During the holy month of Ramzan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. During the span of 24 hours, two main meals are served—suhoor (also called sehri) which is served at dawn, and iftar, which is served at sunset. These meals are typically eaten with family and contain fresh fruit, dates, breads, meats, and different kinds of sweets. For this occasion, the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Bengaluru has curated an Iftar menu, inspired by middle-eastern cuisine, at their restaurant, Persian Terrace.
The vegetarian and non-vegetarian set menu, which are priced at ₹2500 each, come with Arabic-inspired beverages, such as tamar hendi, made out of tamarind and jaggery, and jallab, which consists of a fruit syrup with dates and rose water, topped with nuts. Alongside this, cold and hot mezze platter, a soup, an assortment of kebabs and rice, as well as dessert are also part of the menu.
Chef Subimon Subhagan, the junior sous chef at the restaurant, has worked in parts of Saudi Arabia for almost six years, and has witnessed how Ramzan is celebrated there. The menu is infused with his observations and learning from the time he spent there. For example, the cold mezze offers hummus beiruti, a variation of the famous dip that includes heavy amounts of garlic and spices like cumin, alongside marinated olives, fruits, dry fruits and nuts. Arabic influences are also found in other parts of the menu, such as the hot mezze, which consists of falafel, Lebanese cheese sambousek – a type of meat pie, and spinach fatayer which is a puff pastry stuffed with spinach.
The soup section of the menu has two options—ash-e-sabzi, a Persian herb broth made with dill, spinach, and cilantro and the non-vegetarian soup-e-morgh, flavoured with saffron and vermicelli noodles. This soup is also called red gold soup because of the colour of the saffron and is served as the first course at formal dinner parties.
Subhagan recommends the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian platters, which come with three different types of rice such as herbed, saffron, and buttered rice. However, his favourite are the assorted kebab platters that feature samak hara kebab, made with fish spiced with tahini sauce, and the phaldari kebab, consisting of raw bananas and colocasia leaves.
When asked how the restaurant has tried to experiment with traditional dishes, Subhagan says, “Arabic food is mostly not as spicy and has very mild flavours. We used spicier flavours to cater to the Indian taste. Arabic cuisine is usually devoid of vegetarian options. So, while we wanted to offer authentic Iftar cuisine, we also wanted to make sure that everyone could enjoy the food with our vegetarian platter, consisting of marinated cottage cheese, mushroom and minced vegetables.”
The Iftar set menu at the Sheraton Grand Hotel at Brigade Gateway will be offered till 21st April, from 6 pm to 11:30 am. Prices for the set are ₹2500 for vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.