Iftar at Centro Al Manhal, Abu Dhabi

From previous posts, it is clear that I am a huge fan of the Centro brand. On my last visit in February I tried their Friday brunch. You can read my review here: http://bit.ly/1jJCQEW. Their commitment to affordable comfort is unparalleled in Abu Dhabi where there is simply not enough mid range options for hotels and food and beverage outlets. A few days ago I thought I would try out their iftar.

C.taste is cosy. This is a strength for me. They also manage to create an iftar feeling with a small but tastefully decorated table with dates, nuts and of course Arabic coffee.

As is the case at most iftars, the main dish is the  lamb ouzi. However, to avoid the rush, I wait 10-15 minutes, sipping on my rose milk, one of three drinks  as part of the iftar buffet. When things have died down somewhat, I start with the salad and mezze section. It speaks of freshness and bounty. I have the usual selection of cold mezze: moutabel and hummus as well as stuffed vine leaves. Despite waiting for the buffet area to become less busy, it is still full. It occurs to me that if guests were a little more polite in these situations, it would not be so unsightly. I quickly take my mezze and return to my table. The staff are busy doing their utmost, it must be said.

A plate of mezze and salad
I decide to go for something more substantial and risk the crowd at the buffet. It is more manageable when I go  and it gives me a chance to have a chat with the very amiable Executive Chef Yamen. He has assembled a team that worked the crowd really well. His care for his staff and the dishes they put out is admirable. My search for the x- factor at this iftar (read my previous oftar posts) ends when I see chef Murugan grilling meat - a live mixed grill station. Nice. This is the creativity that I like at Centro. They understand their market well. They have no pretensions - they deliver what they promise for wallet savvy guests. The grill station is a great idea and I applaud Chef and his team. Who says small is only about functional food? Chef Murugan happily prepares a mixed grill for my guest and me. I am overwhelmed by his kindness.

The highlight of the iftar
While I did not have dessert, as you can see, there was something for everyone. 
After the grills I am really satisfied because I found that something that made the iftar stand out for me - Chef Murugan and the grill.

Despite the crowded buffet area, I think guests were more than satisfied with their evening. At 99Dhs, you cannot go wrong! Centro's c. taste never disappoints. It is good to know there are certain things you can take for granted.

The Essentials

Centro Al Manhal Hotel.
Airport road,
Abu Dhabi
02 811 5000

Iftar 99Dhs
Brandon Stoltenkamp