Sofitel Hotel’s Al Barza Tent is reminiscent of a luxurious desert getaway: there are golden arches separating private tables, and a vast canopy appears to shine with shimmering stars.
The fare at the Ramadan tent keeps to the theme, with a vast offering of Arabian specialities served up to visitors.
We were seated quickly in comfy, plush chairs and asked if we wanted a tour of the facilities, which included luxurious on-site bathrooms, prayer facilities and a children’s playroom.
At the table, we noticed a number of prepared Ramadan cordials, including the ever-popular Vimto. Servers dressed in traditional clothes then came around offering mini sips of laban and glasses of tamarhindi as the adhaan was called.
The buffet itself was expansive, stretching from one end of the tent to the other. There was a large assortment of freshly baked breads, and I was delighted to find some natural, unsweetened hydration at the drinks corner: coconut water. There were also a number of Turkish sherbets for those needing a sweet fix.
The salads were mostly mirrored at two stations on either side of the tent, and I especially enjoyed the slightly sweet taste of the beet moutabbel and the fresh tabbouleh. My companion recommended the hummous, which also went well with the shawarma plates being prepared in a little enclave, and the comforting lamb harira soup.
We were spoilt for choice in terms of main courses, and I settled for a lamb taghreed, which was succulent to the bone, as well as a rabbit molokhiya. This was my first taste of rabbit, and I must say it went very well with the Arabian leaf-infused green sauce.
On the other hand, although I’ve eaten a lot of lamb ouzi, I did not regret getting myself some at Al Barza, because it was seasoned and cooked to perfection. I also thoroughly enjoyed the hammour with lemon and herb gravy.
I did regret not having more room for the mansaf though, or for the pastas and the Indian delicacies like butter chicken, but I opted instead for some dessert. There were two kinds of kunafa, both delectable, and I knew I would have liked to have more of the cheesecake and the chocolate cake. I also took note that the watermelon slices were actually deseeded and could be easily savoured.
At this point, we were asked if we wanted tea or coffee, but chose to took our leave. A courteous valet brought around the car as we stepped into the night air, satiated and gratified.
Where: Al Barza Tent, Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche.
Timings: 7pm — 10pm.
Price: Dh225 per person.