The Holy Month of Ramadan will begin in early May and we were on the lookout for Iftar offerings with a little more attention to detail and a unique touch. Enter the breathtaking venue Indigo, located on the rooftop at The Merchant House, where FACT discovered a sophisticated yet homely set up for anyone who wants that exclusive, welcoming twist to their Iftar experience…

When it comes to inviting guests for a Ramadan gathering, a sprawling buffet may not always be your first choice. For those of you looking to blend intimate and entertaining in a venue that is both sophisticated and satisfying, look no further than The Merchant House. A Campbell Gray Hotel, this artfully decorated property in the heart of Manama is also home to the beautiful Indigo, a stunning rooftop garden terrace-cumrestaurant that has plenty to sink your teeth into for the Holy Month ahead.

Even on a regular day, Indigo fuses Mediterranean and Asian authentic delicacies to offer the finest dining experience with exceptional blends and flavours. With an emphasis on sharing, Executive Chef Robert Shipman, has designed a menu that draws from his experience throughout southern Europe and time working with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Combining fresh bold seasonal produce with delicate unmistakable flavours promises to leave a lasting impression.

The same philosophy and attention to detail has been provided by Chef Robert and his team in creating a Ramadan Iftar menu. Head to Indigo as the sun sets and get ready to experience some of the freshest food being served up during this special time of the year. Iftar at Indigo is a combination of a few small dishes set on the table, a variety covering everything from the smoothest chickpea hummous, labneh with zaatar, and delicate muhammara, to name but a few whilst a lovely mini-buffet takes centre stage, boasting what can only be described as pastry heaven. Chef Robert highlights his many years of culinary experience with a medley of sweet and savoury pastries, inspired by Mediterranean classics from Greece and Crete as well as a few more familiar choices covering Morocco and the Middle East.

The highlights for us had to be the famous Spanakopita (filo pastry stuffed with spinach and cheese), the Moroccan Lamb Briouat, which had everyone at the table singing their mmmhs and aaahs, alongside another crowd-pleaser, the light yet tasty Chicken Pastiya. However, it was the perfectly-made Ravani that had us in awe. The moist and flavourful Greek semolina cake is an instant hit – it’s delicate and filling without being heavy – guaranteed to prove a winning formula for Iftar. A menu of hot dishes will be available from which diners will be served made-to-order food, freshly-cooked to ensure the tastiest ingredients shine through.

One of the focal points of Iftar at Indigo is the melt-in-your-mouth tender braised lamb shank which is cooked for 18 hours to achieve the ideal fall-off-the-bone meat to satisfy all those Ramadan cravings. The dish is certainly one of great quality, served with raisin and almond rice and lamb jus – delicious. If you fancy something to warm you up that is equally tasty, the roast chicken cooked in Chef Robert’s very own mix of baharat spices and laid neatly on top of creamy, cheesy gratin dauphinois, will be a sure palate-pleaser with every bite feeling like a home-cooked meal. Hearty soups like the Moroccan Harira will also be available to start the epicurean evening with a touch of warmth.

For dessert, the gorgeous chocolate brownies stole our taste buds and made for the most apt sweet ending of our Ramadan tasting at The Merchant House. What Chef Robert manages to do with this style of Iftar offering is blend together cultures and cuisines that draw on both local tastes and traditions alongside influences from the wider region and beyond. For something that’s a little more detailed and scattered with variety, stepping away from your usual Arabic and International buffet set up, we’d highly recommend booking a table at Indigo for a Ramadan Iftar experience unlike anywhere else in town.