Iftars in Dubai during the month of Ramadan are a common affair. While some may be with humble offerings, some choose to offer a rather lavish spread. One such place was the Manzil Downtown Dubai by Vida Resorts. I was invited there for Iftar last week, and I’m glad I accepted. The hotel, upon entering was beautiful. Inspired by Arabic interiors, they have gorgeous chandeliers and an entrance that one just can’t miss!
The buffet was provided in two areas, namely the Courtyard and the Boulevard. The courtyard was mainly filled with people who wanted to smoke sheesha. As I didn’t like the hot weather much, I preferred to dine inside. Before breaking fast, a kind lady served us a plate of dates and dry fruits. The buffet was a generous spread. With the starters, main course, and dessert in different halls. I quite liked this arrangement as it prevented people from crowding up in one large hall.
Everything about the decor is Middle Eastern, the beautiful lanterns placed on the tables, the drinks, sheesha, and even the food. The dates and dry fruits of different varieties were placed in wooden boxes, which I loved. What a wonderful idea! I even loved the owl shaped drink pitchers. Perfect!
For drinks, we had options of Jallab (a drink that has become my favorite), Tamarind, Laban and Kamarrudin (my first time trying this, it tasted more or less like Tang. It was also the same color) We obviously had three glasses of Jallab during the course of our meal. 😀
The salads and starters were placed in the other hall. I loved how there were so many types of salads and dips. (Hummus, Muhammara, Mujaddara and Eggplant Zaalouk to name a few) The beef and shrimp salad were my favorites. Mainly, as I’m not that a salad person and having meat in salad helps. 😛
I really liked how they had different types of cheese, Halloumi, my favorite type was also placed there. The hot mezze included kibbeh, samosas, spring rolls filled with cheese, chicken wings and sausages and falafels. They also had minced meat, as well as zaatar manakish. All of this was already a lot for mom and me. We decided to go for our prayers, which was very convenient as it was provided in one of the rooms of the hotel. As we returned, we noticed that our plates had been cleared and our glasses refilled with water. This was the service of Manzil! The servers were very helpful and even asked us if we wanted something at appropriate intervals. We were also asked for coffee or tea after our starters, and I opted for a Mochaccino that was brought to me in a large cup. This was helpful before our main course and the large selection of desserts.
For mains, we had the lamb ouzi (a famously known Arabic version of the biryani) served with curd, vermicelli rice, vegetable couscous, Indian kebabs, Arabic grill, fish with rice, chicken with potatoes and also a dish that was served with kibbehs in curd. What I loved was the Lamb Ouzi. The dish was beautifully garnished, with pine seeds, cashew nuts, and peas on top. The meat was tender and soft to cut through with well-cooked rice. This was the star of the buffet. The grills were served on sticks which were a bit difficult to eat, but I liked it nonetheless.
Moving to desserts, the course that sums up the entire meal. This was very neatly arranged on a table that had types of cake, Arabic sweets, and fruits. The caked included Tiramisu, Red Velvet cake, Chocolate mousse and a toffee banana cake. My favorite was obviously the last one. The cake actually had pieces of banana! It was a soft and creamy cake with layers of toffee and an essence of banana in between. A wonderful combination!
The Arabic sweets were appreciated by mom. We almost gave the Umm Ali and sticky toffee pudding a miss! Since it was placed on a different table in the corner, we didn’t quite notice it until the very end. And then we had to give it a try of course! Even when my tummy couldn’t take it, my heart didn’t agree. I had to taste it and did not regret in the least. The Umm Ali was rich and creamy. The sticky toffee pudding was sinful and delectable. One of the best I’ve had.
With an amazing decor, a calm atmosphere that encourages family time, the food that speaks for the country’s culture and heritage, it’s an experience you almost can’t miss. All in all, Manzil Downtown Dubai offers an experience that is truly beautiful inside and out.
The buffet is priced at 170 AED per person. Contact 04 4285888 for details.
Happy eating until then. xx