go beyond the traditional Iftars offerings and focus on those where there is no food wastage. We are still maintaining the tradition of featuring Iftars which resurect the hashtag #thisisnotabuffet.
Chef Greg Malouf’s Zahira with a weekly changing Modern Middle Eastern Iftar menu
#TriedNTested: This was amongst the very few Iftar previews that we have taken up this time and the recently launched Zahira, with Greg Malouf’s interpretation of modern Middle Eastern food is top on our list of ‘must try outs’. Soon after Zahira’s tradition of breaking fast with organic Medjool dates, smoked almonds, Iranian walnuts, pumpkin seeds and a selection of freshly pressed Shrubs, a selection of Mezze would be laid down on the table that would include Greg Malouf’s signature hazelnut falafel, homemade ma’hanie sausages with harissa potato salad and pickled fried chilies and chicken and date fatayer with saffron labneh. Main course plates, changing weekly will range from slow-cooked spiced lamb with nut
rice to salmon tarator with tahini & walnuts and spatchcock fatteh with twice cooked French chicken in a clay pot. Our absolute favourite was the Salmon & Prawn tagine (above left) – one of Greg’s signature recipes. The feast promises to end with fruits, a selection of halawa, homemade kunafa (above right), baklava and Chef Malouf’s signature knife and fork ice cream.
Opening a restaurant just before Ramadan may just be a very good opportunity to test the waters during the slow summer months and then opening full throttle during the expected bust season in the last quarter. The decor and the space is thankfully not over the top, although we prefer a venue with an open view. And the music although initially sounded a bit loud, soon a blend of the classic sounds with a chilled house soundtrack seem to entice us all.
7.00pm – 9:30pm daily; AED 190/person for the set Ramadan menu, excluding beverages and a la Carte reservations start from 8.30pm onwards. www.zahira.ae
Ramadan Nights by Dish ~ a contemporary pop up Iftar with a daily changing menu
An innovative Iftar experience with Moroccan-inspired lounge furniture and candlelight in a pop-up restaurant in Al Quoz’s Warehouse Four, Dish – the catering and events brand will offer a brand new menu every day of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The 3-course menu inspired by avors of the Middle East allows guests to choose from a selection of starters, main courses and desserts, including green olive hummus, torn falafel salad, charcoal chicken and the signature slow braised shoulder of lamb in Middle- eastern spices.
From sunset until 9:30pm daily; AED 195/person inclusive of freshly made signature cold beverages and coffees. With a seating capacity of 120, private and VIP tables are available for those who prefer a more intimate setting or for corporate group bookings. www.dish.ae/ramadan-nights/
Exclusive Ladies Suhoor at Andiamo
There seems to be a demand for ‘Ladies only’ Suhoors during Ramadan that led Grand Hyatt Dubai to create one. The popular Italian restaurant Andiamo offers the very first Ladies Suhoor where a variety of international cuisine with a curated set menu will be available during Ramadan. Even the Shisha attendants will be women in order to ensure complete privacy to the ladies who book into this Suhoor.
9:00pm – 3am daily; AED 220/person, including soft drinks and AED 295/person, including unlimited Shisha. www.dubai.grand.hyatt.com
Curated Ramadan Nights with Marta’s Kitchen Boutique Catering
Marta’s Kitchen brings Dubai a taste of Ramadan with the launch of two perfectly curated Ramadan menus for this holy month. From sweet bites to savoury delights, boutique catering company Marta’s Kitchen founded by popular home grown chef Marta Yanci, launches two perfectly curated Ramadan menu for an Iftar at of ce or at home.
The ‘Ramadan Nights’ menu with Mediterranean and Arabic infused in uences includes delicious canapés, hearty bowls and special desserts with options like hummus in traditional style or with green and beetroot, Cajun prawns and fried rice, light couscous salad with roasted vegetables and crumbled feta cheese, smoked roasted lamb served with glazed root vegetables, salted caramel brownie bites to vanilla panacotta with date honey and organic fresh fruit platter. The ‘Iftar Menu’ offers a more traditional take on festive dining with everything from Falafel salads to Baba Ganoush and pomegranate caviar, a succulent lamb ouzi and creamy cheese fatayer or the fresh sea bream fillet with a cherry tomato and olive relish for a lighter option.
Ramadan Nights Menu available at AED 165/person and Iftar Menu at AED 130/person; Catering facilities upto groups of 10 – 500 people. Price includes all cutlery and crockery as well as the assistance of chefs. Beverages, furniture and waiting staff available upon request. www.martaskitchen.com
Giving Back ~ If you are looking for an alternative Iftar, join us at #Fillingtheblues
This is a great initiative from Moti Roti and is supported by other local businesses, bloggers and resident volunteers. Each year, Moti Roti teams up with these samaritans to provide Iftar to labourers working throughout Ramadan. Read more here.
[Images of Zahira, Address Boulevard: Ishita B Saha; Images of Dish Catering, Andiamo and Marta’s Kitchen: Supplied]