Reem Al Bawadi’s website says many customers consider it a ‘home away from home’. And they take the term seriously. Enter the warm, cosy interiors done up in cheerful tones of orange and you’ll be led to a table with dates and water at iftar time.
Follow a circular route (you will be directed through) and you’ll find yourself in an ensconced area where food abounds. Start off with soups — the day I went the selection was chicken-corn and lentil — and follow it up with some salad. They’ve got everything from fresh, light and lemony tabbouleh to mutabbal.
I walked through in a daze; this colourful bounty is sure to break even the toughest dieter. They’ve got an assortment of bite-sized starters, from fish fingers (crisp on the outside, flaky on the inside) to samosas (stuffed with meat and very, very flavourful). The baby manakeesh are warm and cheesy and the spring rolls ... ah! Those spring rolls.
There are birianis as well, lamb and chicken, but I headed to the meaty section: there’s beef chops with mushroom; black forest steak (I’d never heard of this before: it’s a beautifully done piece of meat in gravy); and shish taouk. Now here I lost my inhibitions and piled up my plate with delicious morsels of chicken and lamb, which had been grilled to perfection.
Armed with enough food to keep me fed for a few days, I headed to my table, noting others around me had similar looks of assorted satisfaction (these were on the tables with the empty plates), anticipation (for those with plates that looked like mine did) and dozy (the ones who were leaving).
No sooner had I started my gluttonous rampage did someone show up asking if I wanted fresh, hot Arabian bread and next came the offer of apricot juice. This I couldn’t resist — the cool sweet drink went well with my food, but if it’s not for you, there’s a whole selection of Ramadan-special drinks you can try.
Satisfied, but greedy, I went back.
Reem Al Bawadi has a lovely assortment of cheeses of various colours and fresh fruits that you can pair with them. While this held my fancy for a bit, it’s located right next to the dessert, and so that was that.
It was time to fuel up on sugar.
There were the usual must-haves, the Umm Ali and rice pudding, a delicious creamy concoction with traces of rose water, eclairs and carrot cake, and then I spotted the champion of the evening: a layered cake with blueberry spread.
In short, Reem Al Bawadi has a large repertoire of filling, flavourful, healthy (and unhealthy) treats, which will lull you into a deep state of satisfaction. Should you try it? I’ll say it as loudly as my full stomach will allow: Yes. But it’s not just about you. At Reem, during Ramadan add Dh20 to your bill and the company will use it to provide a worker with a meal.
Where: Reem Al Bawadi Dubai Marina. Other locations include Jumeirah, Downtown and Shaikh Zayed Road.
Cost: Dh130 (the menu changes every day). Suhoor is available as well, after midnight. The set menu is Dh65.
Call: 04 4522525