Years ago, I had rolled down the window and stared transfixed at the gorgeous sights on Sheikh Zayed Road- one building in particular catching my attention. It was not a skyscraper, nor a mall that was decked in gaudy lights and neon boards. The building stood with identity, different from those around it, bringing a feel of European elegance. Since then, it was a structure I wished to view up close – for its delicate simplicity and foreign enchantment.

Villa Rotana, I later learnt, was a luxurious hotel that boasted of an all day dining restaurant named Moka Café, serving international cuisine. It was one of the last days of Ramadan that we decided to pay Moka Café a visit, upon a generous invite from the hotel management. Reaching there a bit later than the Azaan time, we were surprised to find the restaurant seating area buzzing with guests. There were hardly any empty tables and the servers milled around, albeit with smiles, attending to guests. While waiting to be seated, we observed that the spread was not overly extravagant but decent, and seemingly appreciated by the diners, some of whom were already on their way to enjoying the desserts.

Chatting up with Rachel from Beingrandomfoodblog- who we shared a table with- we set out to explore what the Iftar buffet had to offer. Always a fan of creative and fresh salads for breaking the fast with, I was glad to see a lovely array of salad combinations on the table. Steaming lentil soup was available along with all the traditional hot and cold mezze including fresh tabouleh, creamy hummus, fattoush, stuffed grape leaves and chilled beef and capsicum salad. They had the basics very well covered, ensuring nothing went wrong there.

Moving onto the mains, the brilliantly aromatic lamb ouzi was the definite highlight. Roasted chicken with potatoes and the Lamb curry were flavored beautifully and were repeatedly visited by the diners, we could tell. The spaghetti was just a tad too greasy for my taste, but the Cottage pie compensated for that flaw with charm.

Unfortunately, starting off our venture a bit late put us at a disadvantage when it came to desserts. The lovely eclairs and fruit tarts that had caught our eye as we had strolled in, had disappeared by now. There was a queue for the desserts section, which told us something really good about the taste of the dishes, though sadly, there was a mismatch in the number of expected and arrived guests. Enjoying the prestigious media table, we got lucky when the Chef surprised us with a platter of chocolate and carrot cakes that we gladly dove right into. The carrot cake deserves a special mention, being light and gentle on our heavy stomach, yet promptly delicious on our sugar-hungry palette.

While the guests could ask for anything from the spread to be served to their table, those dishes that got creamed off due to the confusion in guest numbers, were a missed tale. Thus, those eclairs that had looked too good to be true have to be met and experienced another day, so that no tale remains untold. Especially not something that looked so promising!

Villa Rotana had their Iftar buffet running for AED 125, but thanks to some great offers they ran on Cobone and Groupon, the buffet vouchers were available for AED 89 which made it a fantastic deal considering the lovely ambience, the variety in spread and the consistency in food quality. So here is a tip from FoodKissed- Keep you eyes open for snatching those deals during next Ramadan!