Review - Iftar Buffet at Raffles, Dubai

There is no better way to experience the richness of Middle Eastern culture than to indulge in a sumptuous Iftar buffet. Despite the plethora of Iftar buffet options in the UAE, the average diner finds it challenging to strike a consistent and gratifying experience. If you are going to experience one, I recommend starting with the one offered at Raffles Dubai. Last month I went on a gastronomic journey with Raffles Dubaiand it’s pre-Iftar offerings presented at ‘Azur’ restaurant. The ambiance is stunning with the restaurant overlooking the Raffles garden and an atmosphere which is a mixture of heritage and luxury. It presents a more contemporary take on Iftar including Arabic and international delicacies.

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Upon arrival the hostess dressed in an Arabian princess costume and the restaurant manager, who accompanied us to the table, greeted us. The Executive Chef Tuomas Heikkinen along with Chef Mohammed, who hails from the region is responsible for designing the menu items. They ventured out of the kitchen for a chat about the offerings.We started our experience with dates followed by a selection of refreshing Ramadan drinks, which included Tamarind juice, Date juice, Date smoothie, Laban and more.

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I was overwhelmed and delighted by a wide array of appetizers, which comprised–Smoked salmon salad, Steamed Prawn Makdous, Moulabel with beetroot (Eggplant and beetroot purée with tahina sauce), Baburma with greens (Arabic air-dried beet with roca leaf) and other diverse offerings. Among hot Meze, the gently spiced Sambusa stands out. The Manakish selection included meat, cheese, zaatar and vegetable. It was an interesting experience for my husband and I to sample a range of flavors before tucking into the main course.

For the Entrée, the centerpiece, was the obvious hearty dish of Lamb Ouzi.  The entrée counter also featured the uncomplicated Dawood Basha, which are Arabic-style meatballs in tomato sauce. The fish was succulent, well cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce. My husband and I were unanimous in picking the Fish presented as our favorite. The lavish Iftar featured 4 impressive live cooking stations dishing up Pasta, Fatteh, Shawarma and Mixed grill.

The sweet course served was extensive with Arabic perennial favorite Umm Ali and Kunafa. It also featured an international selection of desserts such as Sticky date pudding, Blueberry Cheesecake, Dark and White Chocolate Mousse and Linzer tart. The Fig Halwa was a clear standout. If you own a sweet tooth, you won’t be disappointed with the selection presented. Shisha is also available to guests, priced separately. The staff and the service stood out impeccable, striking the right balance of attentive but not intrusive.

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To share a meal is to share a portion of your culture. Living in Dubai, the melting pot of diverse nationalities and cuisines, it is a joy to experience the city's very own taste of culture and flavor. Whether you’re fasting as part of your faith or a foodie feasting to experience the culture, an Iftar in Raffles Dubai is something to relish and not to miss!!

Where

- Azur, Raffles Dubai. Call +971 4324 8888

Price

-       Aed 185 per person, inclusive of soft beverages and Ramadan juices.

-       With 2 Adults dining 2 children dine for free.

Timings

- Sundown to 9 pm.