Iftar @ Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor

If your’re a foodie and you’ve never heard of Sanjeev Kapoor then you must of been living under a rock. He’s an Indian chef famously known for his role on Khana Khazana and has multiple cook books up his sleeve.

Unfortunately you won’t find the man himself cooking up a storm in the kitchen however I am reassured by the pleasant staff that all of his recipes and cooking tips and tricks have been passed down to the chefs to provide a signature experience.IMG_8889Firstly I’m here with a bunch, some 20-30 odd foodies to try this Iftar preview.

The ambiance as you enter Signature is sleek and chic complete with personalized crockery, obscure decor and wooden floor boards. As well as the indoor dining area they also have an al fresco dining area complete with a bar and is suitable for smoking shisha.IMG_8901Before the Iftar menu even arrives the table is set with dates, olives, fresh fruits including my fav choc dipped strawberries, baklava as well as salads and cold Arabic mezze.IMG_8872IMG_8873IMG_8875The server asks if we are after veg or non veg and that’s for the starter & main options. Before the starter even arrives, out comes a display of 5 varying chutneys (my favorite being the mango) along with papas and also a stand of pani puri. I’m told rather than pour the liquid inside the crisp shell to firstly crunch the shell then sip the liquid afterwards. Or was it vice versa. I can’t really remember all that I do know is that the flavors are intense and I’m hoping sets the tone for what’s ahead.IMG_8876IMG_8878The non-veg starters arrive and it’s a platter consisting of a juicy saffron scented king prawn, a slice of chicken roulade which has been stuffed with nuts, a grilled fish which has been spiked with sumac and a charcoal roasted lamb chop which melts in your mouth.IMG_8888The starter, so filling in itself, it’s lucky the mains, which is served directly onto your plate, is a controlled portion as don’t forget there’s a dessert tray still to come.

So the mains included a lalla mussa dal, a chicken biryani and a veggie pot which I must of missed along with some very greasy but moreish naan and paratha to soak it all up with. A little anti-climax after the starters being so good.IMG_8905After a slight breather, we are ready to try the desserts which are served as individual portions on a fancy display. There’s a mahalabia, phirnee, chenna angoori as well as malpua and gajar ka halwa. I’m not usually a fan of Indian desserts as I find them too sweet on my palette, however the mahalabia was quite enjoyable.IMG_8909The Iftar is priced at 149dhs per person and the restaurant opens from 7 til midnight. The service can be quite slow therefore you can break your fast at your table and then sit back, relax and enjoy shisha in the terrace until your heart desires.

A special shout out goes to Deepti for the invite and hosting such a great evening!

For reservations call 04 386 8111

Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Turkish Iftar at Saray Sultan

A welcome invite saw myself and a friend attend an Iftar Preview at a Turkish restaurant called Saray Sultan. If you’ve heard of Reem Mall then you will find Saray Sultan upstairs in this complex complete with it’s own terrace dining area. Reem Mall is also home to the famous dessert cafe Dip N Dip.IMG_8737IMG_8772Upon arrival we are greeted by Louis who is the Restaurant Manager. Saray Sultan prides itself on serving up authentic Turkish cuisine with Turkish chefs in the kitchen with over 20 years experience.

The Iftar preview menu starts off with a plate of dates and olives. An unusual combination of sweet and salty. Then arrives a warm lentil soup followed closely by freshly baked bread, pide, cold mezze and salad.IMG_8738IMG_8742IMG_8748The Saray mix mezze also come with vine leaves on the side and includes a hummus, baba ganoosh, and a yoghurt salad plus a spicier dip made from fresh chilis.IMG_8744Can I just say this pide was unbelievably tasty. If I didn’t have to share I would of devoured this fresh from the oven pide filled with labna and cheese all to myself.

Lucky I didn’t though because not long after arrived a Saray Special pizza with meat & vegetables. The crust was so thick it reminded me of a Chicago deep dish pizza.IMG_8750An impressive chicken sizzler came out straight from the oven, bubbling and steaming right in front of our eyes.

If you thought we were nearing the end you were wrong. A perfectly grilled chicken shish tawouk arrives with some more bread, this time it’s a flat bread with a tomato based sauce filling, as well as a plate FULL of Beef and Chicken Doner Meat complete with a side of fries. WOW!IMG_8757IMG_8762Gluten intolerant people should beware, as should vegetarians. This is one carb loaded, carnivorous meal.

It was impossible to think we could eat a dessert, any of us, so luckily the kunafe they serve is to share. As expected they serve traditional Turkish coffee and tea and oh boy do we need it. It’s the only thing helping us to digest this heavy, filling meal.IMG_8763IMG_8769Saray Sultan offer two Iftar menus, the aforementioned for 150aed per person including drinks or another option (with less food) for just 75aed per person.

It’s needless to say I have a new found love of Turkish cuisine.

Saray Sultan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Swaadish – Delicious by name and delicious by nature

If you’ve heard about Swaadish then you probably know about their specialty. A Nutella Samosa which oozes with so much Nutella one would think a whole jar was inside. The twist is that the pastry outside is dry and not oily and also contains a dusting of spice which is unusually different but immensely enjoyable. Avoid wearing white when visiting.

Enough of the warnings though. If you haven’t heard about or seen the new mall, confusingly called “The Mall” in Jumeirah 3, then add it into your GPS as this is the place you need to visit as it’s cute little food court is home to Swaadish. The mall is brand spanking new. It’s a quiet mall which means the parking is plentiful and the experience, peaceful.IMG_9200The owner Raza greets us as he is one of the staff behind the counter, and he works around the clock to ensure the smooth running of this newly opened Pakistani fast food restaurant, a rarity to find inside a mall. Their delivery side of the business is the most popular with them covering Dubai Media City all the way up to J3.

The produce is all supplied by 3 local vendors and the owner Raza himself is previously a Thai trained Chef but decided to stick to his roots and open up this subcontinental kitchen.

As it was Ramadan when we visited they provided dates, a fruit salad and a sweet Rooh Afza (Strawberry flavored) Non-Alcoholic Margarita to help my friends break their fast.

We started with some traditional Dahi Bharray, a cool yoghurt mixture topped with crunchy salad slices and spices.IMG_9201We then munched on these crunchy pakoras; battered and deep fried onions with a mixture of herbs and spices.IMG_9203We then moved onto the mains with a Butter Chicken, a Daal Bukhara and a Mutton Peshawari, all rich in flavor but with their own identities, with the Mutton being a favorite among us.IMG_9204There’s nothing quite like a large, thick and fluffy buttery, garlic naan to soak up your curries with, so fresh n hot out the kitchen that R. Kelly would be jelly.IMG_9208We also tried Swaadish’s Chicken Tikka Biryani which was a little dry for me and personally I would of preferred chicken pieces rather than bone is as it makes it easier for eating and especially sharing.IMG_9206The Chicken Gola Kabab which I foolishly thought was “cola” kabab due to my poor eyesight was perfectly browned minced chicken pieces blended with a mixture of spices and yoghurt and served with magical Masala Fries.IMG_9205I say the fries are magical because they transport me to another place. They create an addiction like no other and I just can’t get enough that I have to order more.

But it’s not all about fried foods, for the health conscious they also have a fresh salad bar.IMG_9215And serve freshly squeezed OJ out of this cool contraption.IMG_9216So it’s safe to say I’ll be going back again to Swaadish as I HAVE to try the Doritos Chaana Chat and for more of these deliciously magically addictive Masala Fries.

Location: The Mall, Jumeirah Beach Rd, Opposite Burj Al Arab.

Parking available underneath.

Phone: 80079223

Swaadish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Iftar @ A La Turca, Rixos, The Palm

If you’re a lover of Turkish food then you are in for a treat this Ramadan. Al La Turca in Rixos The Palm is dishing up some of the best Turkish dishes in town. (This has been verified by my Turkish flat mate who joined me for the Iftar evening).IMG_8590There is so much choice it can be a little overwhelming at first but it’s easy to navigate and there is plenty of staff on hand if you need some help.IMG_8616IMG_8618IMG_8612IMG_8623Freshly baked pide, soups, salads, mezze, Turkish doner, mante, the list goes on. The stuffed eggplant had to be my favorite as I even went back for seconds.IMG_8605IMG_8604Not to forget the always delicious and traditional Arabic baked lamb ouzi.IMG_8610They also have a live pasta station where they add blue cheese & walnuts. Mmmm.IMG_8632I loved the addition of the live BBQ station where you can select your meat be in T-Bone, beef fillets or lamb chops to be freshly grilled to your liking outside.IMG_8631Turkish ice cream stand provides entertainment for all the onlookers. There was even a Turkish sweet stand outside.IMG_8593The dessert options are plentiful with something to please everyone’s taste buds. My favorite was the Turkish delight stand with multiple flavored Turkish Delights to choose from.IMG_8594Fresh fruit stands line the outdoor seating area for guests to help them selves to.IMG_8592Turkish coffee and tea are available for after your meal are is included in the package.

The service is 5 star from the moment you arrive until the time you leave even though it’s a full house. It’s probably one of the best Iftars I’ve been to in Dubai in terms of offerings.

At 185aed for adults it’s a little on the higher end but it’s well worth it for what you get. If you’re taking kids with you between the age of 4-12 they dine at half price while kids under 4 eat free.

The iftar buffet is available from sunset until 9pm which is a little more generous than some other places which are kicking you out the door by 8:30pm.

For reservations call 04 457 54 54 or email dine.dubai@rixos.com

A La Turca - Rixos The Palm Dubai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Iftar @ The Constellation Ballroom, The Address Dubai Marina

From the moment the lift opens onto the 2nd floor, the candle’s flicker and the warm staff are there to greet you. You talk a stroll down the red carpet lined with traditional lanterns which leads to the main food hall. The first thing you will see is this impressive array of dates and dried fruits.IMG_7036You are then shown to your table which is in the Constellation ballroom, grand and decorated with a modern take on a traditional arabic theme. The tables are all lined with white tablecloths and also has dates and water waiting for you to break your fast.

The oud plays in the centre set the scene while you wait for the call to prayer to play out. The buffet offering in the main hall literally has something for everyone. From the traditional arabic offerings, to Indian (curries)…IMG_7051Chinese (dim sum & noodles)IMG_7055To Japanese (sushi) and everything in between. I even remember seeing some Mexican dishes.

The selection of hot and cold mezze was impressive and to be honest a little overwhelming. But I stuck to the basics, hummus, fattoush etc & I wasn’t disappointed.IMG_7040There was a selection of freshly fried dishes too including falafels and samboosas.IMG_7045The lengths they go to impress their guests is nothing but 5 star. Check out this clever quite literally “date palm”. So cool!IMG_7044They even had a live sharwarma station as well as ready made chicken sharwarmas for the taking.IMG_7047They don’t just have your standard boring plain bread options either. Check out these flavor combinations below. So delicious!IMG_7048As well as the most sought after Iftar dish, Lamb Ouzi they also had a rather large roasted turkey for the carving.IMG_7053Inside the ballroom is also a tea station serving Moroccan mint tea either with or without sugar. Perfect to help digest dinner.IMG_7049One of the dessert sections was dedicated to fresh fruit and ice cream. I particularly liked the exotic fruit they had ‘rambutan’ which is native to Asia. It’s almost like a lychee.IMG_7050Look how cute these kanufa nests are filled with pistachios. The birds would be jealous!IMG_7064Even some chocolate mousse with cream and berries for the traditionalists.IMG_7071There was even a selection of Indian desserts.IMG_7079There was more desserts that you could poke a stick at. Including this gorgeously presented pistachio fruit cake.IMG_7080The Constellation Ballroom holds over 400 guests but you do not feel cramped in the slightest. Nor do you feel you have to queue up for food. The well through out buffet table arrangement means people move freely from station to station. The staff provide drink replenishments straight to your table (think freshly squeezed juices and a traditional tamarind juice) and the two dessert stations inside as well as the ice cream station are cleverly positioned to avoid queues.

The Iftar is priced at 210AED per person with discounts available for large groups.

Don’t forget to hashtag Ramadan Sawa on the photos taken with the Ramadan Sawa frame for a chance to win an Iftar or a one night’s stay at the hotel. #RamadanSawa

Phone: 04 436 7777

Constellation Ballroom - The Address Dubai Marina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aseelah – Fine dining Emirati cuisine

It was head Chef Uwe from Germany who had an idea some 5 years back to create a fine dining Emirati restaurant. It took a long time to bring it to life but for those who have already had the privilege of dining at Aseelah, they would agree with me when I say it was definitely worth the wait.IMG_8465The glamorous venue is a modern take on traditional Emirati decor which will leave you in awe. Radisson Blu Deira is home to some great restaurants, another one of them being The China Club.IMG_8466At the time when I dined the inside decor and the outside shisha patio overlooking the pool and the Dubai Creek were yet to be complete. This didn’t stop the Aseelah from impressing.IMG_8467The restaurant is broken down into 3 areas with 3 separate menus. One is a lounge with an Arabic DJ and a fully licensed bar. The second the formal dining area with 2 live cooking stations, one including a wood fire oven to freshly bake Arabic bread and the other which will be a hot and cold dessert station.IMG_8474I loved the crockery design. It added to the finesse of the place. Thess our waitress for the day was very polite and attentive. Upon arrival they serve a saffron shot.IMG_8468Aseelah is the only licensed Emirati restaurant in Dubai. The shisha restaurant is set to serve of 70 different flavors of shisha.IMG_8470They serve a refreshing menu of mocktails as well as serve a sweet date bread as a pre appetizer.IMG_8481We weren’t the only ones to order this fabulous beetroot carpaccio with rocket and a tahini flavored laban. The best part is it’s made with fresh local ingredients.IMG_8484We then wet our palettes with this warm and comforting chicken vermicilli noodle soup with fried onions and local spices. Aromatic and full of flavor.IMG_8486Our mains included this smoked rack of lamb with a saffron and cardamom infused gravy which in my opinion dulled the flavor of the smoked meat. It comes served with a side of walnut and apricot cous cous, underneath a large spoonful of sauteed spinach.IMG_8492The tastiest of the mains had to be this machboos fish. We asked for the gravy on the side as it is quite spicy with a mix of onions capsicums and spices but if anything it only enhanced the taste of the fish. We also asked to swap for the arabic date rice which was lovely and sweet. IMG_8494I finally tried camel! In the form of these trio camel sliders below each with a different topping. They aren’t as tough as what most people say camel meat is like because Chef Uwe makes the patties the same as he has done for years as passed down through generations, with a helping of onions and breadcrumbs. They come served with my favorite type of fries, sweet potato!IMG_8496When it came to tea time we were overwhelmed by the choices but the best part is this fancy menu with the option of smelling the various herbal and floral aromas before making your final decision.IMG_8500Not only that they present the tea in this gorgeous clear teapot along with a timer for brewing the tea exactly to your liking.IMG_8508We were then spoilt with dessert options from the traditional luqaimat to a baked cardamom cheesecake and a warm date cake served with mango and passionfruit ice cream; the latter being my favorite.IMG_8510The saffron cheesecake looked fabulous presented in this dark chocolate sphere sprayed in gold but the saffron flavor was not present. Regardless of the taste we were impressed by the presentation.IMG_8517I am already planning my return visit for Ramadan this year. At 165AED a pop this is such great value for the level of service and the quality of food you will receive in this modern Levantine restaurant.

Location: Radisson Blu, Baniyas, Dubai

Phone: 04 2057333

Aseelah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tremendous Tresind

Having opened it’s doors back in October 2014, Tresind has got a name for itself. Ranked 4.9/5 on Zomato UAE it’s not hard to see why this fine dining Indian restaurant sits above all the rest.

The word “Tresind” is a breakdown of French “Tres Bien” meaning very good as well as an abbreviation of Indian. Although no short cuts are taken when it comes to impressing their guests.

Tresind is on the 2nd floor of the stunning Nasima Royal Hotel and the restaurant is classified as fine dining. We have an early reservation which sees only ourselves and a few others occupying tables at the time. However this increases as the night goes on.

Over the next 3 hours we embark on a exploration of senses through Tresind’s Summer menu.

The plush leather high back seats are extremely comfortable. You know you’re in a fine dining restaurant when there is a full white linen table cloths. The background music matches the formal ambiance.IMG_6770The welcome scroll from the co-founder including a personalized note was such a touching gesture. I’ve never experienced such 5 star service before.IMG_6773When I saw the way the deconstructed pani puri shot was made with a solution of sodium algenate, I knew we were in for a great evening. The creativeness of Chef Himanshu Saini had already started to shine through as well as the attention to detail.

We enjoyed some fruity beverages during the evening. The ice berry blast was presented in a box like a treasure chest and another was a bubbling science project in a yard glass. Unfortunately I didn’t have the best lighting for the drink photos.IMG_6789This unusual looking salad served like a pot plant had stiff cos leaves poked into a bombay kachumber cream, with an olive crumble and crispy shards of ciabatta. Tasty!IMG_6797The chicken tikka carpaccio came resting on cling film, when pierced the smell of applewood smoke came wafting from underneath. I loved the sweetness against the acidic tamarind sauce brought out by the pomegranate seeds and lychees. A recommended dish.IMG_6798The tandoori style lamb chop served with a rosemary reduction and ghee roast potato was so soft that I bet it was cooked in a sous vide. Superb!IMG_6802This chicken, garlic, parsley and black pepper dish was so flavorful and served in a giant pestle. Don’t let the color of the dish put your off as it’s so tasty you’ll be begging for more.IMG_6806I got excited every time the trolley is wheeled to my table, as I wondered what type of masterpiece I will get to visually then literally get to sink my teeth into. This time it’s a 5oz blackmore wagyu which is cooked perfectly to my specification but I ask to have the extra fat removed. It’s sliced in front of us and placed on a bed of sauteed veg and served with a variation of Indian pickles, each with their own varying flavor.IMG_6811The sea bass recheado is also prepared at the table with the finishing touches as per the image below. Served in a very  cute and quirky way.IMG_6815The modernist chaat trolley is like a work of art. The waiter improvises his way around the trolley making an effortless masterpiece which I did not want to eat because it looked so damn pretty but at the same time I’m glad I did as there was such a flavor explosion in my mouth that I’ve been craving this ever since.IMG_6819The Australian lamb shank was my favorite dish of the evening served as a lamb biriyani. The chunks of meat just fell off the bone and the portion size is very large so would be the perfect dish for sharing.IMG_6826The channa bhatura is a Moroccan style chickpea dish cooked in an authentic tajine. The garnishes bring the dish to life with additional color and flavor.IMG_6828The first of three desserts to arrive was an icy pop made from tender coconut payasam, lavender honey and lemon sorbet.IMG_6832The daulat ki chaat was by far my favorite dish served with sohn papdi crumble and sprinkled with an edible 24 carat gold dust and decorated with rose petals.IMG_6833Unlike Farzi Cafe, I felt the service at Tresind was at a much more relaxed pace and I didn’t feel rushed. In fact we dined there for around 3 hours. Akash our server was ever so helpful in explaining everything to us and making sure we had a pleasant dining experience.

As the evening concludes I am content but also sad that this whole experience has come to an end. But the good news is there is loads of deals on to keep you and me going back again.

Tresind offers lunch deals
An exclusive 4-course lunch menu, perfect for those quick corporate lunches, starting from AED 145, Sunday to Thursday, every week.

This Ramadan Tresind is offering the following deal:
Enjoy the choicest selection of biryanis, curries, tajines and traditional Arabian inspired delicacies, with the unique Tresind twist for Iftar and Suhoor during the holy month of Ramadan. Priced at AED 200

option 3

They also have a new branch of restaurant opening called Carnival by Tresind due to open in DIFC this July. Watch this space.

For reservations, call 043080440 OR 0564209754.

Tresind Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Iftar preview at Al Maeda

Al Maeda is an upscale middle eastern restaurant located on the 1st floor in the Double Tree by Hilton along JBR. The location was a little awkward to reach as the direction we came from we couldn’t get into the valet parking so instead parked on a sandy block out the front of the hotel. We eventually made it to the restaurant which has an entrance from the side of the hotel, rather than having to walk right the way through it.

The well lit entrance is decorated with lanterns and the pleasant staff await your arrival and show you to your table. I particularly liked the tiled flooring which added to the Levant theme.

The buffet although not huge in size still has enough variety to help you break your fast. Each table is lit by candles and has a bowl of dates whilst the staff offer Ramadan drinks including laban, a lemon mint beverage or a tamarind juice (just to name a few) which have sugar to help replenish your sugar levels after fasting.IMG_7014Although there is an outdoor terrace with a sea view (perfect for those shisha smokers) it may be a bit warm outside now in the evenings, so for those just wanting to dine, I’d recommend booking your table inside.

The spread starts with a range of freshly baked breads, those of which the arabic bread is brought straight to your table fresh from the oven.

You can expect a range of salads and hot and cold mezzes, a vast selection of hot soups and dishes and an impressive range of fresh fruits and desserts. IMG_6981The best cold mezzeh was by far the beetroot moutabel. Rich in color and taste.

The hot food includes a selection of Moroccan tagines as well as roast beef and chicken.

My favorite offering of the evening was the tender, slow cooked, lamb ouzi which just oozed with flavor. Get it? 😛

There’s a range of exotic fruits as well as western desserts but also arabic puddings on offer so something to suit everyone’s taste buds.IMG_7001We ended our meal with some Moroccan tea to aid with the digestion.IMG_7013The restaurant is family friendly offering kids pizza and pasta as an alternative to the buffet spread.

Once Ramadan starts (expected date 6th June) Al Maeda will come alive with live musicians adding to the whole experience.

To enhance the Iftar dining experience, guests can discover the talent of the Emirati artist Ahmed Al Muhairi who will be showcasing his work throughout the month. Guests are also invited to participate in a raffle draw to win a Mussandam Dhow Cruise for two with every 100 AED spent.

IMG_7012Iftar buffet inclusive of Ramadan drinks is just AED 139. Sohour a la carte menu offers standard platter for AED 69 and a premium platter for AED 89.

Location: 1st floor, DoubleTree by Hilton, The Walk, JBR

Phone: 04 453 3333

Al Maeda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato