Keep Dining spends the day in Ajman Saray dining and relaxing by the pool
We all know that life in the UAE can be a little on the hectic side. There is always something to do and someone to see, so it is vital that we all have a little ‘me’ time in order to reboot our energy supplies and rejuvenate. Which is exactly what my day out at the Ajman Saray hotel provided.
Having never been to Ajman before I had absolutely no idea what to expect. But, despite the fact I thought it would be a 2-hour drive – in fact it was only about 50 mins, and that was included a slight detour when Google maps decided to stop telling me where to go (!) – I was definitely up for a little trip to somewhere new. So, after driving through Sharjah and then along the corniche in Ajman, we spotted our hotel destination from a little distance away – a quite striking building perched on the sea front. Instinctively, I anticipated a pretty great day ahead…
The hotel itself has an inviting atmosphere and we were treated to a full day focused on fine dining, indulgence and industrial grade R&R. The staff were quick to assist us and were very happy to have a bit of a chat, so one really did feel quite at home and welcome.
Lunch starts at 12:30, so having arrived a little bit early, my friend and I (fellow Keep Dining reviewer Lucy) whiled away our time exploring the pool and beach facilities. We were immediately struck by just how tranquil the area was, in addition to, how turquoise the ocean appeared in the bright morning sun. There was no dust in the air and no sound of traffic or building works…Just a peaceful vista. And one really can’t ask for better than that.
So, after working up a little bit of an appetite wandering around, we decided on lunch at the Mejhana. Sitting in the shaded, latticed courtyard, we started off with the cold mezze starters comprising of the reliable classic fattoush salad complete with pomegranate syrup as well as some lovely smokey moutabel. Everything about this salad screamed fresh and it complemented the moutabel texture nicely. Sometimes moutabel can have an overtly sesame flavor which I am not really a fan of, but this one was nicely balanced with a hint of citrus from the lemon coming through.
For our main course, we decided on a little bit of seafood and a little lamb. We selected the Ouzi which is braised lamb served in a tomato-based pea stew alongside oriental rice and of course condiments of yoghurt and cucumber mint sauce. This dish probably surprised me the most. Braised lamb always sounds appealing so my expectations were pretty normal. But the lamb had been spiced perfectly with star anise which appeared gently throughout the meat. The flavor of the anise greatly enhanced the taste of the meat and it elevated this dish for me. Making it something quite memorable. The portion size of meat was also terrific. Plus, it was neither too fatty or too rich which lamb always runs the risk of.
The other dish we ordered was the Kraydis Al Fahm which were charcoal-grilled tiger prawns done in cumin, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh coriander. The lemon garlic sauce had a nice bite to it and the prawns were a substantial size. It was lighter fare and was served on grilled capsicum and courgettes. So, perfect if you are not after something too heavy before having to lounge by the pool for the rest of the afternoon.
Replete from our long lunch, we lazed by the pool. This really is the ‘goldilocks’ of hotels. Not too big. Not too small…Just right. Being at 90% capacity it never felt overly busy or packed which we quite liked.
For sundowners, we opted for the beautiful deck at Bab al Bahr overlooking the Arabian Gulf for sundowners. In this part of the world, sunsets really are too lovely and watching the sky turning from tangerine to blush pinks and lavenders should be savoured over some decent beverages. I opted for the Passion Fruit Margarita; made with fresh passion fruit, it was a revelation. I tend to be a bit wary of margaritas if too much syrupy goodness is used but I enjoyed this one thoroughly. Lucy ordered a mocktail called a Sun & Sand; banana, mango, orange and pineapple combined with a lovely splash of grenadine really amped up the beach mood. It tasted like those yoghurt fruit gums from Haribo; just so good. So good, in fact, that she ended up ordering two!
We were so relaxed we ended up staying a little while extra after the sun had finally disappeared beyond the horizon. The combination of great food, sun and the balmy sea breeze had lulled us into a blissful state of relaxation. However, there was more sampling to be done and so we headed over to the Safi Restaurant and because we happened to be visiting on a Wednesday we were able to try their very own Sushi night. A set menu which offers a nice range of dishes including chawanmushi – a steamed egg custard. Priced at 189 AED inclusive of house beverages, it offered a nice range of nigiri – salmon, tuna, octopus or eel – including sashimi. Besides the fish, you also received a decent portion of cold soba noodles made from buckwheat, which is one of my personal favorites as well as chicken teriyaki. The chawanmushi might not be to everyone’s palette but it was authentic and well-seasoned. If you are unfamiliar with Japanese cooking, this would be a great introduction to it as you can really get a decent overview of all the well-known dishes in one sitting.
Then, after dinner if you are feeling energetic and in the mood for a little bit of a dance, you can head back to Bab al Bahr for their ladies’ night!
So, although Ajman might not be your first thought when considering a day trip, we definitely believe that you should re-think that and contemplate the Ajman Saray Luxury Resort Collection when you are next in the mood for a little break from routine. It broke up our week perfectly and within 45 minutes we were back in Dubai feeling as though we had a full weekend away.
And that is a feeling… you really can’t beat.