In the second of our iftar previews we head 'in-land' for a fine feed in Dubai Production City aka IMPZ.
One of those comes courtesy of Ghaya Grand Hotel, away from the bright lights of the Dubai Marina or Downtown Dubai, at the southern end of the 44.
The hotel’s bright and modern Red Diamond restaurant has plenty of seating options for couples, families and groups, close to the food or tucked away in discreet corners.
So, to the food…
Layout is nice and simple to navigate with cold starters and salads along one side of the serving section.
The kitchen does well with Thai beef salad, tandoori chicken with green lentil salad and a tasty mix of air-dried beef with artichoke and grilled zucchini.
The iftar spread will also be hosting smoked salmon, mussels with ginger and coriander sauce and a smoked salmon salad with mushrooms and green beans.
Tasty slices of rosemary brochette with olive mozzarella, sundried tomato and anchovy paste didn't seem to be not getting the takers it deserved on our visit, but we gladly dived in.
On the cooked sections, lamb ouzi was drawing the usual queue alongside the regular warm mezze items.
But the best dishes of the night for this palate were a fiendishly good shish barak – Lebanese meat dumplings cooked in a plain yoghurt stew - and chicken musakhan, presented as moreish wraps of Palestinian-style sumac-infused chicken and caramelised onions.
Among the night’s non-Arab food winners reaching – and being finished off - on our plates were a zesty and moist butter chicken and Thai vegetable red curry with a suitably lively kick.
Fish with harra sauce was done nicely and kept its consistency well, which isn't always the case for a dish that can often arrive soggy and over-cooked.
Besides four varieties of antipasti daily, Red Diamond has a pasta station in a rather cute serving cart – all rather handy if you have younger or fussy eaters who want to keep it simple.
As always, you need a bit of restraint to make it to the dessert section with appetite in tact. Red Diamond, thankfully, doesn’t go overboard with the selection.
There are a few belt-busting familiar names on there, such as katayef bil kashta pancakes filled with cream and syrup, osmalieh (a crispy vermicelli and cream dish), aish al-saraya (a creamy sweet and sour blend with pistachio nuts and cloves) and mohalabiya (milky Lebanese sweet with dried fruit and syrup).
IFTAR in Red Diamond will be daily throughout Ramadan and costs AED115 per person. Children aged six-12 dine for AED55 while young ones under six dine without charge.
THOSE packages include water, soft drinks and traditional Ramadan juices such as Egyptian tamr hindi qamar el deen (apricot based) and jallab fruit syrup.
TO book call 052-7872-698 or 04-429-3300. Alternatively email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ghayagrandhotel.com for more information.