The Food Byte: Iftar at 3in1 Restaurant, Vida Downtown Dubai

Sunday, July 5, 2015

One of the best things about Ramadan is the variety of food that's prepared at home. It's a different menu in Ramadan and thanks to numerous magazines and food shows on TV, I get a chance to try my hand at new recipes. And by that I mean all things sweet.

I come from a family that excels in the art of desserts. I kid you not. Starting from my grandma to my cousin, we will all happily jump on the desserts bandwagon and treat you to royal desserts. It doesn't matter how full you are, you must eat something sweet. The table spread during Eid is something to behold- apart from the ready-made desserts there will always be a handful of new home-made desserts each year. I still remember looking at the selection and wondering how I would eat it all. I couldn't. I did however, manage to eat a decadent chocolate orange truffle.

The deal with food in Ramadan is that there's way too much to eat, by the grace of God. And every time, we are faced with wastage. We cook based on everyone's preference but 90% of time, there will be extras/left-overs. It is even worse in hotels. I can imagine the quantity of food that is binned every evening. However, there are places that make an extra effort to counter this. One such place is the 3in1 Restaurant at Vida, Downtown Dubai.

It was my first time at Vida, one of Dubai's leading boutique hotels and I went in expecting the standard extravagant Arabic cuisine buffet. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized 3in1's commitment towards eliminating food wastage.

The restaurant's interiors are absolutely astounding and the attention to detail is incredible. You have the option of outdoor seating as well that overlooks a small pool nestled among the lights. Coming back to the iftar, the traditional buffet consisted of a dry fruits and drinks corner, salad bar and desserts station. In addition to this, fresh bread along with fatayer (Arabic pastry with various filling), mini zaatar and cheese manakish was baked as and when requested. The latter was done keeping in line with the no food wastage initiative.

If there's one thing pertaining to dates you should have this Ramadan, let it be the dates stuffed with candied orange peel. I had this a few years ago and it's a firm favorite of mine. They are absolutely delicious and will have you reaching out for more than one. And the best part? It's available at the dry fruits corner!

The drinks corner featured traditional Arabic drinks- laban, jalab in addition to orange, mango and apple juices.

The salad bar consisted of an array of freshly prepared greens including tabouleh, chicken and black beans, chickpeas (loved this), fathoush in addition to hummus and soups. Did you know a small bowl of chickpeas contain the same amount of protein found in half a chicken?

The main course is a set menu and this is where the hotel reminds you of their pledge towards cutting down on food wastage. Perfectly sufficient for 2 diners, the menu consists of lamb ouzi, chicken moulokieh, vegetable salona and mixed grill.

Let's start with the lamb ouzi. I've had this only one other time at a different restaurant and I found it to be quite salty. It might have been the flavors and I believed that is how the dish usually tasted. When I had the lamb ouzi at 3in1, the oriental rice and roasted lamb was neither too salty nor bland- it tasted just about right and was a delight to eat. I realized the other restaurant might have have been a little too hands on with the salt/seasoning.

Being a chicken lover (watch everyone I know roll their eyes when I say this), I went in for the chicken moulokieh next. This jute leaves in chicken stew wins me over every single time. The chicken was tender and well cooked; I kept aside the lamb from the first dish and had the rice with chicken moulokieh. Deeeelicious.

The vegetable salona is vegetables cooked in Arabic sauce and for me, it is best eaten with bread. The final dish was the mixed grill. I think this is one of the best options to have on the menu. The shish taouk and lamb koftas along with the rest of the meat were cooked to perfection.

To seal this iftar, I headed to the desserts station. They are literally the trophy of every meal (at least for me).

Can we all take a moment to appreciate how incredibly perfect and airy this chocolate mousse cake looks?

At 3in1, you have a vast selection that is split into Arabic, Western and Indian desserts. Think date pudding, basbousa, creme brulee, chocolate mousse cake, umm ali, rice pudding, mouhalabiya, Arabic cookies, yogurt cake, warbat bil kishta, bakhlava, jalebi, dumplings soaked in sugar syrup (Indian)...the list goes on.

With so many to choose from, I went in for my favorites- a small helping of basbousa, rice pudding and bakhlava. I also did try the creme brulee but just a teaspoon!

Suffice to say, they were mouthwatering. You can't go wrong with velvet like rice pudding and silky creme brulee. I love these becau- who am I kidding, I love desserts- period.

I had a brilliant time at 3in1- good food, impeccable service and love the fact that the hotel is one of the very few in Dubai that actively consider eliminating food wastage in Ramadan. They are right on top of my list when it comes to iftar recommendations.

Iftar at 3in1, Vida is available from sunset until 10pm and is priced at AED 170 per person and AED 85 for kids aged 6-12 years. Here's what you must try- the chickpea salad, the mini zaatar manakish, chicken moulokieh, rice pudding and basbousa.

Vida is located on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (Downtown Dubai). Call 04-428 6823 for reservations.

3in1 - Vida Downtown Dubai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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