Reem Al Bawadi is a bit of an institution in the UAE. Having bagged a celebrity following and a list of prestigious awards, the Arabic themed restaurant is a great choice for a traditional Iftar.
We visited the branch on Mohamed Bin Rashid Boulevard (next to Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai) last night. I’m glad we reserved a table, as there was a long queue just to get in!
Priced at AED 130 per person, the Iftar buffet at Reem Al Bawadi is loaded with traditional Arabic treats from freshly made juices, home-style soups, an array of pastries, grills and desserts.
I love the themed look and feel of Reem Al Bawadi. The interiors resemble an old souk complete with street-style lanterns, signboards to Arabic townships, gilded frames showcasing celebrities who have dined here before, and pretty porcelain artifacts reminiscent of treasures found on an exotic trip away. Even the television screens that take up every nook of the restaurant are framed in antique gold.
The staff at Reem Al Bawadi are dressed to match the theme. Sabour, ‘Captain’ to the staff on duty last night, kindly obliged my request for a photo. I think his outfit adds a touch of ‘Arabian Nights’ charm to the ambiance.
As the time for breaking fast drew near, hurried patrons loaded their plates at the buffet. There was a mad rush at the entrance to the buffet hall, and thankfully the tables had the obligatory bowl of dates to break the fast.
We were also served fresh Arabic-style apricot nectar juice at the table, and the second round of juice was a very tangy-sweet tamarind juice, which I loved and had two glass-fulls.
A waiter came by with bowls of lentil soup, served with deep-fried pita bread and wedges of lemon. The soup was dense and soulful, and I found it to be the perfect start to the meal.
The buffet offers an array of cheeses. The colorful feta blocks caught my eye, and my 4 year-old daughter insisted on having a slice of the red one. Once at the table, she gave out a squeal of shock as the red coating turned out to be fiery hot paprika! She was easily appeased with giant gulps of the apricot nectar. I, being a fan of spicy-hot, went back for more of the pretty red feta. Delish!
Freshly baked khubz (Arabic pita bread), hot and puffed up from the oven, were served on the table. We had them with the soup, with a spread of cheese, and as accompaniments to the endless array of Arabic mains from the buffet.
Here is a glimpse at some of the dishes at the buffet:
Apart from offering a scrumptious array of Arabic delicacies, Reem Al Bawadi is taking a societal stand this Ramadan and encouraging patrons to add AED 20 to their bill. This will be used to buy Iftar meals for laborers throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
The Iftar buffet at Reem Al Bawadi is priced at AED 130 person. Reem Al Bawadi has 6 branches across the UAE. For more information, visit their website. During Ramadan, I would strongly advise booking in advance.