Iftar at Tamba - The Hub, World Trade Centre Mall, Abu Dhabi

When it comes to iftars, I have a Jekyll and Hyde attitude. When it comes to all day dining restaurants, I want to feel certain aspects of Ramadan - iconography that reminds me of the time, food that conveys a sense of abundance and food that speaks of Arabia. Then, there are more independent minded restaurants where I tend to expect a concept that reflects the restaurant's own ethos. Interestingly, my two favourite iftars last year were exactly two that reflected this dichotomy mentioned above.

I recently tried the iftar preview at Tamba. Would they try and infuse their dishes with Arabia or would they stay true to their philosophy?

Tamba's 'Iftar Culinary Experience' as it is called comprises some favourite dishes that regulars would have encountered on the Tamba menu. The iftar experience starts off with a  selection of Ramadan juices. This is the most obvious item on the menu that tells you you're in Ramadan. 

Then, there is a  choice of soup. I choose the lentil soup, again because it gives me that feeling of the period I am in, while still keeping the Indian connection. The soup is a dish in itself, with a thick, hearty texture that makes me want to dip some bread. Homely! It is served in a Japanese style bowl cum cup - you ahve to hold it and drink it. Forget the spoon. Nice touch. 

An old favourite of mine, the Delhi mix (not pictured), is a wonderful inclusion on the menu. It is quinoa as you have never had it. Extra pomegranate, in a subtle way, brings me back to Ramadan. 

It is really a well thought out choice of dishes when I see the Sweet and sour pumpkin - served on spinach paratha. It really is sweet and sour topped with pumpkin seeds imbuing the dish with great texture. A must have. 

Launched a few months ago at Tamba, the Bombay Bhaji rolls is a vegetarian's delight! Sheets of lasagne, mashed potato, cheesy mayo, pan-fried vegetables and a decadent mint green sauce makes this dish as visually appealing as it is about taste. 

The portions of the dishes are perfect because it is quite an extensive menu. Ultimately, it is a lot of food. By the time the main dishes are served, I am already quite full. But make space I do because the 48-hour slow cooked lamb just falls off the bone. Served in a rich lamb sauce giving it a deep brown, reddish colour, it is a dish that will make a meat eater of a vegetarian. 

The set menu, as opposed to the buffet, has so many virtues - one of them being one does not have to think too much. The only thinking you need to do is make a choice between two soups and two biryanis. On the latter, there is a non-veg and veg option: Lamb biryani and Quinoa biryani. 

For dessert, it is the most recognisable offering at Tamba - the Break up, one of the bets chocolate based desserts around, with a story to match and complexity a plenty. 

The Iftar Culinary Experience at Tamba has some subtilties that make you feel the spirit of Ramadan but it mostly remains faithful to its own philosophy. Matched by their usual level of service where waiters consistently talk about the dishes they serve in effortless detail, this iftar experience continues the Tamba story as it tries to offer something left of centre. it succeeds. When dining after 8pm, you can also have a glass of your favourite bubbles or wine. Finally, priced at 198AED, the iftar undercuts many high end iftar experiencece, making this an all round good choice. 

The Essentials

The Hub,
World Trade Centre Mall,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 672 8888

The Culinary Iftar experience costs 198AED

Brandon Stoltenkamp

Disclaimer: I was invited to Tamba as a guest of the restaurant.