Inspirational Iftar @ The Gem Garden
Holiday Inn, Al Barsha – Reviewed by Aiza Castillo-Domingo
After three months of morning sickness and fussy first trimester taste buds, I headed to The Gem Garden at the Holiday Inn Al Barsha with an open mind and an overly excited appetite.
Upon arrival in the restaurant, I was impressed by its zen-like atmosphere – the ceilings were swathed in light green fabric, which gave everything an airy feel.
We were given traditional Arabic coffee and dates and then ushered to our seats beside the sumptuous buffet, which offered an overwhelming choice of more than 70 dishes in Indian, Thai, Arabic and Continental cuisines.
But it was the Arabic theme that won out overall – the air was scented with heady bukhoor incense, and Arab songs played softly in the background, along with the relaxing notes of a live flute player.
I wished I could have sampled a bit of everything, but my friend and I had to start somewhere. We began with lentil soup, which was perfectly creamy in texture, before moving on to the hot mezze. We agreed we had found the most delicious fried shrimp dumpling – it was a succulent, blissful treat. The babaganoush was an absolute delight and so was the fresh and tangy fasolia salad.
For our main course, we enjoyed the Arabic mixed grill with its juicy, tasty and tender meat, along with baked aubergine, which was hearty and savoury. By this time we were stuffed, but were persuaded to taste the karouf mahshi – lamb ouzi with rice – which was truly delicious.
We rounded things off with marble cheescake, which instantly won my heart. The attentive service and great food here are sure not to disappoint.
Details: The Gem Garden restaurant, Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha. Dh120 per person. Partnering with United Nations for the World Food Program, the restaurant has pledged to feed four hungry children for every iftar.
Call 04 323 4333 or email email@example.com