Doha, Qatar – As a newbie expat in GCC, Ramadan and Iftar are new concepts to me. So when I got an invite for Iftar dinner at the Circle Restaurant at Millenium Plaza Hotel Doha, I said yes to see what it is all about.
What are Ramadan and Iftar?
So what are Ramadan and Iftar? If you don’t know yet, what makes Ramadan special is because it is the month when the Holy Quran (Koran) was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. It’s the 9th month in the Islamic Lunar Calendar and lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on when the crescent moon will be sighted.
During this time, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. This is one of the five pillars of Islam. No food, water, cigarettes, and chewing gum can be consumed. It is a time to focus more on prayers and the Holy Quran, as well as fasting from sexual activities and thoughts, gossip, and other sinful acts.
In between the fasting hours, Suhoor is eaten before dawn while Iftar is the meal to break the fast after sunset.
Circle Restaurant Millennium Plaza Hotel Doha
Located on the second floor of the hotel, Circle Restaurant offers both Iftar and Suhoor during Ramadan. This modern restaurant serves both buffet and ala carte of International and Arabic dishes.
The interiors were dominated with warm earth tones and lighting, accented by colorful table runners and table lamps. The restaurant has an open kitchen, although I didn’t see any action there that night.
There were 6 stations: salads, main dishes, mixed grill and lamb ouzi, breads, desserts (including fruits and dates), and a beverage station.
I confess I’ve always been a small eater so for me to make the most of the buffet, I have to eat in small portions.
For the starters, I’ve tried the lentil soup and corn salad as well as a taste of tabbouleh.
Satisfied, I moved to the mains and filled my new plate with salmon, seafood gratin, baby potatoes, and chicken with freekeh rice. Freekeh is basically wheat and is considered a super grain. It is also a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine.
The salmon was a bit dry but I loved it in combination with the creamy and soft Seafood Gratin. The chicken too was a bit dry and hard. Surprisingly, even with its texture, I liked the freekeh rice. And you can never go wrong with baby potatoes.
The dessertarian in me was excited for the dessert spread so I moved on to taking my picks from the delectable and most inviting table of all. Assessing the room I still have in my stomach, I passed on fruits and instead searched for my staple favorite: Umm Ali. I proceeded to taste the profiterole and Truffle cake as well. Too bad, I was going to go back for the Arabic sweets but my stomach gave up. I’d be sure to try them next time, though!
(Click on the arrows at the side to see the other pics)
As for the service, they were attentive and thus the food is refilled fast.
I ended the night with some lively chat and tea. All in all, I say my first Iftar experience was a blast! Hope to check out the other Iftar offerings in Doha soon.
Quick Guide to Millennium Plaza Hotel Doha
Address: Suhaim bin Hamad Street
Contact Number: +974 4041 6999
Rating: 5 star
- Iftar buffet: 165 QAR | sunset to 9 pm
- Suhoor buffet: 110 QAR | 11 pm to 3 am
Disclosure: I was invited to be a guest at Circle Restaurant Millennium Plaza Doha. However, all opinions, biases, and comments remain my own.