Quirky Ramadan food: Vimto-flavoured ice cream and the 'tallest' dosa in Dubai

Holy month favourites like you've never seen them before

When it comes to Ramadan, there are culinary staples enjoyed annually when the holy month comes around. A date to break fast, lentil soup, mezze, grilled meats and haleem all spring to mind, washed down with a cold glass of Vimto, of course, and followed by umm Ali, halwa or baklava.

This year, a crop of Dubai restaurants are breaking the mould, reinventing or deconstructing dishes, or upsizing with enormous takes on classic fare.

Pickl is a firm fast-food favourite, known for its fried chicken and burgers. This Ramadan it has released Vimto-flavoured milkshakes and ice cream sandos – a scoop of ice cream served in a cinnamon-topped bun.

The Vimto ice-cream sando from Pickl. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Vimto is such a popular drink in the UAE during Ramadan, so we wanted to explore combining its unique flavour with Pickl’s Gooder Milkshakes and Ice Cream Sandos. As we thought it would be, it was a winner,” says Steve Flawith, founder and chief executive of Pickl.

“Whether it begins with a flash of inspiration in our test kitchen or is the result of an intense ideation session between our culinary and marketing teams, each dish takes a different length of time to develop. The one thing that remains constant is we keep on working on it until we believe it’s the best it can be.”

As popular as the dishes have been, Flawith is coy about whether they’ll be back next year.

Mosaic cake from Sugarmoo. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Other outlets are also getting creative. Sugarmoo has created a line of mosaic cakes that are almost too pretty to eat. The colourful Arabesque icing design houses an indulgent red velvet cake.

Another sweet treat with a twist is 3 Fils’ Date with the Moon dessert, which is a date pudding topped with caramel sauce, and a crunch of caramelised popcorn ice cream on the side.

Date with the Moon dessert by Brix and 3 Fils. Chris Whiteoak / The National

“We set out to make something just for Ramadan, using an ingredient associated with the month: dates. We also wanted to add a fun element to the dessert by making it more playful and nostalgic with popcorn and vanilla ice cream,” says Carmen Rueda Hernandez, head pastry chef at Brix Desserts and 3 Fils.

Size is a common boundary broken with quirky dishes this year – with a metre-long shawarma from Sultan Al Arab, who are encouraging people to share their favourite dishes during the holy month.

A metre-long shawarma (in foil) with side dishes from Sultan Al Arab. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Over at Yummy Dosa, you’ll be served a dish that claims to be the UAE’s tallest dosa and is inspired by Burj Khalifa.

“We love to create new dishes every now and again for our customers and specially during bigger occasions such as Ramadan. Since Ramadan is one of the biggest events in the region, we thought of creating something big and came up with the idea of the tallest dosa,” says Jugal Parekh, managing director at Yummy Dosa.

The dish is 50 centimetres tall and comprises three of the casual eatery’s rolled up Yummy Dosas.

A dish that claims to be the UAE's tallest dosa, from Yummy Dosa. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Updated: April 22, 2022, 6:01 PM