We’re not sure if it’s because it’s the school holidays, Eid weekend, a Thursday night or a culmination of all three, but Kaleidoscope is so packed when we arrive that there is a queue gathering rapidly outside the door, with hungry diners patiently waiting to be seated. It’s been a few years since we have experienced this casual buffet eatery, and that too for breakfast, where we were suitably impressed by the diverse range of dishes on the menu. Fast-forward some five years on and it seems that even at dinner time, this restaurant shows no sign of waning in popularity.
After a few minutes, we are ushered to our table. Despite the busy evening, we’re given plenty of space to enjoy our meal at leisure and not be crammed thigh-to thigh while having to politely avoid eavesdropping on our neighbouring diners’ conversations. For this we are grateful, having eaten at numerous restaurants that appear to struggle with a high influx of patrons.
There is a different theme of cuisine on offer every night of the week, showcasing special dishes from a particular country, and Thursday is Arabic night, meaning that there’s plenty of grilled meats, rice dishes, salads, dips, falafel and freshly prepared saj on offer, boasting deliciously oozing melted cheese and the fragrance of zaatar. However, truth be told, you would never know that this particular zone was the star of the show, given the mind-boggling number of dishes populating every station, from Asian dim sum and noodles from the Far East to Indian curries and authentic snack foods like Gujerati dhokla, a savoury steamed sponge that is tempered with mustard seeds (which my mother was very impressed to see!) There is also traditional British fare on offer, complete with roasted meats and Yorkshire pud, a conveyor belt of sushi and an Italian pizza and pasta station that is sure to satisfy fussy little appetites. Let’s put it this way: there will never be enough room on your plate or in your stomach to try it all, so choose wisely in order of preference.
The dessert station is crammed with crowd-pleasers such as a chocolate fountain with assorted sweet treats, from marshmallows to vanilla madeleines begging to be skewered and dipped into its cocoa goodness. Comforting favourites of cheesecake and assorted creamy gateaux slices add an adult finesse, while mini tubs of ice cream and gummy sweets cater for the younger sweet-tooth. The dish of this night in particular, though, was the banana fritters, freshly cooked in the lightest batter imaginable and coated in sugar before being served hot with a drizzle of crème Anglaise, reminiscent of the light and fluffy doughnuts that are devoured in seaside towns of northern Europe.
Kaleidoscope is a little on the pricey side, but when you factor in that it’s housed in one of the most elite five-star hotels in Dubai and the mammoth spread that offers something for everyone, it’s a solid choice to mark a familial special occasion rather than a romantic meal. Just make sure you reserve a table well in advance.
INFO: 7am-11am Sat-Thu, 7.30am-11.30am Fri, 12.30pm-3.30pm Sun-Thu, 12.30pm-5pm Fri-Sat, 6pm-11pm daily, Atlantis The Palm, 04 426 2626, atlantisthepalm.com