Elite Resort & Spa Muharraq was once again quick off the blocks in the race to entice family and friends to join together to break their fasts during the coming holy month.
In a dress rehearsal for the huge hospitality operation, the resort was buzzing last Wednesday evening with lights leading the way along a decorative path by the pool to the entrance of its acclaimed Al Noor Tent.
Food-lovers annually flock to this destination to enjoy Arabian Nights-themed iftars and ghabgas and Hani Sadek, the property’s food & beverages manager, said the team’s challenge has been to work even harder and improve the offerings each year.
It’s that gritty professionalism that shines through the moment you walk through the entrance into the seaside hotel’s majestic marquee where guests are greeted by the smiling face of a traditionally-attired gentleman pouring a welcoming cup of Arabic coffee.
The structure is perfectly designed with a comfortable dining area and friendly, fast and impressively efficient staff at the ready to fill up glasses and take away empty plates as foot-tapping and classical Arabic music played live on stage serenades the crowd.
The airy ambience is spot on too, with space to walk around and converse because it’s the season to meet and greet as well as to tuck into the night-time fare.
Although, all that chatting can build up the appetite even on a non-fasting day as was clear from the appreciative gathering who lined up for the enormous buffet.
The spread of food is spectacular with freshly-prepared flavoursome dishes, a stunning array of salads as well as marvellous main courses all prepared ‘in house’ … and we’ll talk about the desserts later.
The classic Lentil Soup was almost in the ladle until I spotted the sign for a Cream of Salmon alternative which was rich and full of flavour.
The salads, so familiar at these functions such as Tabouleh and Mutabal Turki did not disappoint but the Beetroot Salad was superb. I’ve become a big of a fan of this vegetable and urge you to try a clever Beetroot Arancini, these deep-fried beetroot risotto balls are finger-lickin’ delicious.
Again, congratulations to the chefs because alongside the Arabic dishes are some European and Asian favourites too alongside little surprises such as this small round masterpiece. One of my Italian friends says that in Sicily, Arancini are served as a traditional street food and at home, he says they are a great way to use leftover risotto and beetroot is a triumph when mixed with goat’s cheese.
The sizable sushi was impressive and there was a stunningly colourful plate of healthy cuisine featuring green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, black olives alongside sliced boiled eggs and shavings of beetroot for an added twist.
Let’s not forget the meat, as some marvellous dishes on display included Tikka Bahraini (love it!), Shawarma slices and Chicken Biryani. And, of course, everyone’s favourite Ouzi.
It features, of course, very slow cooked lamb, the type that melts in the mouth the moment you place a piece on your tongue, together with roasted nuts, raisins and served over rice.
The chef plating the dish gave me a great tip, which I can’t believe I’ve never registered before. If you want really moist, steaming hot rice alongside the lamb, ask for a spoonful directly under the meat. Of course, it makes absolute sense!
Save some room for the sweets though as you can’t have iftars and ghabgas without something specially goo-liscious to look forward to.
I bumped into Executive Pastry Chef Nady Awadalla who always thrives on the challenge of creating desserts that look as good as they taste. The chocolate creations in particular was major masterpieces, particularly the ones adorned with red berries on top.
Talk about a sweet sensation of choices with marvellous macaroon, kunafa, baqlawa and other assorted delicious desserts. Please don’t miss out on the mango panna cotta, saffron mousse dome or the good lady wife Kathryn’s favourite, crème brulèe.
One of the dessert tables featured a cutely-designed Elite cake aircraft … these guys are really ready to fly high this Ramadan.
The Al Noor Tent will feature iftar and ghabga, both priced at BD9.9++, with suhoor (early morning meal to prepare for the fast) priced at BD5.5++. Call 17313333 or 38884415 for more details.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
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