Six new Iftars to try
Whether or not you’re fasting this month, loosening the belt buckle and indulging in a good Iftar is one of Ramadan’s bona fide pleasures. Fortunately, the local gastronomic scene really comes to the fore during the Holy Month, providing a smorgasbord of fantastic food orientated evenings to suit all tastes. Here we’ve detailed half a dozen new Iftars around the UAE that should be on your radar after dark.
Business Bay’s neighbourhood gourmet cafe has issued a special ‘Beat the Buffet’ Iftar challenge for its diners; essentially an eight-course menu essentially designed to push your appetite to its limits. Serving up an eclectic mix of soups, alongside the likes of kataifi prawns, pan-seared salmon and wagyu beef with mustard mash, it’s a uniformly tasty and refreshing alternative to the ubiquitous buffet-style Iftar.
Available from sundown to 12am throughout Ramadan. Dhs115, Business Bay and Al Wasl Square www.pantrycafe.me
Launched last year and resolutely one of Esquire’s favourite curry spots in the city, Junoon’s Iftar offering is an assortment of its high end cuisine ladled out in a gala-style menu. The five courses are a highlight reel of Junoon’s modern Indian dishes, including the signature chaat, delicious kebabs and a diverse variety of curries and biryanis.
Available each evening throughout Ramadan, Dhs220. Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.junoonrestaurants.com
If you want to go down the traditional Arabic route for your Iftar cuisine this month, Downtown’s stylish boutique hotel VIDA is offering a set menu boasting a fantastic spread of local dishes. Once you’ve had your fill, and providing you can manage the balmy evening climate, Vida’s terrace or pool deck also provides a great spot for some shisha or one of the restaurant’s Ramadan themed, hand-crafted beverages.
NoFiftySeven Boutique Cafe
For the duration of Ramadan, the No.FiftySeven Boutique Café in Abu Dhabi will become a pop-up called The Tent. The organisers have said it will be “more bohemian and less traditional” (so no lanterns and velvet table runners) and will be open from Iftar until the 3am daily. Ideal for you night owls who like to make an evening of the occassion, the menu will include all No.FiftySeven’s simple comfort food best sellers as well as a few Ramadan Specials that will change every night.
Available from sundown until 3am, No.FiftySeven Boutique Cafe, Abu Dhabi, no57.co/
Beachisde spot Cavalli Cafe’s first Iftar offering isn’t veering too far from its roots, serving a five-course feast of staple Italian dishes with a few subtle Arabic twists. Think traditional local appetisers like dried figs, nuts and Laban, coupled with a strong support act of antipasti platters. The fish, chicken and lamb mains are equally tasty, marginally outshone by an excellent desert selection.
Dhs 140 per person, Cavalli Caffe, JBR The Walk,
Alserkal Avenue’s trendy hotspots Ghaf Kitchen and A4 Space are launching a ‘Pop-Up’ Iftar of sorts this month; an indoor urban oasis complete with hanging plants, fairy lights and wall -to-wall terracotta plants called the ‘Ramadan Garden’. The menu breaks down in three parts, starters, mains and desert (the latter costing an extra but worthwhile dhs25) with Arabic dishes acting as a precursor to the tasty mains, the best of which can be found in the rotisserie corn-fed chicken with homemade piri piri sauce or roast leg of lamb with salsa verde.
Available throughout Ramadan from 7-10pm, Dhs 95 per person including starters and mains. Alserkal Avenue, ghafkitchen.com,