An exclusive review by Sneha Sivanand for Buzzingtales:
The Al Maeda Restaurant at DoubleTree by Hilton is planning to take its brand to a global level. Buzzingtales enjoyed a fabulous pre-Iftar dinner preview as they celebrated their flagship brand. Ten different menus have been made for the month of Ramadan, hence allowing each menu to be repeated thrice throughout the holy month. The cozy yet sophisticated ambiance made us feel completely relaxed. The buffet was lined up beautifully and made so appealing due to the aroma and bright colors of the food.
Our welcome drink comprising of pomegranate juice infused with a lime sugar syrup was very refreshing. The Iftar spread was carefully curated and crafted by the Top Chef Lawrence Al Najjad. A seamless blend of Lebanese & Arabic cuisine with playful flavors made it a true Ramadan spread for the holy month at Al Maeda.
Their fattoush salad was delightful mixtures that teased our taste buds – balancing various textures -soft, crunchy and creamy at the same time. Along with the standard lettuce and greens, there was mixed with a sort of fine biscuit and cheese. The hummus and muhammara which is basically a hot pepper dip won my votes for the best dip of the night. They did have the standard garden salad too along with a variety of others, ending the row of salads with a classic dish of olives and fig. Amongst their bread for the night, their pita bread was the best as it was tender and flavorful with each bite, the basket always being refilled with new ones from the oven.
Samosa and vine leaves? Never expected the two together yet they made quite the impression as the best starter.
Moving on to the main course- highlights were their Arabic rice and chicken biryani where they skillfully managed to stick to its Indian roots yet bringing a Lebanese touch to the palette. Grilled prawns in lemon butter sauce brought bursts of flavor, lamb chops and even shish taouk were definitely their standout dishes. I would have liked the beef to be a little more tender. The ultimate showstopper was their eggplant curry a favorite for both non-veg & vegetarians. I doubt you would taste anything like this elsewhere it was balanced with just the right amount of spices but still brought a slight tangy taste to it.
Last but not least the desserts, and the spread was as exhaustive as it can be. The best part was that they had a huge variety of traditional Lebanese dishes to Indian, American tastes etc. Small jalebi balls and kulfi were the best among the Indian dishes both oozing with flavor giving homage to the traditional dishes. The rasmalai, however, was not as flavourful. Varieties of baklava were showcased and those were quite tasty. All the American desserts came out well from chocolate brownies to cheesecakes, fruit cakes, and mousses. There was one French dessert that stole the limelight called creme brulee, it was so beautifully creamy and smooth with a tender sugar crust baked on the top of the pudding. Finished by blueberries on the top, I could not stop myself from taking another one.
Overall, the dinner was great, the hospitality top notch and the food definitely did make quite an impression on one’s mind.