With under a week to go for Eid, the festive ending to the month-long fasting on the Muslim calendar, I for one am really going to miss Ramadan.

There’s something magical about this holy month. Apart from the shorter work hours, the piety and communal eating through Iftars, the late night prayers and the Suhoor meal, make for a month out of the ordinary. I hope you all have been having a blessed month.avocado date linseed shake recipe vegan paleo 1

Last night, I created yet another smoothie for Suhoor (my last one was a Blueberry Smoothie). This one is a healthful blend of avocado and dates. It’s highly nutritious, thick and super-easy to make.

According to Wikipedia, 42% of the UAE population is made up of Indian nationals. Out of this big majority, a major chunk of UAE’s Indian population hails from the South Indian state of Kerala.

With Malayalee tea-shops and restaurants in every nook and corner of the country, you’d be hard pressed finding a UAE resident who hasn’t had Kerala cuisine some time or another.

I’ve had my fair share of dosas, chicken chukkas, and appam with chicken stew.  Yet my friend Hema, a native of Kerala, kept insisting truly authentic cuisine from her state was far more diverse than that. So last Thursday, she took us to Kerala Castle; a casual family-style joint in the heart of the residential area in Al Nahda-2, Dubai.

Kerala Castle review (15)

I’ve been fortunate to have attended a number of Iftars this Ramadan, and it’s been pretty challenging keeping the weighing-scale in check!

Living in Dubai, foodies are truly blessed with the plethora of dining options and today’s post is a round-up of some of the scrumptious Iftars I’ve had the pleasure of trying this past few weeks.

On Tuesday evening, we had a media invite for Iftar at Panorama Restaurant, Emirates Grand Hotel. Centrally located on Sheikh Zayed Road, the restaurant boasts of great views from the 43rd floor.

Image taken from the restaurant's website.
Image taken from the restaurant’s website.

This was my first time at Emirates Grand Hotel, and I was therefore unsure of what to expect. I read a review on Zomato where a contributor had given Panorama Restaurant a scoring of 4.5 out of 5 for being the perfect choice for an intimate, undisturbed date. However, as a media event, our Iftar was far from ‘intimate’ and every table was packed!

Tanabata (七夕, meaning “Evening of the seventh”), also known as the Star Festival, is a Japanese festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. – Wikipedia.

Legend has it that on this day, two besotted lovers, Altair and Vega, reunite on the cosmic plane. In Japan, Tanabata is a National holiday. Streets are decorated with colorful paper mache, and special wishes are written on tanzaku paper and hung on trees for good fortune.

Toko, the multi-award winning contemporary Japanese restaurant hailing from Sydney (Australia), offers modern ‘izakaya’ style dining in an impeccably designed setting. We were there last night, and yes! We even got to place our wishes on the wishing tree!

toko dubai review (17)

Suhoor is the early morning meal Muslims the world over wake up to before the crack of dawn. It is a very early breakfast before bowing down to prayers and asking the Almighty for acceptance of the fast.

We have been enjoying far too many extravagant Iftars this Ramadan, and I am taking the Suhoor meal to nourish from within. To fulfill my ‘5 a day’, a smoothie is a sure-fire way to quickly consume a number of fruits in one sitting.

Last night I came up with a delicious concoction, and wanted to share the recipe with you least I forget it!

blueberry smoothie for suhoor avocado chia banana

I interviewed Michelin Star Chef Vardon in an earlier post here, and had the pleasure of trying out a number of his creations at La Residence Restaurant & Lounge, Raffles Dubai last week.

Chef Vardon has been kind enough to share the recipe for one of his signature dishes with us; John Dory with Shellfish Garnish & Salted Butter Shavings. I hope you give this fine-dining dish a try at home!

Chef Vardon’s Recipe John Dory with Shellfish Garnish & Salted Butter Shavings

Still unsure on where to take your troop for an Iftar treat? ‘The Eatery’ restaurant at Four Points by Sheraton (on Sheikh Zayed Road) might be your answer.

Priced at AED 130 per person, The Eatery offers special discounts for big groups. For every 10 guests, 2 people dine for free, and children under 12 can enjoy the extensive buffet at no cost.The Eatery Four Points by Sheraton Iftar review (16)

We were invited for Iftar at ‘The Eatery’ last evening, and really enjoyed the variety of dishes on offer.

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.

Reem Al Bawadi Iftar Review (6)

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!