x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Abu Dhabi hotel opens huge Ramadan Pavilion

Emirates Palace hotel yesterday showed off its Ramadan Pavilion - the largest purpose-built Ramadan tent in Abu Dhabi.

The Ramadan Pavilion at Emirates Palace hotel can seat 730 guests. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
The Ramadan Pavilion at Emirates Palace hotel can seat 730 guests. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National

ABU DHABI // Emirates Palace hotel yesterday showed off its Ramadan Pavilion - the largest purpose-built Ramadan tent in Abu Dhabi.

Spread over 2,400 square metres, the tent can seat 730 guests. It comprises of a large open dining area, four private majlises and a lounge overlooking the beach. The hotel's Emirati restaurant, Mezlai, will provide catering for the iftar buffet, working with local farms and suppliers to maintain authenticity.

The buffet will feature a range of traditional Arabic dishes; hot and cold mezza, goat with oriental rice, kebab with saffron and herbs, hammour, chicken harees, traditional Ramadan juices and more.

During the suhoor service, guests can order a la carte, smoke shisha and play cards, dominos, or the Syrian game tawla, a form of backgammon.

Sandro Gamba, Emirates Palace's French executive chef, heads a team of 300 people. The Parisian personally took the photographs scattered around the buffet, depicting images of traditional Emirati lifestyle and cuisine. He spent the past three months preparing the Ramadan project, beginning with a trip to a local market.

Mr Gamba said: "We try as much as we can to use ingredients from the Abu Dhabi area. We like to know the farmer, where the food is coming from and that it is in season.

"Not only is this better than having to buy from somewhere like China, but it supports the local community."

He said the suhoor a la carte menu would be a mix of purely Emirati and Arabic cuisine and, overall, more refined.

Avsar Koc, Kempinski regional director of sales for India, Middle East & Africa, said Emirates Palace did not want to cut any corners in the holy month.

Mr Koc said: "Our target audience is mainly people fasting. But we also want to encourage others to come and enjoy the venue, observe the traditional artefacts and really understand the culture behind Ramadan."

The entrance price for the Ramadan pavilion is Dh249 per person, excluding an additional 16 per cent for tax and tourism fees.

Mohammed Al Aoui, communication manager at Emirates Palace, said: "It's not about the price, or even just the food, or the shisha. It's about the atmosphere and the experience. Some people can't afford it but if you compare the price with other hotels, its not a big difference."

The pavilion will open shortly before iftar and close at 2am.

Contact the restaurant reservations team for Ramadan bookings at 02 690 7999 or restaurants@emiratespalace.ae.

halbustani@thenational.ae