Ramadan is the perfect time that brings together people of various beliefs and communities. This was perhaps one of the first few things that I learnt during my initial years in Oman. Besides the joy of partaking in the lavish Iftar meals at the homes of friends and colleagues, what truly left an impression was the knowledge on the different traditions and practices that were followed during the Holy Month. Each time I visited a friend for Iftar, I felt an instant sense of happiness and peace to be part of such family gatherings, making the entire experience truly rich and meaningful.
Now years later, as I walked inside Sheraton Oman Hotel with my colleague to attend the Iftar feast with the same spirit, his remark filled my heart with reverence once again. He said, “Ramadan is the best time for bonding, be it social or personal. Whether it is getting together to share a meal, go to the mosque for prayers, or lend a helping hand, this Holy Month is all about celebrating the spirit of togetherness.” And I could make sense of his words when I saw several groups of friends and families sitting together and sharing a perfect camaraderie.
We were at The Courtyard for Iftar buffet and soon it was time to break the fast which my colleague did with a handful of dates and a glass of laban.
The buffet at The Courtyard was a lavish spread had everything, starting from light snacks to the elaborate authentic cuisines. Prepared to perfection, most of the dishes were soaked in different flavours, the focus being mainly on the Middle Eastern cuisine. While the snacks began to fill us up, the main course spread looked equally appetising and it was hard to resist. Bristling with taste and aroma, the meal was exquisite in every sense. The Middle Eastern spread included the traditional hot and cold mezze, slow roasted lamb ouzi with oriental rice, whole-baked salmon harra, and a wide array of Arabic sweets and desserts.
For starters we had hummus, moutabel, baba ghanoush, tabouleh, and fattoush followed by lamb shank ouzi, Dawood Basha that is meatballs braised in tomato sauce, Batata Harra or spicy potatoes, Sawda Djej , that is chicken liver with pomegranate, and Dajaj Tajine that is chicken stew with olives and lemon confit.
For those who like to go for the mixed grill can have lamb chops, lamb and beef koftas, chicken taouk, along with Arayes or Lebanese minced meat bread.
While for desserts you are spoilt for choice, we had little room for it after a hearty main course. We had Muhalabiya, Baklavas, Kunafa Nabulsiya, that is sweet layers of cheese and semolina, and the all-time favourite, Umali. Calorie conscious people can easily give the desserts a miss and opt for fresh cut fruits like watermelon, pineapple, sweet melon, and more.
The beverages served were a feast for the eyes for its myriad colours and were the perfect thirst quenchers after a sizzling hot day. It had Jallab or rose flavoured date syrup, Kamarudin, that is dried apricot orange blossomed water, Qamar El Deen or dried apricot juice, Tamar Hindi, that is tamarind syrup, and the ubiquitous laban. So tuck into a flavourful Middle Eastern Iftar at Sheraton Oman Hotel; the cornucopia of delicacies which includes traditional favourites with a modern twist will surely win you over.
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*Turkish Airlines is sponsoring two economy class tickets from Muscat to Istanbul during Ramadan. Each guest that comes for either Iftar or Suhoor can fill out an entry form for this raffle.
Cost: OMR 18 with beverages to be served at sunset — Maghrib prayer time onwards.
Call: +968 2237 7777