Jul 23, 2013

Lafayette Gourmet's Grand Iftar Buffet

Iftar buffets are common in the UAE, but you've never seen one done as beautifully as the one at Gourmet Lafayette located on the top level of Galaries Lafayette at the Dubai Mall.  As I approached the well lit dining area I was overwhelmed with the colorful array of food.  The eager staff quickly greeted me, and walked me over to my table.  The entire operation is run efficiently and systematically, to ensure everyone's iftar experience at Lafayette Gourmet is stellar.  
Chef Russell Impiazi is the executive chef and puts his stamp of approval on everything that comes out of their skilled kitchens.  Each salad was prepared with the freshest vegetables, cheeses, and protein. Everything from the savory seared ahi tuna with tangy capers and perfectly roasted peppers to the sweet beetroot and  creamy goat cheese salad, its all just divine. 
Even the sushi boats were plentiful with meticulously placed rolls, sliced nigiri, and sashimi.  There was plenty to choose from including some vegetarian rolls for the non-seafood eaters. The cold station was more than enough for a light iftar, as it had substantial items that could qualify as a complete meal. However, the chefs made sure to recommend some of the hot items as well, specifically the harira soup, a Morrocan Ramadan delicacy. Zesty and full of flavor this healthy soup was jam packed with nourishing ingredients such as lamb, chickpeas, tomatoes, and a medley of spices! 
 I really found it difficult to tear myself away form the cold section especially with items as pretty as this chilled prawn salad with sprouts and a crisp mango relish.  However, my friend was equally obsessed with the manakish prepared fresh on the Saj strategically positioned along with the other starters.  This was one of the most popular items as they were being picked up as quickly as they were being made.  Available in Zaatar, plain cheese, or a combination of both, this qualifies as real Middle Eastern comfort food. 
 We eventually made our way over to the hot food station just as the quintessential lamb ouzi was being sliced.  The meat was cooked to perfection, well seasoned, and accompanied with the buttery rice topped with crispy onions and toasted nuts .  Based on presentation alone this dish was difficult to resist!
After such a lavish meal, I had mentally prepared myself for the real calorie fest, as there was an enormous selection of desserts waiting for us.  The spread included a rich cheesecake, baklava, Lafayette Gourmet's famous chocolate chip cookies, some sugar free puddings, plus much much more!  I ended up tasting a little bit of everything, but have to say the cheesecake was my all time favorite. 

The Lafayett Gourmet Iftar is available for AED 145 per person, which is pretty much one of the best deals you can find for quality cuisine in this city.  Just make sure you call ahead for bookings as it's a busy time and they like to be prepared for all their guests.  Phone 04 339 9933 ext 2394

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