The Food Byte: A Moroccon Iftar at Pullman Hotel, Deira City Centre

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The month of Ramadan is quite special for Muslims. It's a month where things change for several people and to some extent, it is almost a new year for us. One of the best things about Ramadan is the time of breaking the fast, also known as Iftar.

For me, it is the time when my brother and I sit across each other and not fight (like cats and dogs). It is also a time to eat (more like chow down) all the amazing dishes mom prepares especially desserts (who doesn't like mohalabiya?). I mean, after a day's worth of fasting you have got to consume sugar to kickstart those energy levels, right? 

Last week I was invited to an Iftar preview at the Pullman Hotel, Deira City Centre. The Medley Restaurant hosted a Moroccon feast and while this was the first time I indulged in such a cuisine, I wasn't disappointed. 

I am a picky eater and while I do experiment with food on and off, I went into Medley Restaurant with little expectation. My entire gastronomic adventure was an incredible experience. 

The delicacies served were of Arabic cuisine but with a Moroccon twist, all prepared by Chef Mama. 

For appetizers, we were treated to an assortment of freshly baked treats such as quiche, kibbeh, cheese fatayer among other things.

I must say the restaurant has incredibly crispy kibbeh, cooked to perfection. I love this particular food item and you will find it in almost every restaurant in the UAE. However, only a few get it right and Medley definitely did. 

If you are a seafood fan, I recommend the Grilled Asparagus Salad with Orange and Octopus (mom's favorite) or the tender fish slabs cooked in gravy. 

If you simply want more greens in your system, try the Marinated Grilled Vegetables with Ricotta Cheese salad. I usually have a different chicken salad every now and then but decided to test out a veggies only salad.

Ramadan is synonymous with soup, isn't it? Try the Red Lentil Soup with Lemon Wedges to give yourself a quick burst of energy. And what's a Moroccon cuisine without tagine? Sink your teeth into the delicious Chicken Tagine with Almonds and Lemon Pickle.

I recommend trying the chicken puff pastry that has a dash of icing sugar to it. It may sound awkward but you won't be disappointed. I quite loved the idea of combining savory and sweet. There's a burst of flavor in your mouth and it will leave you wanting for more.

If you are in the mood for rice, the ouzi station will fulfill that wish. Freshly prepared Lamb with Oriental Rice doesn't fail to tantalize the taste buds. 

There's always room for dessert! I was amazed at Medley Restaurant's Desserts Station. The sound of that made me want to skip the main course and make a bee line for the treats. My friends and family know I have a sweet tooth. They also know I love making desserts. Hence, I appreciate eateries that put in extra effort when crafting a desserts menu. 

Suffice to say, the desserts station was heavenly. Almost every Arabic sweet I know of was served- Basbousa, Knafa, my all time favorite Bakhlava, Warbat and Cream, Katayef bil Kashta, Umm Ali, and several Morocoon treats. They even have a chocolate fountain (not Arabic, but who's complaining)! 

It felt like Eid! The variety of desserts are more than one can consume and there's definitely something for everyone, even if you don't have a sweet tooth. 

The desserts sealed the deal for me. The Basbousa was mouth-watering. This semolina cake takes the second spot after bakhlava for me and it is associated with childhood memories. Years ago, my dad first had the Basbousa at an office party. He loved it so much, he decided to make it over the weekend. From then on, almost every weekend was Basbousa weekend at home. 

To our delight, we discovered variations of Basbousa. It is also quite easy to make but requires a lot of patience (which I lack in). 

I wanted to try a bit of every dessert at the station but it was impossible to do so. Apart from the basbousa and other desserts, I loved Awamat/Awama. They are crispy dough balls dunked in either sugar syrup or honey. 

Did I mention how delicious Znoud el Sit was? I loved the fact that there were more than 10 dessert dishes to feast on (thank you, Chef Mama!). I've noticed it several times that 5-star hotels don't really invest a lot in their desserts menu for Ramadan- they focus more on the savory. 

Medley Restaurant also serves Suhoor and it is as delightful as Iftar. The Suhoor buffet initiates at 1am until sunrise and is billed at AED 120 per person, whereas the Iftar buffet is available from sunset to 11pm at AED 115 per person (when booked before June 5). Both sessions for kids aged 6-12 years are charged at AED 70 whereas the ones below 6 years of age eat for free.

Medley Restaurant is located in Pullman Hotel, Deira City Centre. Call 04- 294 1222 to book a table or connect with them on Facebook

Medley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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