Dubai Consumer Mirror

Friday, September 05, 2008

Iftar Review: Tamani Marina Hotel Ramadan tent

I was invited for Iftar at Tamani Marina Hotel yesterday.

Never before, have I been to such poorly presented, orchestrated and extremely tormenting Iftar experience before in my life.

Honestly, I have been served lousy Iftar cuisines before. But they sucked at some things, sucked less at others. The people behind Tamani's Iftar tent proved, on a whole new level, that besides offering horrible food, there are actually more ways to ruin ones’ Iftar.

I don't know where to start from, so lets take it from the top.

The Venue
When we walked in to the specially erected Ramadan tent on the pool terrace, the tables were arranged in a very odd, wrap-around layout arrangement that made a single raw of tables parallel to a split buffet. In between, another line of lounge-looking armchairs were laid out. The large round tables were fully set up with glasses, china and silverware. Lounge tables had single small plates and a bowl of dates.

It seemed that the original plan was to have some kind of a pre-iftar "lounge" for fasting people, and once iftar commences, people would move to the big round tables behind them.

While that idea may sound mildly interesting -in theory- the actual outcome was far away from what it was meant to be. When Iftar started, people ended bring their plates to where they sat on the lounge cushions; slouching down on tiny, cramped, poorly serviced coffee tables.

Most of the proper round banquet tables, with all their full-course cutlery sets, were left behind deserted.

And to make sure that the makeshift iftar tent doesn’t end up as steam bath, stand-alone Air condition units were scattered all over the place. When we sat down, the entire elevated floor was massaging our feet with a buzzing vibration that could induce a pregnant woman to delivery. But we got used to it after 10 minutes.

The food
Ramadan Iftar buffets are unlike any other. Typically, there are specific dishes that are served with larger quantities than usual. Dishes such as soups, oriental salads, bite-sized pastry (fatayer, samosas, cheese puffs...etc) make prominent presence. Instead, there was a small bowl of soup the ran out after serving a dozen guests maybe. Refills were very slow. The Fattoush bowl, a Ramadan-must-have salad, was big enough to serve 5 or 6 people only. I didn't have any of those.

There was a line up of tiny sorbet glasses filled with pesto dipped cherry tomatoes and mozzarella sticks. Not your typical Iftar dish. Oh, there was a huge platter of salmon and vegetable Maki rolls(Sushi). Why in the world would any sane chef serve Sushi on an Iftar buffet?! :)

Moving on...

The main dishes section didn't look as confused as the salad one. I passed by a mixed variety of recopies from various parts of the planet. I saw Kabab Hindi (a Levantine pot cooked Kafta in tomato and onion stew), A universal BBQ mixed grill, Harees (emarati wheat and lamb squash), fish kabsa (Saudi/CGG saffron rice with chunks of fish fillets), European Potato Grattan, Moroccan lamb chops Tajin, Asian Stir fried beef (or chicken, not sure) and steamed veggies.

I scoped a bit of Kafta, a few pieces from the mixed grill trey with some plain white rice and Hommos. Safe choices, I thought to myself.

I thought wrong.

Everything I had was borderline fit for human consumption. The rice was bland and crunchy. The Kafta had a foul smell that virtually raped my taste buds. The Mix grill were OK, i guess and the hommos was grainy and synthetic, it felt as if it came out of a ready-mix tin can.

The person next to me was having Stuffed lamb, or Ooozi, (slowly cooked whole lamb with cinnamon rice and nuts). Hoping I can make up what i ate (or didn't), I found the lamb station and a server scooped 2 small servings of rice and a piece of meat. On my way back, i looked for this dish's typical sidekick, garlic flavored yogurt, but it was no where to be found.

The lamb was revolting. The meat the server slugged on my plate turned it to be mostly fat. The rice had the right color, but the wrong flavor. I have no idea how they did that.

My last resort was the desert section. There was a set of middle eastern sweets (a must have in Ramadan) and a decent variety of western ones. I had some Knafe, halawet el jeben and Hreeseh. The knafeh was really good to the point everyone at the table agreed that it was outsourced. i.e. supplied by the better known sweet shops in Dubai (Al Samadi or Al Baba). Everything else was left on the plates.

Final Verdict
If you have a leeching relative, a self-invintg-piggy-bagging-super-self-imposing friend that you want to make sure he doesn't invite himself to your gigs again OR a wife you wanna convince that Iftar @ Home is the best option, Tamani’s Iftar tent is a guaranteed hit with its appalling menu, horrible service and an overwhelmingly distributing iftar experience.


  • So can we blag that for The Fat Expat????

    By Blogger alexander..., at September 5, 2008 at 1:35 PM  

  • Iftar at home all the way brotha!

    By Blogger KJ, at September 5, 2008 at 1:56 PM  

  • Alex - knock urself out mate :)

    KJ - i kindda didn't have a choice, had to go..

    By Blogger moryarti, at September 5, 2008 at 3:57 PM  

  • I have been there in Tamani Hotel Ramadan tent on 04/09/2009 for Iftar and the experience was unforgettable in all the way.

    Venue was super by location & view. The food was amazing & you can not compare it with the same what I got from Westin in earlier days. Tamani really deserved appreciations & please don’t disappoint people by spreading wrong information. I request to Mr.Moryarti to go there & try their Iftar instead of giving wrong information.

    Kind Regards


    By Blogger jerry john, at September 6, 2008 at 2:42 PM  

  • If you like the food there. Be my guest, I can buy you iftar there if you want. But don’t go around throwing baseless accusations of spreading wrong information, and trying to defame the your neighboring Westin hotel along the way. Not very nice.. tsk tsk tsk.

    I can see that someone from Tamani hotel (IP spent 2hr58secs and made 48 recurring visits to various pages on my blog. Mainly the review page.

    I have labeled From your IP address. I’ll be keep an eye on you ;)

    I can see that you, and other people, have Googled my alias as well? Hope your bit of investigative work worked out.

    Though I appreciate the efforts you made in.. erm.. creating a profile which about one person has visited (yourself), I am very impressed with the level of intelligence and passion you have demonstrated in your comment.

    If you do actually work for or affiliated to Tamani, you are not making your case any better. You have the completely wrong approach buddy.

    I have explicitly described, in every bit of detail the buffet menu on that dreadful day I was there. I drew a clear picture of the setup of the venue and the seating arrangements...

    Oh wait, please forgive me. I forgot to include one more thing.

    The horrible wave of Chlorine odor that slaps all the tent goers in the face, on their way into the tent. Great choice you made their on the pool deck.

    Your comment will not compromise the integrity nor the credibility of this blog.

    I’ve been to various places and posted various positive (and negative) reviews that are based on my experience.

    You can check the ones I did on Al Mawal in Rotana Hotel, Al Sammach or the Chocolate Bar.

    Had the Ramadan Tent people at Tamani hotel did a good job, I would definitely have posted a respective review.

    Unfortunalty, the they have failed... miserably.

    By Blogger moryarti, at September 6, 2008 at 3:48 PM  

  • I have been there in Tamani Marina Hotel yesterday, 5th of September 2008 for Iftar and i was delighted with the food and service that they shown.

    The location and views is very amazing. With regards to the food it was superv and my expectation is exceeded you cannot see it in other Hotels or Restaurant.

    And already invited some of my friends to come to Tamani to try their food and to see the views.

    For you Mr. Moryarti, you dont know what your talking too. I've dining from other Hotels & Restaurant but Tamani's food is the best.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 6, 2008 at 3:58 PM  

  • loooll ..

    Anon/Jerry, or whoever, - i know its you - its your same IP. Grow up :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at September 6, 2008 at 4:02 PM  

  • Dear Moryarti (my kuwaiti Friend);

    I think you were in a bad mood when you dined at Tamani;

    Last friday I went with 20 of my relatives and future wife!, yes am getting married (Kuwaiti lady also)!.

    The experince exceeded the expectations by all means, If I can be in details, I will start from the valet parking; when the valetman approches my car door (my future wife was also siting beside me)and with a warm welcome the valetman started- welcome to Tamani- God!!!!!, he made my day, as am trying to impress (my future wife and her family) where I managed to do that at the Hotel entrance.

    The siting as you dicriped is correct, but I don't agree with you on the concept, as this will translate different siting styles for dinning, trust me I booked the lower sitting (what you called launch).

    The Food, was extra ordinary, for a family toured whole eaurope and very selective in their eating places, I think am blessed with the choice.

    I think I have to go, but for the record, my future mother in-law, told her daugther, she have to come and speak to the chef for food classes, am not sure if I can do that, let me know if you have any strong contact overtheir, as I know its difficult.

    Sorry, once again, speak to you later;


    By Blogger John, at September 6, 2008 at 4:43 PM  

  • Jerry

    I wasn't in a bad mood. The food was bad. Full Stop. And that’s not my opinion alone. 7 or 8 people who were with us didn't enjoy the meal what so ever.

    There must have been some good things in that buffet, it maybe my luck that everything I had that day was inedible.

    Don't confuse the hotel with the tent. I haven't stayed at the hotel, so i can't judge the level of the service there.

    I am glad that people from Tamani hotel are reading this review. Because there is nothing like living in denial.

    Anyone with half-a-brain working in that hotel, and instead of taking a defensive attitude, would've asked the chef or whoever is looking after that tent, to read this review so that he/she can get proper feedback on the food.

    Nonetheless, I am not going back there. So, you don't need to worry about me talking about your hotel again.

    By Blogger moryarti, at September 6, 2008 at 8:30 PM  

  • Mory, sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience, made worse by the group themselves blogging a response in disguise (or maybe

    I have to say that I do not go for many iftar buffets, but last year the Rotana (near defence r/a) was excellent. This year I can say I have had the best of all years at Yalumba, the Aussie restaurant in Le meridien near the Airport. It was truly delightful. The food was fresh, well laid out and so so delicious. I am afraid to try anywhere else as I am sure they will pale in comparison.

    To be honest, just the sound of 'Iftar in a tent' makes me run a few miles.

    By Blogger CG, at September 9, 2008 at 12:58 PM  

  • Oh dear, Jerry/Anon/John certainly have their work cut out. Best to fix it rather than try to defend it, methinks.

    Mory, you forgot to tell us how much they charged you for this delightful experience!

    By Blogger Keefieboy, at September 9, 2008 at 2:40 PM  

  • CG - the place you are talking about is called Al Mawal - Excellent, to say the least!

    Keef: That was my point... i have nothing persnoal against the hotel and the guys, as a matter of fact should thank for me for giving an honest openion. This is a chance for them to clean up their act and catch up on the rest of the month with some good food.

    Oh, and i didn't pay for anything. i was invited :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at September 9, 2008 at 9:57 PM  

  • I think its fair enough to see negative and positive comments for Tamani iftar. Negative comments, to have all these as an eyeopener for Tamani to have more room for improvements as i have learned that this is a new hotel. Surely they will do a lot of refining to be able to meet or even exceed the expectation of their guests...Positive comments on the otherhand will serve Tamani as an inspiration and have a feeling of "heaven" perfect enough to continue their views of committed to giving quality services and product...atleast we should appraise their efforts of trying to be the best of their for my experience, i went to their ramadan tent 2 days ago as my friends invited me for iftar....i like eating a lot and personally i can describe the food as excellent if not superb!...i dont know but my friends and i shared the same view about the food....infact, we forgot about time and enjoy the coziness of the place....nice arabian music i must say......hhhmmm...i will try to come again with my boyfriend....lastly, i must say that i can give Tamani a very high mark as my expectations when it comes to food and venue has been met....continue to strive higher for a greater leap the way, also try iftar in Moevenpick bur dubai......oozi is very nice too......

    By Blogger Zeeshan, at September 9, 2008 at 10:54 PM  

  • "exceed the expectation of their guests..." - hotel speak.

    i will try to come again with my boyfriend.try that. Zeeshan is a guy's name. Coming with your boyfriend is illegal in this country.

    my expectations when it comes to food and venue has been met "exceed expectations": hotel speak again.

    try iftar in Moevenpick bur dubai is that your sister Hotel or just a cheeky decoy?

    Stop anonymous, brainless commenting: this is really bad PR for your hotel...atleast try for speakin goodenglish for exceed expectation.

    By Blogger i*maginate, at September 16, 2008 at 1:38 AM  

  • HaHa!

    By Blogger Harsha, at September 17, 2008 at 12:24 PM  

  • Moryarti and Keefieboy, I feel better prepared for my journey to this hotel thanks to your comments.

    I will be put up in this hotel for two weeks while working in Dubai. The company has arranged for our meals to be provided and I am worried about the quality of food at the Tamani Hotel.

    Would it be fair to assume the food is poor and the hotel's integrity is in question?

    Michael McCreary
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    By Blogger michael mccreary, at September 20, 2008 at 1:53 AM  

  • Thanks Michael... to be honest, i haven't tried any place within the hotel itself - its possible that the place i've been too was just poorly planned by this relativly new hotel.

    I also haven't stayed there. But in general, guest services in dubai hotels are highly rated and a 4 star hotel in Dubai are much better than many 5 star hotels i stayed at in Europe and the US.

    So, i wouldn't worry too much about that. Specialty resturants are also generally good and i don't think Tamani is an exception. My only beef with them was their Ramadan menu - which does require special planning and attention - thats were that hotel, in my openion, has failed.

    Have a safe journey from Hawaii

    By Blogger moryarti, at September 20, 2008 at 2:45 AM  

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