Sofra bld, a buffet restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al-Beri is nothing short of a picture perfect scenery that is situated in the Khor Al Maqta area of Abu Dhabi, . The hotel sits right on the waterway with the capital’s sunset and majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in full view. As with previous visits during the Mixology with Cihan and the 1st birthday of P&C by Sergi Arola, the Shangri-La Hotel has become quite a fascination among the Abu Dhabi crowd and a slow addiction for me – which I am liking by the way!
We were invited for an Iftar preview at the hotel’s buffet restaurant – Sofra bld. The restaurant is as exquisite as the hotel’s exterior. Inspired by the local style of souqs, the restaurant finds a commonplace between Arabian and Asian food. With a poolside al fresco dining option and a beautiful view of the Mosque which would probably be one of the reasons you wouldn’t want to skip out on Sofra bld for your Iftar this year. Sofra bld also features a Ramadan tent that hosts iftars during the holy month. As a special preview of the Iftar menu, we had the amazing opportunity to sample Emirati Chef Bader’s Signature Ramadan Desert – but more on that later.
With a bit of scouting before the plating, we got a good glimpse of the buffet’s International spread that featured a range of dishes to suit everyone’s pallet. The salad station features a traditional Arabian selection of salads like Hummus, Moutabel and Tabouleh, and a whole other selection of items including Sushi and Sashimi.
A bit of salads an appetizers down the way, I went ahead to the grill station. The selection of fish is fresh and holds a variety of local selections from prawns, hamour, sea bream, sultan ibrahim and even calamari! Just pick your fish (or a platter of fish), while you pick on your other main course till the grilled platter is served to your table.
Whilst your fish are on the grill, the path to the main course station isn’t far. Bringing in a variety of dishes like Arabic Grilled Kebabs, Spanish Seafood Paella, a variety of Moroccan and Indian dishes to a Carving station that features a Herb-Crusted Ribeye with Roast Veggies, it sure gets confusing to pick which gets priority.
Last but not least, the Desserts section. This stage features everything from chocolate fountains (milk and white) with marshmallows and fruits, cakes, pastries, Um Ali, fresh ice cream and even date pudding! How can anyone say no?!
Now, remember we were talking about Chef Bader and his signature Ramadan Dessert? Well Chef B (as known on Instagram) has created quite a base on social media for himself at a young age of 20 years old has spoken true passion for desserts through his signature dessert. With inspiration from the Emirati Culture, this dessert essentially features edible “cups” made out of chocolate. The dessert is covered in oud smoke and is opened in front of you to reveal the arrangement beneath. While the oud smoke does instill a sense of Arabia on the table, it also provided the dessert an interesting “coffee-rich” flavor. It’s definitely a show on the table that’s a must-have!
The iftar buffet at Sofra bld, Shangri-La Hotel will be served in the restaurant and at the tent during the whole month of Ramadan (from 5 June through 5 July 2016). For AED 205++ per person you will also get Ramadan juices, Arabic coffee and water.