A few weeks ago I received a very exciting invitation to head to Ras Al Khaimah, an hour or so from Dubai, to visit the stunning Banyan Tree Al Wadi resort. Immersed in the dunes of the desert with a captive romantic essence, it seemed the perfect start to my weekend. The day was packed full of some of the activities that the Banyan Tree offer: from cookery classes, to archery and falconry to their award winning spa – Rainforest experience. For such a tranquil resort, you don’t expect it to have all these activities that lie within it.
We started off at the local fish market to buy the food we would cook for their newly launched Soul Food Experience. The idea was to buy fresh local produce caught that day that you cook yourself, with the expert guidance of the Banyan Tree team, and then dine with your parter/group who you’ve shared the experience with followed by some amazing desert activities.
The Banyan Tree’s Executive chef, Nugraha Wardhana, met with us at the market to talk through the different fish, what we would be eating and help with any questions we had. I thought my food knowledge was fairly extensive but the detail that Nugraha could go into was impressive. Everything from the best months to buy each species of fish to where to source the best sashimi and when not to buy because of spawning season.
Look at the whopper of a fish we bought to cook!
The Tuna fish were huge and enticing but just like the Salmon, Nugi advised they weren’t the best quality because they don’t cope well with the high heat once caught from the sea. Prawns on the other hand were at their best just before spawning season which starts in November. I bought a bucket load because you simply cannot beat that freshness and price in any supermarket! One Kilo of prawns for AED 45 (roughly £8)…it was a bargain! It’s worth noting that The Banyan Tree do not cook with any fish which is in the “Red Category” of over fishing, which I think is a testament to the brand.
We took the fish back to their stunning Safran restaurant which is where the Soul Food experience kicked off. A powerhouse of fresh ingredients, a team of expert chefs and fresh fish to cook with! Nugi took us through how to fillet, skin and debone the fish which despite writing a food blog, I have never been taught how to do before. Cuttlefish and warm potato salad was first up as the starter followed by the fish curry.
This is just heaven for me, it smelled amazing!
The recipe for this delicious Cuttlefish and warm green bean salad is here.
And the fish curry…yum!
After the cookery class, we all sat down in the gorgeous Safran restaurant and ate our carefully crafted meals! It was an amazing experience to dine over new, exciting recipes with lovely people and a great thing to do if you’re with friends or a loved one.
The award winning spa was up next. The rainforest experience is like nothing I’ve experienced before. With a trail of 16 state-of-the-art hydrothermal therapies and facilities, each designed to soothe and revitalise different parts of your body – it’s truly a unique affair!
The Banyan Tree Al Wadi resort has so much to do, and with birds of prey never really catching my interest, I was delightfully impressed at how much I enjoyed the owl and falconry experience. I also learned two facts that completely surprised me!
These are Arabian eagle owls…
The Falconry viewing deck was gorgeous and the perfect way to enjoy the sunset and follow the Soul Food experience.
Stunning views, gorgeous sunset and a lovely day at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi, thank you to the team for making it such a special occasion!
The Soul Food package includes a visit to the fish or poultry market in Ras Al Khaimah with a chef, selecting herbs from the organic garden and a cooking class for up to 10 guests maximum.
The Soul Food package starts from AED 290 per person, including a house beverage during the meal and is subject to 10% service charge. Available every Saturday morning at Banyan Tree Al Wadi until 31 December 2015, the Soul Food package must be booked 24 hours in advance. Dishes cooked depend on the availability of produce at the market and guests preferences. Available for hotel and non-hotel guests.
For enquiries or bookings please contact Banyan Tree Al Wadi on:
Tel: 971 7 206 7777
Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!