It’s awful, terrible, catastrophic, and just very, very sad when you’re a foodie and bogged down by the cold. But on a weekend when you’ve got the licence to go to a place like Atisuto and treat your taste buds, it requires some ingenuity, some insane remedies — a vapour rub bonanza — for a chance to experience happiness.
Yet that’s the predicament I found myself in this week. Smelling like a cocktail of peppermint and nervousness, I proceeded to the door at The Galleria Mall, convincing myself all the way that I do NOT stink of hospitals.
The decor is a captivating mix of Japanese-style seating, with details such as a group of fans that double up as lamps and seating that looks crazy uncomfortable — there are no cushions on those wooden benches — but offers a gentle pressure that borders on massaging. The servers are friendly and as the clock struck meal time, we were offered water and dates and a refreshing rose water-based sweet drink. Now came the tricky part; I am allergic to eggs, something the iftar menu supplies much of in various forms. Fortunately, I was offered a tweaked meal plan.
First up, the soup. There was a lovely mushroom cream soup with a light earthy flavour for those who are OK with eggs; for me, there was a warm (complete with the flavour of the sea) miso soup.
Next came a bowlful of salad: fresh and crunchy with an apple puree for dressing. Two bites in, we were done; sad really, for the lush mixed leaves and the tangy flavour of the topping were a good pair; we just aren’t big on greens.
The next round brought relief: There was chicken yakitori, nasu dengaku, gyoza, spring roll and ebi tempura for my companion, who could consume the egg; for me, there was extra yakitori and a fried chicken dish.
The highlight of the evening was the lovely yakisoba — my egg noodles were substituted with soba noodles and were slurped down a treat, especially with a spice mix that came with a twist, nigella seeds — and dynamite prawn (and perfectly fried prawn for me).
Last up was the matcha creme brulee, an unfortunate sugary concoction.
But another bite of the yakisoba and I was satisfied again.
The only sad part? I could now smell the peppermint.
Where: Multiple locations
Timings: 7pm to 2am
FIVE OTHER IFTARS TO TRY
Where: Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah
What: The Layali Al Aqah tent is all Arabesque, featuring all the Middle Eastern specialties you can think of, and also an extensive shisha menu.
Price: A’la Carte Menu
Timings: Sunset until 1am.
Where: Coral Beach Resort Sharjah
What: This iftar at Cote Jardin Restaurant not only comes with local and international cuisines, it’s partnered with Air Arabia to give away free air tickets daily.
Price: Dh109 per person.
Timings: Sunset until 10.30pm.
Where: Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resorts, Abu Dhabi
What: Make your iftar a getaway at this stunning resort. Options also available for Day Packages inclusive of beach access, nature and wildlife dirce and a four course iftar menu
Price: Dh105 per person (iftar only)
Timings: Sunset until 10.30pm.
Where: Marina Social, Dubai Marina
What: The three-course menu features starters such as Goat Cheese Churros and Burrata for starters. For the mains, you can opt for Cod Loin, Leek & Potato and Steamed Sea Bass etc
Timings: 7 to 9pm.
Where: InterContinental Dubai Festival City
What: Want to turn it up at iftar? This hotel’s offering its presidential suite up for an evening meal to remember, featuring personal butlers. It doesn’t get more royal than this.
Price: Dh550 per person based on a group of 8.
Timings: Sunset until 10pm.