Friday, 11 November 2011

Restaurant Review: Dreamy Dining at Darsdasha (Evania Spa at Park Hyatt, Jeddah)

Jeddah's Park Hyatt, Marina Club's Evania Spa for women houses a restaurant called Dardasha; they were running an offer in October for a buffet for afternoon tea and finger sandwiches and gourmet desserts the charge was SR99 per person. My friend and I decided to give it a go as the desserts on the voucher looked absolutely mouth-watering, so on the last Thursday of October we made our way to Dardasha.

We arrived and spied the wooden door with a sign for Darsasha hanging near it, there was only one car in the car park, we guessed that most customers were dropped off, being it a women establishment. We pushed open the door and walked inside, entered a spacious hall with arches and corridors leading away on all sides, the place seemed very quiet and empty, and we walked around taking in our surroundings.

The walls are white, and white arches adorn every corridor, doorway and window; white gauzy curtains frame the arches creating an ethereal atmosphere. The white of the walls is broken up by dark foyer furniture beautifully inlaid with mother of pearl. Majestic mirrors reside over stately chests, flanked by regal chairs.

Soon however, we spotted a few ladies dining in the distance and we headed to find ourselves a table. We were received by a waitress and her manager; who were very polite, relieved us of our abayas, and offered us the choice of buffet or a la carte, after glancing through the menu out of curiosity we stuck to our original plan and went for the buffet.

We were informed that we could order tea or coffee twice, and we started off with tea as we thought it would complement the fresh scones, (which we had spotted on our way in), nicely. I know it is meant to be hi-tea, but I wish they had an alternative to caffeine like juice or even sparkling water, for those of us that are caffeine intolerant or wish to sleep early!

We started off with the wonderfully buttery, almost shortbread like, scones accompanied by sweet strawberry jam and delicious fresh cream. Readers, this was the best and most filling part of our meal, we had seconds and they offered to heat up our second scones to great effect.
We were also served a selection of fresh berries: red raspberries, blue berries and blackberries, they were soft, sweet and surprisingly tasted fresh.

For savoury, there was limited selection of sandwiches with an assortment of tuna, smoked salmon, smoked chicken/turkey/beef. There were also shot glasses of shrimp cocktail, consisting of steamed shrimp and bits of mango with an oil based dressing. The micro mini Caesar salad was a hit with my friend, although I found it a bit dry. There are also carrot, cucumber and celery sticks accompanied by a choice of two salad dressings for your munching pleasure.

The sweet selection was wide; there were the very locally popular pink macaroons, personally, I find them too sweet for my taste. There was chocolate mousse, pureed melon, mini tarts, and a few others I was too sugared out to try.

The view of the Red sea as the sunset was enchanting, and if you wished you could enjoy the ambience on the tables and chairs outside, unfortunately due to some water seepage issues it didn’t smell that great. We took a tour of the grounds, the landscaping, the palm trees, the lighting all transport you to a magical place.

To conclude, I enjoyed my visit possibly more due to the ambience, and the fact that my abaya sleeves were not in my way, rather than because of the food: the scones and berries are keepers. It was quiet as a tomb, there were only 2 tables occupied the entire time we were there, and it was so  quiet that it made us prone to whisper! Some light background music, or sounds of waterfalls, or birds chirping in keeping with the spa theme, would draw attention away from the emptiness-at least until it fills up.

I understand that Dardasha, as part of Evania spa want to keep hi-tea healthy and posh, but their hi-tea buffet needs a bit more variety, and few touches such as the fresh bread, mini croissants, tapenade and butter, cheese and olives, alternatives to caffeine, complimentary water, wouldn’t go amiss, if only to ensure that they don’t send customers home jittery on a sugar and caffeine induced high which might not necessarily make them come back a second time

You can find my review on Jeddah Food as well.

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