Photo essay: How Atlantis, The Palm's Asateer tent serves 3,000 meals a day

One month of prep, 700 staff and more than a decade's worth of experience go into making it one of Dubai's most popular venues come Ramadan

Powered by automated translation

When it first opened in 2011, the Asateer tent at Atlantis, The Palm could only take in about 600 iftar and suhoor guests at once. Now, after years of "listening to feedback and learning", executive chef Ali El Bourji welcomes up to 3,000 to the majlis daily.

"Ramadan is not like any other kind of event," he says. "Those who are fasting have the same eating window, so we always need to prepare for welcoming a lot of hungry guests, all at once."

El Bourji has been with the five-star property for 15 years and considers Asateer his "baby project".

For the herculean task, Asateer employs more than 700 people to ensure smooth operations during iftar and suhoor, including more than 250 kitchen staff.

The tent has a spread of more than 250 dishes, including an extensive dessert and drinks menu. It features daily themed iftar nights, too. One evening, guests may be indulging in fragrant Middle Eastern delights, while the next could transport them to the heart of Turkey. This year, El Bourji says they added more cuisines, including paella and live wok stations.

Communication is key during the entire iftar and suhoor service, says El Bourji, who ensures all the staff are on the same page.

"Everyone has walkie-talkies. We also have a WhatsApp group," he says. "Communication is really important here because a single mistake might throw off the experience of a guest.

"We deal with people who are coming off a 14-hour fast, for example, and we want to make sure they are well taken care of, from the moment they reach the hotel down to when they are waiting for their cars in the valet area."

The chef says they allocate about one month of preparation before Ramadan and take that time to talk about new ideas for the menu, decorations and other elements to deliver "the best Asateer experience".

"We also have post-Ramadan meetings where we talk about the mistakes that occurred, as well as what we could have done better," says El Bourji, who stresses the importance of listening to guests' feedback.

Aside from the food, the Asateer tent is also known for its buzzing atmosphere and elegant decor. Silver and blue are the main colour motifs, with the traditional Ramadan embellishments of stars and lamps.

"The future of Asateer is very important to me. We will strive to deliver more unique experiences to our guests and make sure that we are a top choice for them during the holy month," says El Bourji.

Updated: March 30, 2024, 6:35 PM