Iftar review: Market at The Abu Dhabi Edition is Middle Eastern food done just right
Located within the gorgeous hotel in Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen, Market's selection of regional dishes are of the highest quality
With nearly every hotel worth their five-star rating putting on an iftar this Ramadan, there are two ways to stand out from the pack.
The first is down to the enduring quality of the spread, which invites repeated visits. This station is only attained on the back of years of service and fine-tuning. The second way to be visible is easier but also has its pitfalls: be the new kid on the block.
With the country’s food lovers always looking for a new place to dine, an iftar at a recently opened hotel often attracts an enthusiastic crowd made up of the curious and those looking for a change of scene.
However, that newfound attention can easily turn sour. In what is an increasingly competitive market, first impressions count and there is no substitute for Ramadan word of mouth to lift or sink a new establishment.
When it comes to new players in Abu Dhabi debuting their iftar service this holy month, the most high profile is undoubtedly The Abu Dhabi Edition. Slick and gorgeously designed, this posh and boutique hotel is located in a quiet enclave in Al Bateen and comes with its own picturesque marina promenade.
The iftar is served in its airy and serene dining hall, Market. For its inaugural Ramadan season, the hotel kept the cuisine traditional Middle Eastern. However, it is served with the class that is true to the brand.
What to expect and where to sit ?
One big bonus of Market is that it is near to the front door. There is no long and convoluted walk to your Ramadan dates here. Instead, you only need to take a few steps into the lobby to find the venue on your left. The loos are easily accessible outside and staff are on hand to guide to the prayer room, which is only a few minutes away on the other-side of the lobby. From the orange sun-kissed colour scheme to the bright seating, Market exudes a smart casual vibe.
The food stations are spread throughout the venue. The cold foods are essentially near the entry, while the hot main meals are located in a pocket on the other-side. If you are a couple, there is a neat row of tables on the right near the entryway, while there are long tables for families in the middle of eatery.
Traditional Middle Eastern grub done well. There are no real surprises here but the execution is excellent. The humous and the Harrira dips were smooth, while the lentil soup was just on the right side of thick.
The hot food is full of solid offerings. The Lamb Kufta had a welcome spice uncommon to large hotel iftars, while the Shish Tawook was a delicious jumble of chicken cubes and onion. The lamb chops, for long a dicey proposition in iftars, were continuously inspected by chefs to ensure none were dry.
When it comes to desert, make sure you don’t go too heavy on the Um Ali or the Kunafa and save space for the camel ice cream. It’s creamy and has hints of caramel flavouring. It will surely result in one of those, "I can’t believe I am eating camel" moments.
Also be sure to check out the excellent array of fruit juices available, from lemon lime to watermelon. They all come in cute small glass bottles complete with the hotel logo. Classy.
It is the Harees. Before you roll your eyes and wonder why I chose this rustic gulf dish from a sea of meats and rice, consider this: finding a good harees, normally a staple of Emirati home-cooking, in a hotel buffet is the culinary equivalent of spotting a unicorn. They are often lumpy and devoid of all flavour and taste like bland sludge. Market’s version was consistent, well spiced with delicious slow cooked meat. I had to come back a second time to ensure my taste-buds weren’t deceiving me.
Value for money and contact information
For the consistent quality of the spread, the Dh180 price tag is not too high. Iftar at The Market is meant to be enjoyed at slow pace, and the relaxed vibe makes it a good option for a medium sized business or family gatherings. The iftar service begins at sunset and ends at 9.30pm.
For reservations, contact The Abu Dhabi Edition on 02 208 0000
This iftar was reviewed at the invitation of the hotel
Updated: May 24, 2019 03:34 PM