With the start of Ramadan comes to emergence of Iftar offers across the city.
Every evening as the sun sets those who are fasting come together to break their fast with dates, water and then the first meal since day break, this is known as Iftar, and during the Holy Month it is often spent with family and friends as you dine together and share the stories of your day.
You do not have to be fasting to take part in an Iftar meal, many hotels and restaurants offer Iftar deals that, more often than not, take the form of a generous buffet. AOC Brasserie in the Sofitel Jumeirah Beach is no different; every evening between the May 26th and June 24th the restaurant transforms into an Arabian majlis for the evening, complete with traditional music, a skilled henna artist and shisha – available by the stunning infinity pool.
When it comes to the food you would be hard pressed to not find something you love, the counters are laid with a variety of Arabian classics hailing from The Levant, Morocco, Egypt and of course a few nods to the UAE. There is an extensive salad bar with everything from fattouch to couscous as well as a build-your-own if nothing else tickles your fancy – add to that the most impressive array of labneh I have ever seen (we’re talking mint, za’atar, pistachio, harissa, and so many more) plus every kind of dip your mezze needs and you’re set for the evening – though keep in mind, these are only the appetisers!
I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this Iftar so much was because my favourite part of Middle Eastern cuisine is the mezze, hot or cold I adore the little nibbles, the sharing and the mix and match feel. The cold options are so fresh and light while the hot selection is hearty and warming but little enough that you can sample everything. I love it.
But it wasn’t all salad and kibbeh, the live cooking stations include a bakery, a crepe station and a shawarma stand as well as a mains selection filled with the most mouthwatering lamb meatballs and cooked to perfection fish, amongst other things. Fans of the traditional Ouzi can look forward to a large helping of the staple rice and meat dish and there is even a small selection of Indian dishes available if you feel like going a little more international.
If you feel like getting a little continental, dessert is just the thing for you, with a choice of East meets West dishes on offer you can choose from cheesecake and chocolate mousse or a selection of traditional Arabic sweet pastries and dates.