FACT’s Anushay Taimur Khan headed out on a Thursday night on the lookout for a good, easy time. El Cedro Tasting Room at Sharq Village & Spa got her attention and lured her food fiend side right in at first sight..

El Cedro opened its doors to the public in the summer and I never got time to visit it. When a tiring week at work demanded an easy night out, I finally got ready to check it out, hoping I was making the right choice.

Sharq Village & Spa is already a stunning place to begin with so when I entered the dimly lit room, it was a huge contrast in the environment. However, the beautiful décor of the lounge had me fall in love immediately. Painted in blue with lights accentuating the products and a cigar vault right at the entrance, this lounge demanded me to relax at once. Jazz and blues music set the mood in place as I found myself a private, comfortable area to settle in. I couldn’t help but take a round of the cigar lounge again since the creative and lovely interiors asked for all the praises I could give.

The lounge had tiny mirrors, a bar right in the middle and private areas where everyone could sit without feeling like they’re right in sight. Felipe Rojas Bruna came in and introduced himself as a Cigar Sommelier and nothing pleased me more than getting all the information that I received. From winning championships and being a cigar journalist, I was so excited to be around someone who had this much knowledge. He entertained us with the history of cigars and cigar lounges and how initially they were meant to be a ‘lads’ thing. Felipe told us that even if we bought our own cigars to the venue, he would be able to give us information about it.

The vault of the lounge had all Cuban cigars and I was told that they have booked a new shipment of cigars so that they can offer the finest. The conversation easily flowed and as Felipe entertained us with lighting the best cigar for a beginner, Anastasia, the mixologist, started her impressive streak of in-house drinks which made the Thursday night an ideal relaxing way to welcome the weekend. Along with this, Joy, our server, brought in the best of delicious nibbles at the restaurant and I must say, everything that she personally recommended turned out to be the best.

The slow-cooked brisket with the delicious honey-BBQ sauce, the seafood with impeccable marination and the sliders that gave a different edge to the night. The kitchen was experimenting with different sides which included one of my now-favourite chutneys that complimented any dish but went perfectly with the brisket. My bites ended with the salted chocolate cookies, also highly recommended by Joy, and altogether, it was exactly like the night that I was looking for.

Every person has a vibe of their own and mine, for the night, was exactly the one I received; relaxed, smooth music and drinks that made me forget the stress of the week. ✤