The Iftar Buffet at the new Al Rimal blew us away with the huge variety, excellent food and fantastic ambiance.
We have been hearing lots of great things about Al Rimal, the new dining venue at the Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel and thought what better than to go over and try the Iftar Buffet and experience this new restaurant.
With a name inspired by the UAE’s landscape, Al Rimal, meaning ‘the sands’, serves a carefully curated menu inspired by Emirati roots and offers unique dining experiences and a variety of cuisines. Its distinct buffet zones and live show kitchens offer various delicacies, including freshly made Arabic bread, mezze and traditional desserts.
This a huge place with a very classy interiors in warm, earthy tones with a variety of buffet counters some featuring live cooking stations and tables well spaced apart with extremely comfortable chairs to sit on and enjoy the food.
We arrive a good half hour before Iftar and the place is a hive of activity, staff scurrying around applying the final touches to a huge buffet and its packed to capacity, this is a great sign and we are eager to sample the food.
We are amazed by the extensive variety of food on offer and the presentation is simply wow. There are three salad bars, one serving traditional Arabic mezze, one international and one is a fresh mix your own option.
There are two counters serving hot mezze, a soup counter, an Indian chat counter, pasta station, teppanyaki grill, an extensive bread section and then there are the traditional Arabic food station mixed with Indian and International, sushi and a massive dessert section. We are seriously impressed.
We settle down at our table, there are neat little bowls with dates and glass of Laban already waiting on the table, they even had a little plaque with our name on it which was so nice. We go over to the juice counter, there are four varieties to choose form, the Qamal Al Din and the Memento looked so appealing so we start with these, very refreshing.
Soon its time to break the fast so we head on over to get some food. We start with the hot mezze, the Onion Pakoras are stunning, we get some of the spring rolls and the Fatayer and they are all delicious. The variety of dips to try is so extensive that we just can’t try them all.
We are told that the Chef at the Indian Chat counter is a master at what he does so we had to stop and grab some of his exquisite pani poori bites, the taste was a explosive mix of tangy and sweet with a hint of spice, perfect.
We stop at the soup bar, there is a nice lentil and a mushroom soup to choose from, we went with lentil and loved it. The stop at the salad bar was definitely a long one with the huge variety to choose form, the Quinoa salad and the Arabic mezze were simply delightful.
The sushi counter was next, again there is an excellent display of colorful rolls, we sample one of each and they are exquisite, the presentation in mini wooden Dhows is a great touch.
There is a massive bread counter, rows of fresh baked bread is waiting, its hard to choose but we grab some fresh baked rolls to accompany the soups, the bread is crusty and perfect for the soup.
After a prolonged pause we head out again, first stop is the teppanyaki station, we get some spicy chicken and a side of shrimp, the Chef is happy to make them extra spicy and we loved how he expertly grilled the meat in front of us. We pass by the grilled veggies, there is again a fantastic selection presented superbly.
The pasta station is very busy, the kids love the different options to customize their pasta and kept the chef busy all evening. There is a whole grille Hammour sitting on the side, and next to it are two varieties of Lamb Ouzi, they definitely don’t do things in half measures.
There is a fantastic selection of Arabic Grills, the meat is grilled right in front of you to order served piping hot, juicy and succulent and the variety of dips and sauces available along with the sumac sprinkled onions compliment the meat perfectly.
The Arabic section has some very interesting dishes, the Harees is creamy and delicate, we try the Tharid and the Saloona and love the flavors. There was a fragrant rice dish we really enjoyed with the Saloona.
There is an extensive section serving some excellent Western classics as well, the lamb chops are superb, great taste and fantastic presentation. There are some juicy steak medallions, some grilled duck and a host of other interesting stuff to accompany.
The Indian section has a fancy lamb biryani along with other very tasty curries, the fish curry was a huge hit and we loved the selection of pickles and dips that were on the side.
We are completely overwhelmed by the massive amount of food to try so we had to sadly skip the pasta station though it was so tempting but we had to keep some space for the desserts.
Lets talk about the desserts, there is a sunning display of traditional Arabic desserts along with a range of Indian and Western desserts, a huge variety of fresh fruit and also a selection of dried fruit to sample.
We loves the Kunafa which was decadently sweet, they had a Saffron Firini that was simply divine and the date pudding was just fantastic. We tried some of the Chocolate pudding and Tiramisu and loved it too.
What can we say, we are completely in awe of the food, the variety is simply the most extensive we have seen at any Iftar Buffet in Abu Dhabi this year and the taste is excellent across all the different cuisines on offer.
We were introduced to Chef Ahmed who is in command and he was kind enough to show us around and explain all the dishes, we loved how he was so hands on, you could see him all through the evening assisting his team across all the stations, this is a fantastic team effort and they really pulled it off perfectly.
The food is great, the taste excellent, the ambiance fantastic and the service is on point. Every table was occupied and they still managed to clear each table and keep everything going as clockwork. The long cratering history of AFOC definitely helps in making them a superior operation.
The Iftar Buffet at Al Rimal takes place every evening form sundown to 10 PM daily. The pricing is AED 195 per person, children from ages 6 to 12 are AED 98. They also have a Suhoor daily form midnight to 3.00 AM priced at AED 120 per person and AED 60 for children, all packages include soft drinks.