“Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit.” Ezra Taft Benson
It’s the last week of Ramadan so that means it’s also the last chance to sample the delights of an Iftar feast as the sun sets and Suhoor before sun rises. Between arriving back from Bali and joining the expat mass summer exodus, I was lucky enough to sample both the lavish Iftar buffet and Suhoor at the Yas Viceroy Hotel located on Yas Island and an Iftar feast at the Beach Rotana Hotel. Iftar, when people gather together to break their fast at sunset is traditionally started with the eating of dates as the Prophet Muhammad broke his fast with three dates, followed by an Iftar buffet or dinner. Most establishments across the capital are offering their own variation of this feast and others are also offering the pre-dawn meal Suhoor usually served in traditional tents or restaurants.
At the Yas Viceroy Hotel, the lobby has been transformed for the Holy Month with an array of pretty multi sized gold lanterns and an amazing colourful flower display. Origins the all-day dining restaurant has been transformed into a unique Ramadan themed setting complete with large Arabic coffee pots (Dallah), ceramic camels, palm trees and lanterns. Centre stage is a date station filled with baskets of different types of dried fruit used to break the fast and some nuts.
The beautifully presented buffet has many of the traditional Arabic dishes along with some international cuisine to satisfy all diners requirements. Ramadan juices offer a range of flavours with kamer al din (apricot), jalab (date blossom), airan (yoghurt), tamer hindi (tamarind) alongside the standard orange juice. Soups, cold and hot mezzah, salads, seafood, breads, cheese are displayed as well as shawarma, shish taouk, kebabs, kofta and a carved meat station offering a whole lamb ouzi (see the full menu here). Make sure to leave room for dessert as there is plenty to choose from with a selection of Arabic and international treats. Baklava, date pudding, date toffee cake, kunafa cheese and umm ali to name a few along with some rather tasty chocolates options.
I attended the Aldar Suhoor and was treated to a late night à la carte experience at Origins with many of the selections similar to Iftar choices with some added Arabian delicacies.
Yas Viceroy Hotel
Location: Origins Restaurant
Telephone: 02 656 0700
Iftar AED 175++ per person, includes Ramadan juices. Children under 12 dine free with accompanying adult.
Iftar is available daily during Ramadanfrom sunset to 10pm (shisha is available for an additional AED 100)
Suhour is offered daily during Ramadan from 10pm to 2am (shisha also available for an additional AED 100.
At the Beach Rotana Hotel, Essence Restaurant has been transformed into a traditional Arabian-style iftar buffet entered via an elaborate archway and decorated with flowers, lanterns and wooden chests full of dates. A wide selection of Arabic and international cuisine is available from the large buffet which is housed on one side of the restaurant. Service was quick and efficient with replenished plates, new cutlery and constant supply of drinks.
A wide range of fresh salads and vegetable dishes dominate one side of the buffet and hot mezzah and meats the other. Different varieties of bread are displayed near the Arabic sweets and the dessert display was very impressive too. We enjoyed a selection of different food from each section and were spoilt for choice, leaving very full.
Beach Rotana Hotel
Location: Essence Restaurant
Telephone: 02 697 9011
Iftar Buffet: AED 195++ including unlimited Arabic juices, soft drinks and water.
If you have time pop along to the Yas Viceroy Hotel and Beach Rotana Hotel and feast on their Iftar and Suhoor menus before the end of Ramadan, don’t forget both hotels will be offering Eid celebration menus too. Read about more Ramadan dining options in Abu Dhabi in my previous post Ramadan Dining Preview
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. Thank you to Yas Viceroy Hotel, Aldar and Beach Rotana Hotel for the opportunity to visit. All views are all my own. Last photo used courtesy of Beach Rotana Hotel.