Come Ramadan and hotels around the city lay out their best in the form of Iftar spreads for their clientele. This past week the Hubster and I were invited to attend the Iftar hosted by Arabesque at Danat Al Ain Resort.
The Danat Al Ain Resort is 5-star luxury hotel located in the garden city of Al Ain in the UAE. It boasts a spa, three swimming pools and some beautiful guestrooms and suites. The resort is perched atop a gentle slope, nestled among lush gardens and groves of date palms. On this particular evening, we were headed to one of their many restaurants, the Arabesque, to experience an authentic Iftar spread.
We were welcomed at the door by Ms. Angel and were quickly seated. The décor was muted and elegant with just the right touch in terms of lighting. Tables were arranged to provide enough privacy from nearby diners while not being too cut off from the buffet spread.
And what a spread it was! Arabesque presented a fine balance of traditional Arabic cuisine with other international dishes tossed in to sweeten the mix.
For drinks the options ranged from water and orange juice to more traditional favorites like jallab (a syrupy drink made from carob, dates, grapes and rose water), amar al din (a thick, sweet and slightly grainy apricot nectar), tamar hind (a sweet, tangy tamarind juice), karkadeh (a light, sweet drink made from the hibiscus flower) and laban (thick buttermilk). In the name of research I had to try all of them. At least that is the excuse I used to redeem myself from looking like a complete glutton. While the laban was a tad bit too salty for my personal taste, the rest of the drinks were chilled and refreshing. The perfect antidote to a hot, summer evening.
The starters left me dizzy with the sheer array of choice available. There were extensive cold and hot mezze options and a salad spread worthy of a king. My favorites from the signature starters were the shrimp with mango salsa (plump juicy shrimp perfectly complemented by the spicy-sweet, tangy salsa) and the sweet corn with crab meat.
Moving onto the mains, the ouzi was simply divine! Served fresh and hot, the tender meat shredded apart at the touch of a fork. The rice was fragrant and perfectly spiced. Overall, a rich indulgent treat which both the hubby and I enjoyed. I also loved the lamb with fasolia; yet more fork-tender meat in a soupy gravy. The hot, spiced sojouk, liver and shawarmas at the live cooking stations are also worth a mention. In addition, there was grilled meat, roast turkey, fish harra and seafood provencal just to name a few of the many dishes on offer.
And, of course, let’s not forget the desserts. The dessert section, for me, can make or break a buffet. I am happy to report that Arabesque did not disappoint. They had an impressive offering of delicious Arabic sweets (the Kunafa Osmalia left me sighing in ecstasy) along with a more international flavor profile for those who so prefer (think puddings, brownies, cakes, tarts, ice cream and fresh fruit). The hubster made a beeline for his favorite dessert, Umm Ali, and gave it a hearty thumbs up after the first bite.
I was a little disappointed that the chocolate fountain, although on display, was not in operation but there were plenty of other options to keep me satisfied.
Overall : Arabesque at the Danat Al Ain Resort put up an impressive Iftar spread. Hubster and I left feeling happily stuffed and dreaming about the next time we would get to sample that mouthwatering Ouzi! While not all the dishes left us salivating, the ones that they did get right were definitely worth the long drive to Al Ain.
Price : The Iftar at Arabesque is priced at AED 110/- per head on weekdays and AED 125/- on weekends.
Disclaimer : We were invited to try the Iftar at Arabesque in the Danat Al Ain Resort. All views and opinions are my own and not affected in any way by the invitation.