Living in Indonesia, one of the festive months that I always enjoy is Ramadan, when restaurants and many F&B joints offer lots of special promotions with specific theme. Although many restaurants offer traditional Indonesian cuisine for breakfasting menu, some of them also provide authentic Middle Eastern theme as the religion is believed to be originated from those areas.
During this holy month, many hotel restaurants also have the same offers, and this time we are going to share about our fabulous Ultimate Iftar experience at Al Nafoura Lebanese Restaurant, one of the restaurants in Le Meridien Hotel Jakarta. Although Le Meridien Jakarta’s main dining, La Brasserie, also offers breakfasting buffet package, this one in Al Nafoura specifically features authentic Middle Eastern cuisine only and might be a great choice for you who savor this particular cuisine in Jakarta.
Originally a Lebanese restaurant, Al Nafoura which means “fountain” in Arabic, is built over two spacious levels to provide a relaxed atmosphere, the textured sand stone walls and terracotta floor vividly contrast with the richly colored handcrafted artifacts to emphasize the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ambience. I am sure you will forget that you are still in Jakarta when you step into this beautiful place.
In the middle of the restaurant, there is an open kitchen with vertical rotating spit roasting will slowly cook shawarma to perfection and large wood-fired ovens in which an assortment of breads is baked. You should check this area for what they offer this month, from Chicken Shawarma, to Samboussek Jebnah (fried pastry filled with cheese) and Kebbeh Laham (ragout of minced lamb with pine nuts, cracked wheat and sumac).
Before we continue with the buffet spread, let’s meet Chef Ahmad Jamil, who is the mastermind of all these dishes in Al Nafoura. Actually back in August 2016, we already met him in La Brasserie and we also tried some of his dishes which we liked so much. So I guess you can imagine how excited we were when we visited Al Nafoura to explore more of his creations this time! Chef Ahmad Jamil has Palestinian background but he was born and raised in Jordan. With many years working experiences in many five-star hotels in Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Malaysia, he continues his journey in Le Meridien Jakarta since 2015. Without futher ado, let’s dig in!
ULTIMATE IFTAR IDR 395,000++/pax
25 May – 24 June 2017
Only available for breakfasting dinner
5.30 PM – 11 PM
including special fasting drink, hot tea, and juices
Start your Middle Eastern cuisine experience with delicious assortment of hot and cold mezzeh which are great companies for all other dishes, but don’t miss your fresh pita bread! If you like something soothing to start, try the lentil soup.
- Top-Left: Tabbouleh (finely chopped parsley, mint, onion, and tomatoes seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice)
- Top-Right: Hommous (puree of chick peas with sesame paste, lemon juice and olive oil)
- Mid-Left: Mujadra (basmati rice with green lentil, cumin, olive oil, and fried onion)
- Mid-Right: Fattoush Salad (veggie salad and pomegranate syrup)
- Bottom-Left: Babaganoush (grilled eggplant salad with tomato, capsicum, cucumber and onion)
- Bottom-Right: Loubieh Bil Zeit (cooked green beans with olive oil and tomato)
Before the main course, try the Live Grill station, where you can try their fresh fish with Hara sauce or the stuffed rice chicken. They didn’t look too pretty, honestly, but tasted so good and fresh!
Make sure to spare your tummy because you definitely don’t wanna miss the signature Haruf Ouzi (braised lamb shank ouzi style served with oriental rice, assorted nuts and yogurt sauce), which is also good accompanied with hot or cold Mezzeh (appetizer) such as Hommous, Tabbouleh and Samboussek. I like the lamb so much because it is very tender, very easy to peel off the bone, and not smelly at all. In the other side, the oriental rice was tasty enough but a bit dry although I still will come back for this!
And if those above don’t satisfy you, walk to the outdoor terrace and find the Arabic BBQ station that features Ottoman and Middle Eastern grilled items! From meat to seafood, they have them all, and all you do is picking what you like and you can wait or have them delivered right to your table when ready. Oh, did I tell you that these BBQ are also good paired with the hot & cold mezzeh?
And last, desserts! I felt like a kid in a toy shop when I saw the desserts station, LOL! So many unique authentic desserts that I even had no idea of them, and it made me so excited. I tried every single thing in that station can you believe that? Well, I will tell you which ones my favorites are later!
Ta-dah! The 3 desserts below are my personal favorites that day and I also came back twice to refill my plate with the same desserts although I felt so full already. XD My ultimate favorite would be Samboussek Bil Tamur (crispy pastry filled with dates and sesame seed), they are so crispy and sweet I felt strangely happy while eating them. Probably I had sugar overload and that made me ecstatic, LOL!). And if you come here, don’t skip the Umm Ali (baked bread pudding), Turkish Delight, and the Baklava for sure!
Who loves the lovely Turkish Ice Cream? Say yes because they also have a dedicated station only for that, YAY! My favorite flavors are pistachio and coffee. It can be difficult to scoop these ice creams by yourselves, so you can always ask the staff to help.
It was a great Iftar experience we had in Al Nafoura. I wish we could stay longer and enjoy the shisha or traditional sweets at the outdoor terrace, but we had to come back earlier that night, so maybe next time! If you want to enjoy exotic Arabian nights, you can also enjoy belly dance performances every Friday and Saturday night at 8.30PM and 9.30PM.
Last but not least, we wish you all a blessed and peaceful Ramadan!
* All prices are subject to 11% service charge & 10% government tax
** This review is written based on our visit on 26 May 2017.
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AL NAFOURA LEBANESE RESTAURANT
Le Meridien Jakarta
Jalan Jenderal Sudirman Kav 18 – 20
Ph. +62 21 251 3131
11.30 AM to 2.30 PM
During Ramadan (27 May – 26 June) close for Lunch
6.30 PM to 10.30 PM
During Ramadan (27 May – 26 June) 5.30 PM to 10.30 PM
6.30 PM to 10.30 PM
*Belly dancing on Friday & Saturday 8.30PM & 9.30PM