AF­TER THE SUN SETS, A FEAST

Head to the Mar­riott Al Jaddaf, one of the best places to watch the sun go down over the daz­zling Dubai sky­line this Ra­madan

Friday - - Well-being -

The first meal of the day dur­ing Ra­madan is in­ex­tri­ca­bly tied to the set­ting of the sun, a process that, here in the UAE, seems to be all too brief but none­the­less daz­zling – it’s over in a flash of or­ange be­hind a sky­scraper, or a ball of fire melt­ing into the sea.

One of the best places in Dubai to be at that mo­ment has to be around Al Khail Road, set far enough back to have a panoramic over­look of the Down­town and Shaikh Zayed Road sky­line as it turns from sil­ver to or­ange to pink. There, you’ll find a ho­tel where you can en­joy that great view, be­fore head­ing in­side to an iftar that’s per­fect for fam­i­lies.

The Mar­riott Al Jaddaf is serv­ing a wide-rang­ing iftar in its The Mar­ket­place restau­rant, with a fo­cus on Ara­bic dishes that will make most palates jump for joy. It’s a buf­fet-style iftar but as the restau­rant is of a rea­son­able size, you won’t find your­self car­ry­ing plates across miles of din­ing room – ev­ery­thing is close to hand, from the live soup, saj and ouzi sta­tions to the cold mezze and salad se­lec­tion.

Soups in­clude the clas­sic lentil, and also a hearty chicken broth, for­ti­fied with tiny pasta, which made a sooth­ing change be­fore delv­ing into the stan­dards of Ara­bic cui­sine. The baba ghanoush is fresh, tangy and won­der­fully smoky, while rice and lentils is a spiced fork­ful to start your stom­ach on its iftar jour­ney. There’s no fu­sion here, just freshly made dishes burst­ing with flavour.

It’s the ex­ten­sive main cour­ses where Mar­ket­place’s iftar comes into its own. Ex­ec­u­tive chef Es­sam Nab­han has crafted a spread of hot dishes to show­case Ara­bic cui­sine, in­clud­ing Emi­rati of­fer­ings such as ha­rees and sa­loona. The for­mer is a thick, lamb and wheat por­ridge laced with but­ter; the lat­ter a chicken stew with a to­mato broth. For lovers of meat, there are ex­cep­tion­ally juicy chicken ke­babs (shish taouk), lamb chops and Fri­day’s favourite – the golden gar­lic-and-co­rian­der-fra­grant chicken wings.

Staff are on hand to quickly clear the ev­i­dence of those fin­ger-lick­ing wings so that you can move onto the sweets – we love the cre­atively plated dou­ble-decker dishes – dessert – jalebis, Ara­bic frit­ters, gu­lab ja­muns – on the bot­tom, syrup and sauces above.

Iftar is Dh165 per per­son (Dh80 for chil­dren 6 to 12 years) from sun­set to 9pm. Chil­dren be­low 6 dine for free. Call 04 317 7777.

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