Here, the savouries seem to give the true indication on the feast ahead. The day-long fast is broken with dates, juices and fresh fruit cuts, while a bite into samosas, cutlets, pakoras and spring rolls raises your spirit. With the palate cleared and the mind calm and serene after prayers, you can't wait for dinner. The tempting Ramadan spreads at Palm Restaurant in Al Khuwair, clubbing iftar and dinner, is one good choice for foodies in town to jump at, of course, if they are in a sizeable group.
Diwakar Prasad Naithani, the senior chef at the restaurant with more than 15 years of experience in the industry, says it's a mix of Indian, Arabic and continental dinner.
The Punjabi Palak Chicken and Murgh Nawabi Handi, a great recipe from the Indian city of Lucknow might be his favourites, but the Tandoor Murgh Afghani Kebab, the special Ramadan starter he brings to your table reveals that he is innovative and serious about catering to varied tastes of a mixed population.
"But we master in Biriyanis - Chicken and Mutton Biriyani and Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken). For vegetarians, I suggest Dal-e-Chaman made with Green Moong and Toor Dal, while Arabs usually prefer our Lahm Maqbooz," he beams.
The garlic and green coriander flavoured Lahsuni Dhania Murgh is another special starter he suggests to customers this Ramadan, besides Mutton Seekh Kebab and Tandoori Chicken.
"I do have a good knowledge about iftar dishes, though it's a bit different from India, where I worked for many years. Here we have to consider Arabic tastes, as well," he points out. And helping him in the kitchen is a team of around 15 chefs – thirteen from India and two from Nepal (who prepare Chinese delicacies).
This is the first Ramadan for the restaurant outlet in Al Khuwair, which has another branch in Darsait and the great advantage for the customers is that they can choose from the silver, gold and platinum package menus priced reasonably at RO 3.5, RO 4.5 and RO 5.9 respectively. "Though specialised in Kerala cuisine, with chicken and mutton dum-biryanis as our specialty, we also cater to other tastes. For example, we have here the north Indian dum-pokht style biriyani," says Krishna Kumar, the restaurant manager.
"We have a very good response as we provide iftar packages that come with iftar and dinner. The one banquet hall we have here can accommodate 60 people and we also do outdoor catering for bigger groups," he says adding that, for advanced booking for iftar parties, there should be a minimum of 15-20 people.
Iftar: Dates, Chicken Samosa, Bread Cutlet, Mini Spring Rolls, Mutton Cutlet, Potato Cheese Balls, Egg Pakora, Mini Vada, Cocktail Falafel, Fresh Fruit Platter
Dinner: Butter Chicken, Fish Masala Roast, Mutton Khorma, Malai Kofta Curry, Bhindi Hara Pyaza, Green Peas Masala, Malabar Chicken Curry, Mutton Roganjosh, Kadai Subzi, Vegetable Manchurian, Vegetable stew, Chicken Methi Malai, Mutton Kadai, Spinach Kofta Curry, Aloo Gobi, Punjabi Chole
Salads: Garden Fresh Tossed Salad, Warm Pasta Salad, Aloo Chat, Oriental Salad, Kuchumber, Houmoush, Coleslaw
Staples: Assorted Indian/Arabic Breads, Chicken Dum Biriyani, Ghee Rice, Chicken Pulao, Vegetable Fried rice, Schezwan Chicken Fried Rice, Peas Pulao
Desserts: Hot Gulab Jamun, Umali, Payasam, Carrot Halwa, Vanilla Ice Cream, Crème Caramel