I have been a frequent visitor to the yum cha brunch at hakkasan and thought it would be a good idea to visit the ramadan tent with some out of towners for what is thought to be the grandest iftar in Abu Dhabi. I can only say that I expected more.
It's quite pricey so I expected service, variety and ambience to be top notch. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the following reasons:
1. The tent is positively arctic. With such low temperatures, the buffet was cold by the time I went to eat and the managers running around didnt seem to care. I complained and was told they only had a central chiller and could not turn it off. So the family all huddled together and tried to eat through chattering teeth and shivering spines.
2. Arabtec built the tent here and it's no surprise their share price has plummeted since ramadan started. It's a rickety floor which creaks and you end up getting vibrations from anyone who walks within a 10 foot radius. It was quite annoying especially when one pays so much money for a peaceful iftar.
3. The variety of food isn't bad, but it's nowhere near what I expected from EP consisting the price of nearly 300 aed per person. I can somehow accept that variety was minimal but what is unacceptable is that the food didn't taste all that great. Everything was bland, shrimp was undercooked, tikkas were dried out. The best thing there was the falafel, something I can get in Abu Dhabi for less than 5 dirhams.
4. I asked for tea for the ladies and the waiter promptly told me they would charge me for it. It was a bit shocking as when I booked I was told that tea and coffee was included. I asked him to double check and he went around like a headless chicken before bringing us a pot of extremely weak tea served with ice cold milk. I asked him to bring me a pot of strong tea and hot milk which turned into a farce as the second pot was just as weak, and by the time the hot milk came to us (about 10 minutes) the tea had gone cold. So we had to ask for additional tea bags to make our tea in the cups which took another 5 minutes. All in all, any place that can get so chaotic over just a cuppa doesn't deserve to be called abu dhabis grandest iftar and charge 300 dirhams for it.
5. When the bill came i observed they had charged me full cover for a 12 year old girl. This was completely counter to the advice I had been given when I made my booking. I asked the waiter to confirm and in a totally indifferent manner he said that 12 year olds get charged full cover. I decided not to argue as I was eager to get out of the deep freezer.
6. The ramadan juices they offer are absolutely horrid. Don't bother young for any of the 5 concoctions and stick to water.
All in all, I was terribly disappointed with the EP ramadan tent and urge you to save your hard earned money and either take iftar at home or go to some less pretentious place where you can actually get value for money.
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