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Iftar of the day: Asateer, Atlantis The Palm

tabloid! reviews iftar offerings around town

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If simple, good food, a great ambience and a traditional twist to a contemporary iftar is what your palate is craving, take note. This Ramadan, all roads lead to the Asateer tent at Atlantis, The Palm.

At first glance, the tent set up outside the hotel may seem uninviting. However, a few steps in and you understand why this year's theme promises to "bring back Arabian traditions".

Besides the stunning decor, what I really liked is the ease with which boring, oft-repeated menus were given a new expression, sometimes only with the addition of a new, common ingredient.

Since I am a sweet person (pun intended), it was easy to win me over with the coffee panna cotta. And it came in measured portions, so I forgave myself for indulging in the rich, creamy, forget-me-not concoction.

Next up was my favourite stop — the Middle Eastern station. While you may be used to tahina soaking your shawarma to create a delicious mix, Asateer's tahina fountain was packed with surprises — I was amazed at how the well-seasoned sesame seed sauce transformed everyday food into something unique and exotic. For example — baked potato, fruit or even sauteed eggplant.

And while the oud and tabla players are clever to divert your attention from the calories piling up on your plate, this is one of those occasions when indulging in the scrumptious array of mixed grilled kebabs is oh-so worth it. In three words — packed with flavour.

Only in its second year, Asateer has done well for itself to cater to all culinary expectations by introducing separate stations serving authentic Italian and Indian delicacies, such as two versions of lasagna and a real good chicken biryani.

By the time you wash it down with the fresh Ramadan juices on offer I can guarantee that you will already be planning your return.

Where: Asateer tent at Atlantis, The Palm

Price: Dh165 for adults, inclusive of water and Ramadan juices, and Dh80 for children between three and 12 years of age.