Abu Dhabi’s Shangri La hotel never fails to amaze and astound us. It’s not just the stunning location on the shores of Khor Al Maqta nor the lavish surroundings and impressive architecture.
In our relatively short time blogging, the Shangri La Qaryat Al Beri, have played host some of the most exciting events in the capital. From mixology with Cihan Anadologlu (the man behind the cocktails at the Academy Awards), to the first birthday celebrations at P&C with Michelin starred chef Sergi Arola himself. As a brand synonymous with luxury and sophistication, the Shangri La are pulling out all the stops this Ramadan, ensuring guests are provided with an exceptional dining experience.
So despite feeling a little Iftar’d out, we gladly accepted an invitation to the Iftar preview at Sofra BLD, the Shangri La’s all day dining restaurant and waited with anticipation for the stunning surprises that were about to unfold.
Chef Bader Najeeb Al Awadhi – known as Chef B to his 74.5k Instagram followers – has become quite a culinary sensation. At just twenty years old this young Emirati chef is doing exceptional work in a female dominated industry and is fast becoming a local celebrity. His YouTube channel has amassed over 10,000 subscribers and offers tips and tricks on baking and cookery. So its no surprise that this Ramadan, Chef B has collaborated with the Shangri La, to provide Iftar and Suhoor diners with a magical gastronomic dessert.
Awadhi’s signature Ramadan dessert will be offered throughout the holy month by the man himself and features a smoked ice cream, edible chocolate coffee cups, caramel sauce and a crunchy crumble. We were lucky enough to preview the dessert and must say that the smoking effect provides the ice cream with the flavour of a freshly toasted marshmallow, there is a hit of coffee and the innovation of the edible cups is nothing but impressive.
Awadhi’s passion for baking and desserts is evident in the immaculate presentation of the dish and he spoke charismatically about his newest creation, that is set to dazzle diners this Ramadan season. His distinct style includes the addition of Arabian ingredients to his dishes to give them a distinctly Emirati touch and he will be present in the Ramadan tent on the 9th and 16th June 2016. So bookings are essential.
Now on to the rest of the Iftar… If you have ever visited the extravagant Friday brunch at Sofra, then you know exactly what to expect. Sofra’s grand Iftar buffet is a slightly scaled back version of the weekly lavish brunch. The trio of chocolate fountains that are synonymous with the restaurant stand proudly in the centre of the room, as a focal point of oozing decadence.
The venue itself is flanked by a grand staircase that leads downwards from the hotel lobby into a space that is both enchanting and serene, full of warm tones and organic textures, that accentuate the tasteful Arabic decor.
What we appreciated most about the Iftar offering was the fact that it is not entirely Arabesque. Levantine offerings are most definitely present but the focus steers more towards international buffet. Wth a delightful selection of fresh seafood, paella and tagines, taking guests on a culinary tour of the world, with a seemingly endless selection of dishes.
Fresh fruits, salad stations, sushi and a bakery (featuring fresh breads and pizzas) round out the appetisers. While an Indian section, cheese counter and grills make for some sumptuous main courses. If live cooking is more your thing, Asian inspired dishes are wok fried before your very eyes.
Yet at Shangri La, the desserts are what draw us back time and again, as all are so inviting and bewitching to the senses. From the aforementioned chocolate fountains, to the ice cream counter, cakes and fridges piled high with chilled desserts. The dessert selection offered by the team at Shangri La Abu Dhabi is a veritable feast that wouldn’t be amiss is Willy Wonker’s chocolate factory.
Iftar will be held at Sofra BLD for the general public at a cost of 205 AED ++ (inclusive of soft drinks and Ramadan beverages). Meanwhile, the hotel’s Ramadan tent will be open for corporate and group Iftar. The tent will include entertainment in the form of an oud player and will also screen all of the Euro games from 9pm – 1am.
For Suhoor, the Ramadan tent will be open to the general public and its location on the North beach provides stunning views over the iconic Sheikh Zayed grand Mosque.
Location: Shangri La, Qaryat Al Beri, Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi
Contact: 02 418 2511
We were invited to dine at The Shangri La. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated. Sofro interior photos used courtesy of Shangri La and Time Out Abu Dhabi.
Read more of Out & About UAE’s adventures at The Shangri La Abu Dhabi: Mixology With Cihan Anadologlu