In my – perhaps – limited view, the salient adjective that non-Muslims associate with the holy month of Ramadan is lack: the lack of food and water from which we are deprived for the fast that is needed to stay energised and hydrated to live both joyfully and zestfully. A common question that one might ask a Muslim friend or colleague is, ‘how do you do it?’ or, ‘is it really difficult?’ In truth, fasting for a whole day – particularly if Ramadan occurs during the long and somewhat warm days of British Summer – really can be difficult. And yet, to view Ramadan as anything other than a month of complete and utter abundance is to entirely miss the point.
Ramadan brings family together and it is a month of socialising and taking the time out to see your dearest friends.
Of course, Ramadan is to step into the infinite abundance that is God – but even if you takes a more secular or humanist view of such things, the energy of Ramadan is ideal for looking inward and taking pause to appreciate and respect the world and the souls, creatures and nature who occupy it.
The abundance of Ramadan is perhaps best symbolised by the iftar meal – a feast filled with some of Moroccan cuisine’s most delectable and special dishes.
Back in Morocco, much of the day is spent preparing the magnificent iftar meal, but frequently the pace of London life doesn’t give us the chance to dedicate ourselves to this to the desired extent. Due to a combination of popular demand and our wish to offer London an authentic Ramadan culinary experience, Zayane has brought back its iftar menu. Our aim is to reproduce last year’s magic – to welcome our guests into Zayane as members of our family and to create a vibrant and social environment in which friends and family can connect and enjoy some truly scrumptious, healthy and energising food. Lastly, while it is usually only Muslims who celebrate Ramadan – at Zayane all faiths and persuasions are invited to enjoy our authentic Moroccan iftar.
Zayane’s iftarmenu begins with our fragrant vegan harira soup accompanied by madjoul dates and our homemade shebakia.
Dates occupy a special place for all Muslims’ iftar, as not only are they a rich source of fibre, potassium, calcium and energy, but also the Prophet Muhammad advised that they are the ideal way to break one’s fast. Shebakiais a Moroccan favourite – deep fried dough dipped in honey, which helps top up one’s blood sugar post-fast. Once the fast is broken by this first course, it is time to visit one of the nearby local mosques for prayers, and then to come back for the rest of the iftar feast (of course, if you choose not to go to prayers, you can carry on eating!).
Next on the menu are two more Moroccan iftar classics: msemen– a flat Moroccan bread – and baghrir– a light and delicious pancake – that we serve with honey and homemade butter. This course is followed by a dish that I remember from the Ramadan celebrations from when I was a child – shakshouka. This dish isn’t necessarily one enjoyed by all families for iftar, but it is absolutely delicious so you’ll be happy I’m serving it! It is a delicious spiced tomato sauce served with a poached egg.
At this point in the meal you might be stuffed, but if you are among those fasting you should do your best to accumulate all the nutrients you can get for the fast the following day! For our final dish, we are serving organic chicken that is marinated in Moroccan spices and then cooked to perfection on an open flame grill. Even the greediest eaters will now be fully satisfied and energised for a busy and joyful tomorrow. The meal concludes with Moroccan mint tea to help digest, or coffee, milk or fresh juice.
Zayane’s iftar menu will be £25 per person and will be served every evening during Ramadan. Right now this is scheduled to be from Tuesday, 15 May to Thursday, 14 June – but of course the days may vary depending on the Moon.
We invite you if you are a religious Muslim, if you are a secular Muslim or even if you aren’t a Muslim at all! If you do plan on joining us for iftar, it is recommended that you make an advanced reservation as we were fully booked each night last year.
From my family to yours – Ramadan Mubarak!
To view our iftar menu, click here.
To make a booking ring us 020 8960 1137 or book online.