So, with Ramadan underway in the UAE we check out two contrasting Dubai gatherings that are part of the Holy Month celebrations.
Of course, pretty much every international dining restaurant kitchen of every hotel across the UAE has a multi-national team.
And this popular address, in particular its all-day dining space A.O.C. French Brasserie, is no exception.
One of the first venues to unveil its Ramadan offering with a preview a few weeks ago in April, the restaurant offers all the essentials expected of iftar – embracing Turkish and Moroccan cuisine as well as Arabic - and does it with flair.
Assorted fresh labneh gives a good choice, as does the bread station with a variety of fillings and baked goodies – ideal for dipping into the feisty Syrian hot pepper muhamarah or the moreish beetroot hummous.
To take the edge off the former, juices include jallab, mint lemonade and kamar al den.
That said, you have to go a long way to compete with this venue’s Moroccan chicken tagine – a luscious mouthful given lasting depth with almonds and lemon pickles.
Desserts include the traditional staples of iftar – umm ali, mixed baklava, kunafeh nabulsia - plus some tasty little pots of sweet goodness and delicate tarts, which allow you to put together a little selection without too much guilt.
The addition of traditional live music from a santoor player – and the opportunity to experience henna art - lifts the atmosphere at the brasserie, although for those brave enough to face the humidity the terrace offers the sounds of one of Dubai’s most bustling thoroughfares.
And with the food set-ups and cooking stations in an adjoining room, there’s a feel of banqueting on a grand and epic scale.
Just entering the fourth floor ballroom area from the lifts, you get the feel of arriving at a film premiere, lantern-flanked plush carpet soaking up your footsteps.
Décor is a mix of traditional and contemporary, but gives off the warmth of the season – enhanced by the efforts of a live oud player.
Food islands through the middle of the serving area also embrace traditional Arabic through to international cuisine.
This includes flavoursome blockbusters, such as a prawn machboos, Masala fried fish, which was a little dry on this occasion but extremely tasty, and a Navratan korma; a creamy curry that ticks lots of boxes.
Elsewhere, you’ll be rewarded by harees – a wheat-based starter – a fragrant rokak bil dajaj, the Lebanese chili fish gem samak harra and kafta bil sanieh, a minced meat main with chopped parsley and onions. The grilled nile perch is taken up a level by broccoli lemon butter.
As always, save space for dessert - beside traditional Emirati treats such as leqaimat, golden fried dough balls, the kunafa with nuts cannot be missed here with its bright orange appearance, while croissant butter pudding is a calorific indulgence.
The same might be said of this venue’s take on UK winter warmer sticky toffee pudding, lifted to epic proportions if you accompany it with a helping of excellent vanilla ice cream from the ice cream station.
It takes a lot of people to fill the Constellation Ballroom, but with music and subtle lighting, this Address is offering an attractive iftar choice.
The fresh landmark in Downtown Dubai is opening up its Boulevard Ballroom, offering an elegant setting over a long communal table and a set menu.
IFTAR at A.O.C. Brasserie costs AED140 per person, including juices and water. It begins sunset, until 10pm. Children aged up to 12 dine for free (up to two per paying couple). The cost is halved for kids aged 13-17.
SUHOOR at Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach is served 10pm until 3am at the adjacent Plantation Restaurant & Terrace. A set menu costs AED70 per person.
FOR reservations call 04 448 4733, e-mail RESTAURANTS.DUBAIJBR@sofitel.com or visit www.sofitel-dubai-jumeirahbeach.com
IFTAR at Address Dubai Marina runs from sunset to 9pm daily and costs AED 220 per person, with special group rates available.
FOR info and reservations dial 04 436 7777, email email@example.com or visit mydubairamadan.com
IFTAR at Address Boulevard runs sunset to 9pm and costs AED250 per person, for groups of eight guests and above. Shout is served a la carte at The Restaurant at Address. That happens 9pm-12am.
FOR more call +9714 561 8213, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit mydubairamadan.com