The first thing that strikes you as you enter the recently opened dusitD2 Kenz Hotel is the feeling of light and space in this little gem, tucked away in the heart of Barsha Heights. This is the hotel’s first iftar, and executive chef Terry Styles’ menu focuses on well-being and a healthier lifestyle. It’s served inside the hotel’s pretty white all-day-dining Mediterranean restaurant, Ostro.
The menu is made up of a selection of soups, salads, cold mezze and Arabic and Mediterranean main dishes. Make a start to your iftar with a couple of dates, as recommended in the guide to Ramadan on the table. Next, at the salad bar, the baked artichokes and fennel will catch your eye. We love Mediterranean salads – they’re a great starter, and we love the fresh and clean flavours. Add beetroot and honey-roasted pumpkin to your plate, and your vitamin count will be on point.
The gluten-free options on the main counter were a great surprise. Everyone seems to be gluten-free these days but for Friday’s reviewer Mark, this was a plus, being one of ‘those’ people. With gluten-free pasta al forno, vegetable alla grillia, this menu is perfect for everyone.
At the live cooking station, Friday was tempted by the spanakopita (pictured top right) served with tzatziki, and roasted chicken with spicy rice. All of the dishes are displayed in heavy pots, with handy signs that give a description of each one, because who wants to spend the evening lifting heavy lids?
To wash all this down is a selection of juices and fruit infused waters, along with a low-calorie laban. I love the attention to health – it in no way compromises the taste of any of the dishes. I was dining with a couple of friends that were excited that the gluten-free, healthier options included the dessert trolley. Somehow, to my fellow diners the notion of smaller, healthier portions meant several trips. This unique dining experience for me was a perfect balance of traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, in a relaxed environment, and a perfect start to Ramadan.
Dh129 per person including water and Ramadan juices; iftar is served from sunset until 9pm. Children under six years old dine for free (up to two children) and children between 6-12 years old get 50 per cent off. Book 15 days ahead and pay Dh99 per person. Call 04 567 2222.