It’s Ramadan at the moment so we have been getting out and about quite a bit to the various Iftar buffets that happen nightly for the breaking of the fast. I am still a bit up the wall with looking after the baby, household chores are still at minimum requirements, I have managed to cook on a few occasions but as you can imagine getting out to eat takes quite a weight off my shoulders! I seriously don’t know how people manage to have a baby, work full time and look after a house etc, so hats off to those that do. If, god willing there is a next time then bringing “help” is most likely on the cards!!
So, like I say we have been to quite a few of the lavish spreads that are put on by the hotels and the vast majority of restaurants here during the holy month. I’m a firm believer that you have never truly experienced a buffet until you’ve had one in the Middle East, when I first started coming out here for work years ago I was pretty astounded by how much food is on display. The hotel buffets at home are woeful in comparison and I mean seriously, if buffets were cars the UK’s would probably be something completely unroadworthy and the UAE’s, well, they’d be a Maybach!! Those burger, wedges and bowls of radioactive looking coleslaw wedding buffets?? Seriously, how does anyone let the hotels get away with them?!
It goes without saying that even out here some buffets are better than others and one of the better ones we have had this year was at The Foundry within The Southern Sun Hotel. This restaurant is usually a Steak House, which we have never tried but based upon the Iftar delights they offered we have put it on our list for after Ramadan. The interior design is gorgeous and very opulent, as you walk in there are tables that appear to float on water. Within the main restaurant itself the colour palate is rich, warm and inviting.
Upon arrival we were given a warm welcome by the manager and as we were a little early we took the chance to have a good look around before the call for Maghrib prayer, which signals the end of fasting. I always love to “take a tour” (as the Hubster and I say) of the buffet before deciding what to eat! On offer here was a nice selection of salads and cold mezze dishes such as vine leaves, hummus, etc. The hot mezzo selection included Soujuk (little sausages), Kibbeh (lamb mince and pine nut stuffed balls) and Sambousek (savoury filled pastries). There were several live cooking stations ranging from choose your own pasta to more traditional dishes such as Fatteh (toasted arabic bread topped with ingredients such as meat, chickpeas etc topped with yogurt and sometimes nuts). Of course no Iftar buffet is complete without a huge platter of Lamb Ouzi, a whole Lamb served atop a mountain of fragrant steaming rice.
The main courses were some of the best tasting I’ve had for a long time, I particularly enjoyed their fish dishes, one in batter and one with an orange sauce, veggies were nicely cooked and not too al dente to eat, as is often the case when they have been prepared in large quantities.
For afters, or desert as you guys may know it, there was a lovely selection of colourful creations that I am happy to say actually tasted of fruits. So often I find deserts look amazing but they taste of nothing! Of course I was kind of stuffed by this point but I do have a second stomach when it comes to sweeties, so I just opened that up no problem!
The service was attentive without being intrusive, plates were cleared in a timely manner, I don’t know about you but I can’t stand being left to sit at a table full of dirty plates and cutlery, especially at buffets!
After everyone was suitably stuffed we headed upstairs to the hotel’s Ramadan Tent for coffee, they have one of the biggest TV screens in Abu Dhabi, which is perfect for watching the Euros! The men lingered for Shisha whilst Bubs and I headed home. (Incidentally, he screamed all the way back which made for a somewhat stressful drive. I’ve still no idea what the problem was! This parenting lark really is a guessing game at times isn’t it?!)
If you’ve not yet tried an Iftar buffet then go out and experience at least one before Ramadan comes to an end.
Have you got a favourite Iftar?
Peace and Love
Ginger and Cream XOXO
Iftar at the Foundry is 139 AED ++, there are discounts for larger parties please call the restaurant to book and discuss on 02818488