We are counting down to the most beautiful month of the year; a month of piety, abstinence and self-reflection. Ramadan is also a month of communal gatherings and feasting.
On Thursday 27th April, I went to my very first Iftar preview this season at the Cavendish, Bonnington Hotel (JLT). The last time we were here, we were treated to a decadent Italian fare (click here for more on that). The suave, sophisticated interiors, complete with its starched white table cloths, dazzling chandeliers and well-suited staff, create the perfect setting for dining with panache. For the month of Ramadan, Cavendish has put together a gastronomic fare infusing international favorites with the exotic elements of the Middle East.
You know its Ramadan when chilled signature juices hit the menu. When I’m fasting, the first thing I reach out to is a glass of water, and then I load myself with drinks. At the Cavendish, they’ve got you covered with Iftar classics incluing Qamar El Din (dried apricot nectar), Karkade (Hibiscus juice), Jallab (an Arabesque mix of carob, grapes, date molases and rose syrup), and my favorite, the Tamar Hindi (a sweet and sour tamarind drink).
When fasting, it is important to stay hydrated. Apart from water and juices, the Cavendish Iftar menu includes a soup counter, and I absolutely devoured the moreishly wholesome Harira Soup, an loaded it with zaatar and lemon croutons.
The Salad Station of the buffet is loaded with very interesting mixes. Apart from the usual cold cuts and Arabic mezzes, I really enjoyed the fusion Rocca Salad that included a toss of zattar, onion, mushroom, tomato and sumac. Another favorite was the Moussaka salad featuring cauliflower flowerets and a tahina base. My daughter, who is a very fussy eater, had two helpings of their Chicken & Corn Salad.
For hot starters, the buffet includes several favorites including chicken sambusa, cheese roll, spinach fatayer, meat sambusa and lamb kibbeh. My favorite was their Lamb Kibbeh, crunchy on the outside and packed with flavorful mince on the inside.
And how can an Arabesque Iftar be complete without Lamb Ouzi? The one we had at the Cavendish was by far one of the best I’ve ever had. The lamb was succulently soft, the rice pilaf fragrant and loaded with the aromatic scent of traditional spices. The Ouzi here is kept warm with heating lights, and diners can enjoy this star dish at just the right temperature. After all, there’s nothing worse than cold, hard meat.
Apart from the Ouzi, the Cavendish buffet offers a wide range of options for the main course. You really are spoilt for choice here, and its near impossible to try them all in one sitting. Some of my favorites included the Chicken Biryani, the Lamb Shank Tagine, the Whole Roasted Hammour and the Rosemary & Garlic Lamb Chops.
Have a major sweet-tooth? There are so many options to explore here at the dessert counter! I loved the warm, cheesy Konaffa here, and the berry-loaded cheesecake. My little one went hyper over their premium ice-cream selection, and the Hubster (who rarely opts for dessert) has been raving about their tangy-sweet Lemon Tarts.
With its sophisticated interiors and a buffet that is brimming with flavorful choices for the entire family, Cavendish is the perfect choice for an Iftar to impress! I’ve been to many Iftar buffets in the past, but very few manage to keep the quality and flavor levels up for each and every dish. At Cavendish, we couldn’t find fault with anything and I definitely want to be back for their delicious Ouzi!
The Cavendish Restaurant & Terrace will be open daily during Ramadan for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6.30 am till 9.30 pm. The Iftar buffet starts after sunset, and costs AED 159 per person. Children under 6 dine for free, and children aged between 6 to 12 get 50% off.
Iftar at the Cavendish includes complimentary shisha at Healey’s Terrace!
Early bird bookings made before 25th May get a special rate of AED 119 per person! To book a table, give them a call on +971 4 356 0600 or drop them a line on email@example.com
Photos courtesy Bonnington Hotel, JLT.