Iftar at Horizon - Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana - Abu Dhabi

If you have not been to Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, you should. A glorious lobby with magnificent chandeliers will entice you to explore further. Outside, it really is quite an oasis with beautiful landscaping featuring lovely palm trees. So, coming for an iftar is something to look forward to. I tried their iftar last night, and a few talking points emerged. 

A celebration of Arabia

I for one attend quite a few iftars and after 3, they all start to feel the same. After all, hummus is hummus. They have a formula that hotels follow, and become quite predictable. on the other hand, I always look for an x factor. A trend among some restaurants this year is to place more emphasis on the international side of dishes. After all, how many falafels can you eat in one week if you are  a guest at a hotel. 

The iftar at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan is actually pure Arabia, and therein is its supreme strength - it does it brilliantly with no half measures. It is quite a large iftar, and can cater for 240+ guests which usually scares me, but the guests are spread out over three areas, so it is not so daunting. A  majilis in adjacent to the lobby features an oud player who entertains throughout the iftar. Then, a few metres from him you will find two palm trees which focus our attention on the notion of abundance. Dates, dried fruit and nuts are beautifully but casually spread out underneath one tree, while the other tree is surrounded by fresh fruit and juices. In another word, Bountiful.

Live Cooking stations

This was definitely a  stand out feature for me. Tabouleh and Fatoush were both prepared live, with the tabouleh made by Executive sous chef and Head Arabic Chef,  Abu Halab Al Daikh. Shawarmas  and falafels with a twist were also prepared live.  Live station does not mean someone who stands at a station and serves. It is more than that. Cooking! That is a concept that the team at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan got spot on.

Recommended dishes

The freshness and flavours of the Tabouleh and Fatoush made these the memorable dishes on the night. The latter in particular, with about 20+ ingredients was something above the ordinary. Of course the shawarmas, lightly toasted,  were a winner. I also loved two of the desserts - the Um Ali, which for once was not overpowered by sugar. Good dish! Then, the Rice pudding was also one of my favourites on the night. However, there were quite a few others you might want to try. 

Despite a less than smooth handling of guest diners' arrivals and the issuing of bills at the end, overall, the iftar at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan was a huge success. There were simply so many elements that I do not expect at an iftar. It was an iftar where I did not feel rushed; it was one where I could linger, longer. 

The lowdown

Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, 
(close to Etihad Towers) 
Abu Dhabi
02 657 0000

180 AED ++  per adult
Kids half price
Brandon Stoltenkamp
Disclaimer: I consult at restaurants and hotels in an attempt to look at the entire product to take service levels to where they should be. I visited the Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana Iftar courtesy of the hotel.