Last weekend we had the opportunity to try out the Iftar at the Ritz Carlton in DIFC.
Upon entering we were greeted warmly by the staff and directed to the hall which was beautifully decked up with dim lighting and elegant place settings. Within minutes of being seated we were offered our choice of drinks and I opted for the jallab, a popular Middle Eastern drink.
What I loved about the place? The ambience. Everything from the lighting to the prompt service to the live music. They had numerous live cooking stations. Think pasta, fatteh and shawarma.
There was also some really intriguing fusion cuisine which is what possessed us to drive all the way from Abu Dhabi to try out their Iftar. One of these was the Arabic sushi. While I loved the concept (because let’s face it, anything sushi is good in my book), I’m not entirely convinced it actually worked. They came as perfectly put together sushi rolls but with unexpected fillings like lamb, chicken and beetroot. The chicken rolls were tender and flavorsome. I could easily see myself getting used to the idea of chicken sushi. However the lamb left much to be desired. I am simply not used to chomping on rather tough lamb meat when I put a sushi roll in my mouth. I will say that another member of our dinner party, who is not a big sushi fan because of the ‘raw fish’ concept, thoroughly enjoyed the Arabic sushi.
Another interesting fusion concept was the ‘savory waffles and ice cream’. A falafel waffle topped with scoops of beetroot, sweet potato and hummus ice cream. Yeah… you read those flavors right. The evening left my senses in total chaos. My mind simply could not comprehend what my tongue was tasting. Hummus flavored ice cream? Hummus?!
There were, sadly, some dishes that I outright disliked. The chicken salad had dry and hard chunks of chicken, the paneer makhani was so sweet it was a borderline dessert item and what was labelled as vanilla panna cotta had enough sugar in it to induce a diabetic coma. And this from a person who has been known to polish off a 500ml tub of Baskin Robbins for lunch!
The greatest variety was to be found at the dessert station. There was plenty of choice be it local or international flavors. The Umm Ali was by far my top pick of the night.
To sum up : The Ritz-Carlton DIFC offers some quality food and service with a relatively varied spread. However, considering the rather long drive from Abu Dhabi and the dent left in my wallet, I don’t think I will be returning for another Iftar anytime soon. But if you’re an experimental diner in the mood to splurge and happen to be in the area, by all means go ahead. And let me know what you think!
Things to try : Arabic sushi and savory waffles (if nothing else, at least for the novelty). The hummus fountain (Yes! What we initially thought was a white chocolate fountain turned out to be hummus!). The poached prawns (I tend to avoid these at salad bars because I often find them too bland for my liking but these left me wanting more). Seabass with potatoes (Yum!). Umm Ali (milky, creamy with the perfect balance of crispiness and sogginess).
Things to avoid : Paneer makhani, mandi (honestly I’ve had better at other restaurants for a fraction of the price), chicken salad (the chicken was tough and rubbery) and the Thai green curry (more rubbery chicken cubes although the gravy was deliciously, coconut-y).
Price per head : AED 215/-