Al Hadheerah, Bab Al Shams' Iftar Menu

by Jannat & Pawan Manghnani on June 17th, 2016

About

A magical Arabian celebration awaits you as the sun sets on Al Hadheerah, amidst the enchanting desert dunes of Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa. Immerse yourself in Arabian culture within the walls of a traditional fort where you will witness a dazzling falconry display, camel caravan, horse show as well as Tanoura dancer. Be entertained throughout the evening as mesmerising dancers weave their magic beneath the stars to the sounds of a live band. 

There is also no mistaking the mouth-watering aroma of Arabic cuisine as it drifts from the live cooking stations, wood-fired ovens and spit roasts. 

Al Hadheerah is so much more than a restaurant, it is an incredible event that you have to witness. 

Review

Iftar dinners have been definitely been all the rage this year, with one fantastic experience preceding the other! My wife and I, had the fortune of being invited to the cream de la cream of all iftars at the Al Hadeerah tent at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa for an Iftar tasting session.

I have been to Bab Al Shams n number of times but my wife in her one year of shifting to Dubai from Mumbai hadn’t been to the Bab Al Shams yet, but had obviously heard tons about it and was the most excited, so much so that she cancelled her plans to make it here on time and all I did was to hope it was good enough for this effort of hers and luckily we weren’t disappointed one bit! 

The Ambiance

We live in JLT, so for us it was around an hour and fifteen minutes away, but the Al Qudra Road is a fun and easy road to drive on! So the tent was a bit away from the main resort but in the vicinity. Carpets made up for the walk way leading to the dining area which were full of fun things like little pop-up stores selling local souvenirs and belly dancing belts etc.

The Salads

There was a massive booth dedicated purely to salads. It was impossible to eat the salads and all the food. So we stuck to the basics. ​What stood out amongst the salad was my favourite fatoosh and a bean salad which gave a pungent crunch to the meals.

The Breads

The break basket wasn't just a basket but an entire area dedicated to fresh hot breads to choose from. While the breads in itself were extremely soft and tasty, they could make a decent meal on its own.

The Appetizers

​We were greeted by the most friendliest staff who led us to our table with a small warning that said “Don’t fill up on the salads”. Amused and famished after that long drive, we sat ourselves and demolished the already placed (but covered) Classic Cold Mezze Platter on the table which consisted of bowls of Hummus our favorite dip made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.
​Creamy Labneh with Mint which is basically yogurt that has been strained to remove its whey, resulting in a thicker consistency than unstrained yogurt, while preserving yogurt's distinctive, sour taste.
​Baba Ganoush is a popular Levantine dish of eggplant (aubergine) mashed and mixed with various seasonings. Frequently the eggplant is baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste. Baba ghanoush is usually eaten as a dip with pita bread, and is sometimes added to other dishes. It is usually of an earthy light brown color. Looked gorgeous with its texture and tasted absolutely delectable.
​Moutabel similar to Baba Ghanoush is another Levantine dish, which also includes mashed cooked aubergines, tahini mixed with salt, pepper, olive oil, and anar seeds. Mutabbal is sometimes said to be a spicier version of Baba Ghanoush.

They got us fresh and hot pita breads in like 5 seconds of us sitting. Looking around, we realized people of all ages had come, almost all in large groups, just indulging in food and having a good time! After a quick photo session of the arena we went around to the buffet area to get some more food! 

The Drinks

​So much VIMTO, Hind tamarind, and date juice called Jallab! My wife hadn’t tried either till then and totally understood the Vimto craze. Of course they served juices and aerated beverages if asked. 

​Vimto is a soft drink originating from England. It was first manufactured as a health tonic in cordial form, then decades later as a carbonated drink. It contains the juice of grapes, raspberries and blackcurrants, flavoured with herbs and spices. Vimto has always been popular in the Middle East and especially during the month of Ramadan, its sales spike up in this region. ​It is also a favorite on the morning of Eid when it is eaten with cookies and candies. As sickeningly sweet it is, its quite addictive!
Jallab:
​Jallab is a type of fruit syrup popular in the Middle East made from carob, dates, grape molasses and rose water, diluting it with water then smoked with Arabic incense in some cases. While I have always been a fan of Jallab this particular version was served in  a tall glass with crushed ice and floating pine nuts adding to the already unique taste.
Tamar Hindi:
Again, Tamar Hindi another widely popular drink during summers and Ramadan in the Middle East region. 
Fresh Juices:
Our guests asked for fresh juices and settled for the soothing mint lemonade and refreshing orange juice.

The Food

There was an insane amount of food spread which was highly appealing to us hungry souls! We took the good mans advice and didn’t stock up on the salads but instead tried a few that were so cutely portioned and seven in little glasses to mason jars!
​Omg they had butter chicken! Yes, indeed its the least Arabic dish ever but it made my heart happy. The had pasta with béchamel and meat, There was a roast meat section which chicken and lamb, some sautéed veggies for the side! The food was good and the variety was exceptional however we just felt it was a bit toned down- maybe for the kind of crowd?
​They had a live shawarma station for meat and chicken- which was good but we did find them to be a tad bit bland for our taste!
Wide array of stuffed veggies with rice! A favourite amongst the non-carnivores! I tried it too and it was actually really good! Especially the giant capsicum one. the vine leaves are an acquired taste but we did see them being picked up by mostly all.
A live manakeesh counter that did cheese, meat and zaatar varieties! Fresh and hot saj breads being replaced by the minute! 
​Alongside there was a live kebab section with varieties like chicken, lamb and prawns being flame grilled.
Giant and juicy meat and veggies laid out for the barbecue and for the grill!!! This counter had the most queue but it was definitely worth the wait for perfectly BBQ'ed shank of meat!

The Entertainment

There were couple of singers who sang some beautiful Arabic numbers. Their rendition was soothing the the mind, body and soul and added to the overall effect of being transported in an Arabian adventure.

Midway through the dinner, the entertainment begins! This uber talented guy in the pictures below enters the room offering some arabic coffee to the diners in a very fancy "dallah" which is basically a turkish tea pot, and makes his way to the stage.
All set for the performance we watch him as he gets ready with his props and begins what is called a "Tanoura dance" which is very similar to a Sufi whirling derwish! It went on for a good 15 minutes in so many capacities that everyone was mesmerised with the way he handlesd the props and then incorporated the "light" segment! Absolutely magnificient! It was truly an awe-inspiring experience to witness something like that! 
Oh and of course theres always something for everyone, so on out way out we noticed these cute ponies for the kids to ride on! 

The Desserts

​​Mind Blown! Not only did they look good but they tasted spectacular! Again So many to list but the winners were the date cake, kunafa, chocolate cake, flavoured jellies which were made in house and were literally bursting with flavour, the 10 types of baklavas available and they also had a Turkish ice cream cart with Caramel, Tiramisu and Peach flavours!
Jellies:
Colorful jellies garnished with soothing coconut shavings. A childhood favourite! The lemon was by far the best!
Vanilla Sponge Cake:
Tasted better than it looked! Perfectly crumbly cake, that had not gone dry and ample sponge cake feels! I still don't understand the fascination with the gel on the fruits? But apart from that, a tryable dish.
Death by Baklawa:
Obviously a favourite of the crowd, and people couldn't get enough of it! The pistachio ones are my favourite, but that didn't prohibit me from trying a piece of almost every variety available! Thank God I'm not allergic to nuts!
Baby Churros:
NOT. You would think they are baby churros but these are actually soaked in a sweet syrup, and taste beyond amazing! Must've grabbed a few every time I passed by.
Halwa Shawarma:
​​One thing that every one was talking about was the Halwa Shawarma Station laden with 4 different types of Halwas! So pretty, and it didn’t taste gimmick-y which was the best bit! Love it when chefs and pastry chefs take some risk and become creative with their art.

Rating

​Interiors –
Excellent

Location –
Excellent

Ambiance –
Excellent

Value for Money –
Good

Service & Hospitality –
Excellent

Quality & Taste of Food –
Good

Cost –
AED 250 per person, inclusive of still water , soft drinks , Arabic Coffee & Ramadan Juices. Iftar Buffet from sunset to 8.00pm.

​AED 350 per person, inclusive of still water , soft drinks , Arabic Coffee & Ramadan Juices. Dinner from 8.30pm to 11.30pm.

Cuisine –
Lebanese, Arabian

Phone –
​04 5508308

Address –
​Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Al Qudra Road, Near Dubai World Central, Dubai World Central, Dubai

Verdict

Al Hadheerah Tent is one of the MOST picturesque iftars we’ve been to in a while, and the set up/the ambiance created by the Bab Al Shams team is out of an Arab fairytale book vis a vis 1001 Arabian Nights, and will appeal to tourists and residents alike! The cherry on the cake is that the food and service are also unbeatable, so for 250/- this ones an unmissable deal! 
​Power Couple & Lifestyle Bloggers Jannat Manghnani (@PriyankaVidhani) & Pawan Manghnani (@AyaashPaw) love food. It's the only thing they eat. They embark on a unique adventure every evening trying to break free from the routine while soaking in a new experience, well detailed into blogs so friends & family can benefit from them. Read about the entire experience by checking out their various blogs. Remember, A drop of ink may make a million think.


Posted in Food ~ The Tasterpreneur    Tagged with bab al shams, ramadan, iftar, arabian, desert


4 Comments

niharika - June 18th, 2016 at 4:39 AM
wow, that is some detailing
Michelle - June 18th, 2016 at 6:07 AM
Will definitely try it out!
Thanks Paw!!
Clarie - June 18th, 2016 at 10:14 AM
thanks for the post. Planning to go there on Monday, but what does it mean from Iftar to 8pm? It is just the arrival time, right? I guess you can stay as long as you need to.
Pawan Manghnani - June 20th, 2016 at 2:29 PM
Hey Clarie,
This was the information provided to me. I was a guest. You can call the hotel on 04 550 8308 for more information.

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