Gathering with family for iftar is an essential part of Ramadan, and doing so outside the home can be a special treat for every housewife who spends hours preparing food for the occasion.
For the first week of the holy month, we experienced iftar at Alfolk restaurant in Shangri-La Jeddah, a Ramadan-only restaurant that was launched in 2022.
Alfolk offers an excellent open buffet inspired mostly by Saudi cuisine but also featuring a unique selection of delicacies from the Middle East, India, Asia, and beyond.
The interior design of the seasonal restaurant, named after the Arabic word for ships, is inspired by Jeddah’s cosmopolitan spirit and maritime heritage, with culinary creations and modern spaces designed to offer diners a joyous atmosphere.
Forming the backdrop to Alfolk for this year’s Ramadan celebrations are stars, which have long-guided sailors, fishermen, merchants and pilgrims to safety, and large mainsail canvases to fit the nautical vibes.
A banner with the story behind the restaurant is also on display for diners to read.
As the sun set, dim lights came on, and we broke our fast with dates and gahwa. Staff then served an array of classic Ramadan beverages such as yogurt, jellab, Qamar Al-Din and Vimto.
The buffet offered a pyramid of dates stuffed with nuts, such as hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pistachio, cashew, and almond, garnished with milk chocolate and sesame.
The iftar menu included classic Saudi dishes such as jareesh, ghouzi, marqooq, and saleeg; Middle Eastern favorites including festive full lamb kabsa and Moroccan tajine; an array of soups and seafood selections; and Indian and Arabian samosa, among other gastronomic delights.
For dessert, international selections were on offer including an array of Turkish baklava, kunafa, qatayef, meringue, chocolate mousse, pudding, cakes, and more.