Image Credit: Supplied

With live oud music, luxe interiors and a lavish spread of Middle Eastern and international dishes, iftar at The Palace Downtown Dubai’s Ewaan oozes Arabian hospitality, spiced with a tinge of royalty. 

There’s a vast selection, but this establishment’s reputation was built on dishes from the region, so we gave these the most attention. The lamb ouzi deserves first mention. A ubiquitous staple at Arabian buffets, what set this ouzi apart was peanuts, which added a satisfyingly crunchy twist. Avinash Mohan, Head Chef of Ewaan, says this was a deliberate decision to separate the dish from the crowd. In fact, he says the same of the (relatively) healthier sea bass, which is served in a cumin and carrot sauce rather than the typical lemon butter gravy: “What I wanted to do with this whole menu was move away from local flavours.” 

The star dish was very much a local favourite. The sayadieh, a tenderly baked hammour on a bed of brown caramelised onion-flavoured rice, was a shot of salty joy into our veins. Like most recidivists, we kept going back for more. This simple dish — it’s even served with a caramelised onion sauce but the repetition doesn’t take anything away — was a winner. The three-hour marinated fish was possibly the softest GN Focus has ever bit into. 

Home-made ice cream won dessert, with fresh crepes an honourable runner-up. Traditionalists can tuck into the knafe, though it’s not as soft as some we’ve enjoyed in the UAE over the past few years. 

We loved the sayadieh

Verdict The finest Arabian fare in a luxurious setting

Details Dh255 per person (25 per cent off during the first week of Ramadan); 50 per cent off for children aged 6-11; free for those under 6; sunset to 9pm