If you're not a fan of breaking your fast outside the comfort of your home, we recommend Asateer for suhoor, when you can enjoy live oud music and hookah all night
It's one of the UAE's most popular Ramadan tents, but is Asateer (Arabic for myths) all that magical?
Its atmosphere certainly is. Besides its location near the magnificent Atlantis hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, Asateer boasts its own grand entrance; we’re talking a massive indoor fountain elaborated with red rose petals, plush red carpet stretched along an elongated foyer, welcoming hostesses dressed in elegant embellished kaftans, a sea of oriental lanterns hanging softly from the ceiling and soft Arabian oud playing subtly in the background.
The buffet set-up is just as overwhelming. While the UAE is discouraging lavish iftars, it’s difficult to resist the seemingly never ending rows of mouth-watering delicacies. After all, the tent can accommodate up to 2,000 individuals.
While we’re not normally fans of buffets, particularly large ones that tend to have a reputation of quantity over quality, Asateer’s selection was quite delicious.
Our favourite dish was the tender lamb with seasoned and richly flavoured rice, as well as the crispy rolls with melting cheese on the inside. We had, of course, the traditional Arabic mezza comprising hummus, fattoush salad and kibbeh (fried minced meat ball), which was particularly tasty. We didn’t overdo the mains, but did taste the beef biryani and pasta, and give them our stamp of approval. The buffet even has a selection of sushi for those who wish to break their fast with Japanese cuisine. Asateer really offers almost every dish you could possibly imagine.
The cherry on top was the Umm Ali dish, the Egyptian bread pudding with raisins and pistachio, as well as a chocolate fountain accompanied by fresh fruits. We had it with an unlikely side of saffron ice cream, a must-try, and pistachios. An ice cream corner by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen, also made for a unique addition.
And while our experience was overall enjoyable, there are some areas that do need improvement. One problem is that the AC temperature was extremely low, meaning our food got cold very quickly despite us picking it less than 10 minutes prior to breaking our fast. Moreover, The Kanafeh dessert, famous for its cheese pull, seemed to barely have any cheese. To be fair, it could be delicious, but was not appealing enough for us to try.
The service was also quite average during iftar time, with the waiters and waitresses seemingly irritated with customer requests. Our order for coffee took at least 20 minutes after being forgotten.
However, our experience was still lovely, as we were seated opposite the tent’s windows overlooking the Arabian Gulf and shimmering Dubai skyline.
Iftar was reasonably priced, too, at a price of AED220 per person, including water, tea, coffee and Ramadan juices.
It is worth noting, though, that the dress code is quite strict, and those wearing shorts or short sleeves will be given conservative clothing.
If you’re not a fan of breaking your fast outside the comfort of your home, we recommend Asateer for suhoor, when you can enjoy live oud music and hookah all night.