We went for Iftar at The Chedi this week; held in a tented area just off The Restauarant and it's beautifully cosy and atmospheric. They've managed to take the intimate, zen feel of The Chedi but keep it traditional and highly inviting.
Laban and a tiny glass pot of dates was on the table for the breaking of the fast, along with an amazingly refreshing drink which I am pretty sure was karkadeh. I tried fasting some years ago during Ramadan. It was VERY VERY HARD. I did want to experience it, but the difficulty of carrying on a normal life without food or water in daylight hours was more than I could have imagined. The worst was the thirst. The first sip of a drink at sundown I can still remember, and it was on my mind as I had this drink, cooling and rosewatery.
This being the Chedi, I wasn't sure if the buffet dishes were going to be a more contemporary take on Iftar, and I was happy that it was very much traditional fare; some things shouldn't be messed with. Simple dishes, all beautifully made and packed with flavour, although there were some stand-outs: the stuffed vine leaves, a dish you find everywhere, had some elusive and unusual ingredient I couldn't put my finger on. I had eight, trying to work it out...allspice? Cloves? Something warmingly delicious, anyway. And the lentil soup was the best I've ever had, layers of complex flavour and a perfect rustic texture.
We lingered longer than the usual Iftar time. The Chedi always makes me feel uncharacteristically peaceful and quiet. Also, I'm going to add "must have actual trees" to my list of What Makes The Perfect Restaurant.