asateer tent

Asateer Ramadan Tent, Atlantis

 

asateer ramadan tent

First of all, a very happy Ramadan to you! Today is the seventh day of fasting here in the U.A.E. and the shorter working hours is a blessing. However, time is flying by so swiftly that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to complete all tasks and obligations. This is my sixth Ramadan here in the U.A.E. and it’s always a beautiful experience each year. One thing that I had wanted to try since my first year here is to dine in a tent, so when Alison from Atlantis invites me over to the preview of Asateer Tent a couple of days before Ramadan, I had to say yes!

iftar in asateer

 

Asateer means myths. Overlooking the Arabian Sea and accommodating up to 830 guests, Asateer is a spectacular tent named after the wise words and stories told inside Ramadan tents for centuries, where people sat together and socialize over good food. Masood and I are blown away by the size and beauty of the tent, and know that this is a good place to experience the nomadic traditions of eating in a tent, albeit in a much modern and regal manner.

atlantis dubai

asateer tent

I somehow associate Ramadan with twinkling, sparkly lights. Even back home in Karachi, the city is dressed up with pretty lights. Here in the U.A.E. you’ll see masjids, homes, restaurants, malls, streets, and even trees all lit up during Ramadan. That is why I am impressed with the display of lights in the Asateer tent, from the candles gently flickering around pools filled with rose petals to the gorgeous egg-shaped chandeliers in main dining area.

Oh, but let’s talk about the food!

There is a wide selection of cold mezzeh, with about 25-30 different choices. Love the hummus, the fattoush, chicken salad, shrimp with pineapple, the kibbeh, the steamed veggies, the rolls…

food at asateer

 

You will get so full with just the starters. It’s so hard to decide what to sample!

asateer ramadan dubai

 

Masood and I are absolutely fascinated with the ouzi stand that contains the juiciest of lamb meat slow roasted from the day before. There is also the beef steamship, as the chef calls it, which is a whole beef leg infused with Arabic spices and gently roasted to perfection. I also particularly like the grilled fish on a bed of brown rice. Yum!

There is also pasta, an eggplant dish, biryani, kofta, and several other dishes whose names I don’t remember. It’s really not possible to try them all!

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A team of 34 very talented chefs work at Asateer to create this feast fit for a king. This year, all dishes are prepared by chefs who specialize in their particular cuisine or region. For example, Lebanese dishes are prepared by Lebanese chefs, Moroccan dishes by Moroccan chefs and so on. The food is really, really good. 

roast meat at asateer

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Dates are essential when breaking fast. Topiary of fifteen different types of the best dates from all Arab countries sits near the entrance. The dates are melt-in-your-mouth good! The juice stand serves jallab (grape molasses, dates, and rose water), laban (yogurt, salt, and water), ayran (almost same as laban), karkadeh (dried red hibiscus flowers, water, and sugar), orange juice, etc … all very good, but I enjoy the mint lemonade the most.

dates topiary

uae dates

juice stand dubai asateer

 

Just as we are finishing dinner, we see people gathering at the entrance of the tent. Men and women in long, golden robes appear and perform what seem to be an act out of an Arabian Nights movie. I name the main character as Aladdin and the lady as princess Jasmine.

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Then we walk towards the dessert table. It is such a daunting task deciding what to eat! Did you know there is a macaroon tree in the middle of the dessert table? There is also a live ice cream station that serves rose water and pistachio flavored ice cream. My absolute favorite is Umm Ali. Our traditional kheer pales in comparison to Asateer’s Umm Ali!

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asateer tent atlantis

 

 

I have also heard a lot about Asateer’s tahini fountain. Tahini is basically a paste made of sesame seeds and olive oil. What you do is grab a falafel ball or za’atar straw and dip than into the tahini fountain. Really good!

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Despite the temptation to try all the dessert items, we end up taking just a few so that we don’t waste anything.

Did I tell you how good their Umm Ali is?

Maghreb and Isha prayers are offered in this prayer room…

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Once we are back at our table (that we are sharing with Virgin Radio’s Kris Fade, but of course we don’t know who he is until I see a video of Asateer the next day) we are offered cappuccino.

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We have a really nice time in Asateer. I tell Masood at some point during our dinner that it feels like being invited to some Sheikh’s royal wedding banquet. There’s free Wi-Fi connection so we even have a brief Skype session with my in-laws to show them the place. If you specially have guests over that are visiting the UAE for the first time, this is a good place to make them experience dining in a very unique way. This is also a excellent place to sample really good Middle Eastern food.

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atlantis dubai

For more information and reservations, you can e-mail asateer@atlantisthepalm.com or call +971 4 426 0800. Buffet will cost you AED 175 per person, AED 85 for children between 3-12 years old, and free for children below the age of 3.

26 comments

  1. Nadia, I am using my cousin;s laptop at 6 in the morning just to msg u here WHAT A POST AND WHAT A PLACE MAN !!!! :O
    Check out the lights…. so damn mesmerizing . I wish i was there too. And shame on u for eating so little.

    1. Pervisha, you are such a sweet soul! Thank you so much. I’ve been thinking a lot about why you weren’t able to comment on my posts. I even updated my comment widget and all.

      The lights look as if the stars have come down from the skies. They were really beautiful!

      I know, a food blogger who can’t eat everything .. shame, right? Come join me so I can learn from you 😀

  2. Amazing! You’re lucky to be leading a somewhat royal life. 😀 I started to fast like all previous Ramadans but had to break on the third day as I had an accident and had to take medicines four times a day. 🙁

  3. Nadia this place looks absolutely amazing! If we’re ever back in Dubai to visit, I wanna check it out. I told Vick about the tahini fountain and he couldn’t believe it… crazy! Congrats on getting invited to preview this place, looks like it was fun and yummy. Great review!

    1. Thank you ‘liya! You’ll have to be in Dubai during Ramadan to check this particular tent out. The food is so worth visiting Asateer!

      Their tahini fountain is one the main attractions; it is the first thing that I looked for the moment I stepped into the tent. It does sound crazy, but it’s so good.

  4. hello, Nadia, dear… since a long way back, you’ve been my fave food blogger and no one, as in, no one can raise arguments against my choice, haha. they better not. ^_^

    but yes, it’s been more than a week since the Ramadan. somebody’s working shorter hours, she must have time to update her blog now. ^^ and how! she treats everybody to delightful photos of to-die-for foods and regales folks with royal dining experience. ah, you will make people think of food while fasting, dear… 😉

    the tent looks grand and the experience seems exceptional – what royal treatment…

    you really must have had difficult decisions to make, Nadia. just the starters and you had a hard time. of course, i wouldn’t want to be deciding on the main courses – lambs, chickens and beefs prepared in the most delicious and melt in your mouth way? i wouldn’t want to be in your shoes, my dear!

    and the dessert corner is designed for those with self-control akin to holy peoples’ and the saints.’ am just glad i wasn’t there. i wouldn’t have the discipline and the resolve, sadly… 😉

    hey, i like the meditation corner and the cappuccino touch… reminds one not to be excessive and that after all, the place and the occasion are there to relive traditions and to reignite the oral traditions among Arab folks (i suppose).

    btw, i’ve dipped in some tahini fountains before (hotels and parties) but the ones on the photos above look more charming, ahaha. i think they put those in to let people experience being children again – dipping in endless flows of chocolates, ahaha. what fantasy. 😉

    you had a grand time in the tent, am afraid. it’s Ramadan period and you talk about foods, you… ^_^ thank you for the lovely post, Nadia. hope you and husband are well. 🙂
    35andupcynicismonhold recently posted..Kinder and Gentler, continued

    1. ‘San, your comment made my day! Thank you so much. I love how your comments are like blog posts 😀

      Fasting is about patience, hence the food posts to exercise said patience. Hehe. Besides, I love to talk about my travel experiences too, except that I haven’t traveled anywhere interesting lately. So yeah, food it is in the meantime.

      Buffet spreads aren’t for people with self-control, so you’d make a better food blogger than I am. Take that as a compliment, of course 🙂

      Oh I agree with you about the fountains – we love them because they are part of our childhood fantasies. I advised my mother to arrange for a chocolate fountain for my sister’s wedding reception. The idea got rejected as being expensive 🙁

      Back to the Asateer Tent…the experience isn’t cheap, but it’s something to try at least once. The ambiance is grand and the food excellent. I am amazed how a group of so many chefs create their magic in the kitchen without stepping into each others’ toes.

      1. hello, Nadia… am taking the tie off from sweeping flood water and mud to say hi, hehe… 😉

        oh, no. am no good at buffet spreads, too. i feel like am lugi? oftentimes, i don’t get to taste everything. i just eat those
        that look superb or unfamiliar to me. if i like some, i just eat them and forego the others. i don’t eat as much as i should ’cause i don’t want the bloated feeling, hehe. it spoils the dining experience? ^^

        oh, yes, chocolate fountains are really pricey, ‘no? it’s luho… 😉

        wow, i like it when it’s master chefs that prepare my foods. feeling special, haha… hope things are well on your end. 🙂

        the flood was horrible as usual. but not as bad as Ondoy, if that’s any consolation… still, most of us, our lives seem to have been suspended for the moment. haaist… 😉
        35andupcynicismonhold recently posted..that part of us…

        1. Happy and relieved to know that you are doing well. Sweeping flood water and mud .. not fun at all. I hope that is all over now. Good thing you cleared the buffet thing being lugi with you. I’ll remember that when you visit us here 😉

  5. Dear Nadia, Hope you & your family is doing fine in Ramadan. Sure you had a great time & we get the chance to enjoy it with this post. With all those yummy dishes I am feeling hungry…Lucky me, Its Suhoor 🙂

  6. Salams Nadia,
    It’s been sooooo long since I dropped by and the first thing that greeted me were the so-good-I-can-eat-from-the-screen photos of the awesome food!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so envious of the availability of good food in your country… We have to pay a huge amount of good money to get those kinda food here I think… and that too not up to this standard I dare say! Sighs…. lol I should have visited your page after iftari… Then I wouldn’t be dreaming of food for the next few hours.. hehe… Take care Nadia! Happy fasting and may you and your family reap in all the goodness of this wonderful month of Ramadhan! 🙂

    1. Walaikum assalam Suryati! What a pleasant surprise 🙂 Ameen to your dua. I pray the same for you and your family.

      Availability of good, affordable food is one of things that I absolutely love about the UAE. You can find cuisine from every part of the world and you can easily choose restaurants based on your budget. And most important of all, you’ll get halal food everywhere.

  7. It’s so beautiful!

    And trust you to post awesomely delicious food photos during Ramadhan! Made me drool! Hehe. Awesome entry! I miss reading your blog 😀

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