Just like my previous post (Lunch at Catch, St. Regis, Abu Dhabi… Special Post on Memories Thru Lens’ 1st Birthday!), this one is also going to be on food photography!!
This is going to be the first post on the Iftar Feast at Restaurant Oléa at St. Regis, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In this post, I will share my clicks of the salads and breads section at the Iftar Feast at Restaurant Oléa at St. Regis, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
I would like to clarify that this is not the same St. Regis Hotel, I wrote about in my previous post. This pictorial write-up is on another St. Regis in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, situated in Saadiyat Island while the previous is in Corniche.
This St. Regis is also a 5-star hotel.
Although Oléa is a Mediterranean-influenced restaurant, the Iftar Buffet, served Traditional Arabic Cuisine, Indian Cuisine and International Cuisine. There were seperate sections for appetizers, salads, soups and desserts.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating facilities, but the food section was inside. As we sat outdoors, we needed to go inside whenever we had to fill our plates!
Coming to the food-photos part!
The first thing that we were served was the welcome drink. They had Date Milk, Hibiscus Juice and Almond & Saffron Smoothie.
The Hibiscus Juice was truly refreshing to drink on a hot day, and that too while sitting outside when it was humid!
You can see the dry fruits (almonds, cashews, apricots) and dates on the table in the photo above. In Iftars, you would notice that it is a tradition to break the fast with a glass of juice and dates.
Photos of salads and appetizers section:
Roasted Eggplants, Shanklish Salad, Vine Leaves & Rocca Salad
I had heard about the other three salads before but Shanklish Salad was new to me. After going through a few articles, I found out that Shanklish is a variety of cheese made in regions of Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.
Pickled Chillies & Beetroot Salad with Green Apple Tzatziki
Tzatziki is a side dish made of yogurt with chopped garlic or cucumbers. In this salad, the tzatziki was made of green apple and added to the beetroot salad.
Beetroot and Spinach Shooter & Apple with Celery Shooter
Both of the drink combos sounded quite unusual to me, so I did not try them out but instead I had the Lamb with Couscous and Dried Apricot Salad.
Roasted Beef Platter, Lamb with Couscous and Dried Apricot Salad, Capers, Pickled Cucumbers & Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Celery and Avacado
In the salads area, there were these drinks also…
Laban, Karkadeh, Mixed Berry and Chia Milkshake, Almond and Saffron Smoothie & Jallab
Now, if you live in any of the Gulf Countries, you would be familiar with the term Laban. For those who are new to this word:
Laban — Yogurt-Based Drink
Because Abu Dhabi is a desert city, locals need drinks that keep them cool in the summer. Laban, a salty, yogurt based drink, is the beverage of choice for kids and adults alike in those steamy months.
Best drunk cold, laban not only keeps the body cool, but boosts the immune system and is loaded with calcium, proteins and vitamins — the ultimate health drink. While most restaurants serve laban, it’s most popular in a pre-packaged forms. You’ll find supermarkets across the city loaded with bottles of laban. Pick one by any company — they’re all universally delicious. Stocking up on them is a good idea when sightseeing — especially in the summer.
If you visit any supermarket’s Dairy Section, in Abu Dhabi (I’m not sure about other Emirates (in UAE) or neighboring countries) you would notice that dairy products like milk, yoghurt and laban produced by companies like Al Marai or Al Ain are sold in bottles/cans/tins. Laban would either be plain or with some added flavour.
I had also not heard of Karkadeh and Jallab before. Again I went through some websites and found out:
Karkadeh is an Iced Hibiscus Tea from Egypt.
Another cold drink that refreshes on a hot day is jallab — a fruit syrup made from grape molasses, dates and rose water. The drink is made by diluting the syrup in water and garnishing it with crushed ice, pine nuts and golden raisins. (Courtesy: Thirsty in Abu Dhabi? Sip These Must-Try Local Beverages (marriott.com))
I tried out the Mixed Berry and Chia Milkshake. It was a really good ‘side’ to drink with the Lamb with Couscous and Dried Apricot Salad!
Hummus, Muhammara, Moutabel (the first row)
Hummus, Muhammara, Moutabel are all yummy Middle-Eastern side dips that people have along with breads. Hummus is a smooth dip made from chickpeas. Muhammara is a Spicy Red Peppers dip. Moutabel is an eggplant dip. Also these days, they are used as spreads, in sandwiches etc. Hummus is my favorite one! Its smooth and rich flavor along with pita bread is always amazing!
On our trip to Lebanon a few years ago, I noticed in most of the restaurants, they always give you a bowl of hummus along with pita bread to munch on, until your lunch comes. This looked similar to what you would get in any North Indian restaurant, were they would give you a plate of Papads along with different types of chutneys and pickles, prior to your ordered food.
Baladi Cheese, Labneh Balls, Chili Labneh Balls, Akawi Cheese and Olive Selections
Smoked Salmon Mousse
That’s is all for this post! Next, we would be moving to the main course(s)! But of course, I am waiting for the dessert(s) section part (obviously!).
UPDATE: I have changed the theme of the blog to a new one! Let me know in the comments section whether you like this new layout or not! I hope to hear from you all soon!
SEE YOU IN THE NEXT POST!