If, like me, you are overwhelmed by the sheer variety served at iftar buffets, I’d recommend sampling the personalised spread at Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor at the swanky Melia Hotel in Bur Dubai. The set menu of Indian dishes with an international twist can be an alternative for those bored with the regular Arabic fare at iftars.
Expecting a fancy meal from the kitchen of the celebrated Indian chef, I arrived at the restaurant with my partner. Dim lighting, stone-panelled walls and crinkled curtains welcomed us, setting the tone for an intimate evening.
Coming in from the scorching heat or for those of you who are fasting, the almond and vanilla milk sparkler is the perfect antidote for a parched throat. Also served are crispy poppadoms (thin, crisp, disc-shaped savoury snack) with a variety of chutneys, including mint and pineapple, and shallots in vinegar.
Pacing the iftar well, the staff offered us pre-starters — a glass of refreshing Rooh Afza (concentrated squash), berries, dates, samosas and Arabic sweets. The soothing drink brought back memories of summer in India, when my mother prepared the cooler to energise us.
Over to the hors d’oeuvres. Wanting to sample everything on the set menu, I opted for the vegetarian platter. It included kurkure kebab (spring rolls), dahi ke tawa kebab (prepared with yoghurt) and mushrooms stuffed with Gouda cheese. It was refreshing to see the innovation that went behind lending an international spin to typical Indian dishes. The dishes tasted as good they sounded.
My partner dug his teeth into the non-vegetarian platter which included tawa sarson mahi (mustard fish on brioche), succulent chicken kebabs and melt-in-the-mouth prawns (infused with the flavour of sun dried ginger to lend it a Thai taste).
What I particularly loved about the Signature iftar was the attentive service which never bordered on intrusive. After regaling us with anecdotes on the preparation that goes into making dishes, the staff left us to make the most of our exclusive dining experience.
The main course comprised flavoured rice, a roti (Indian bread) platter, chicken and eggplant keema (minced chicken) and Lalla Musa dal. This creamy black lentils curry is a must-have as it oozes flavour and is unlike anything I have ever tasted before. For the veggies, there is a ladies finger (okra) dish cooked a la Hyderabadi style.
We polished off our meal with dessert: kulfi (ice cream) and gulab jamun (fried cottage cheese balls dunked in sugar syrup).
The menu ticks all the right boxes and will make you return for more of the same fare.
Where: Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor, Melia Dubai, Kuwait Street
Price: Dh149, includes welcome drink and a bottle of water