Al Mandoos Restaurant (Telephone: 9691 1140 – Map) is a new Omani restaurant by Chef Issa Al Lamki located in Al Ghubra somewhere behind the Porsche showroom. If you are coming down from the Al Ghubra bridge and going towards the Chedi, you need to go right at the first traffic lights and pass by Bank Muscat and Fawaris Bakery. You will then need to take one of the left turns on that road to find Al Mandoos Restaurant on a short stretch of shops parallel to the service road.
For those who do not know Chef Issa Al Lamki, he is a celebrity Omani chef who had a cooking TV show on OmanTV and has worked in many luxury hotels in the region. At some point he used to be the personal chef of the Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal. Al Mandoos is the first proper restaurant by Chef Issa.
Al Mandoos is located at an awkward location in Al Ghubrah. Though looking quite big from the outside, the inside of Al Mandoos is pretty small and can feel a bit tight. I went for lunch on a Friday, the place was very quite with very few other guests at the restaurant. The place is designed with a lot of Omani memorabilia, which does not necessarily match and at many times a bit too literal, but I guess that is what Oman is about.
It should be noted that the restaurant is open from 12noon to 3pm for lunch and 6pm to 10pm for dinner. On Friday the restaurant is not open for dinner and I believe that it is closed on another day of the week, but due to the change of weekend, I cannot confirm what day exactly.
The menu of Al Mandoos is nice and small, but can be a bit difficult to read due to the fact that it is just text printed a plain paper. Al Mandoos offers fish dishes, chicken dishes, red meat dishes, and a few non-rice dishes. Each of these dishes, except for the last non-rice dishes, comes with a small bowl salad and your choice of white rice or qabooli rice. There are no starters in Al Mandoos, but complimentary dates are available on the table and Omani coffee is served upon arrival. A trick that you can do to create your own starter is to ask for a “half” portion of a light dish to have it as a starter before going for your proper main. We decided to have a Harees (RO 1.500 – pictured above) and a half a Mathrooba (RO 1.500 – not pictured) to share as starters. Harees is a hot porridge like dish made up of wheat, Mathrooba is a dish that looks similar to Harees but is made up of crushed rice, chicken pieces and a different combination of spices. I thought that both dishes were nicely done, were full of flavor, and had a nice texture. I think that I would recommend Mathrooba over Harees though because it had chicken!
For the mains were decided to go for a mutton Shuwa with qabooli rice (RO4.500) and Paplo fish curry with white rice (RO 3.500). Shuwa is the famous Omani of meat dish cooked overnight in an underground oven while Paplo is a balushi fish curry cooked with sun dried lime and chili. I thought that both dishes were extremely authentic and felt close to what I would have had at home, the portions were great and the presentation was excellent. Each dish came in a separate bowl with the rice on a separate plate making it easy to share the dish with more than one person.
Al Mandoos does not serve dessert, but we were treated to complimentary tea which was great.
Al Mandoos has a number of exotic juice combinations such as pineapple and ginger juice, tamarind juice, and roselle (Karkadaih) and mint juice. I thought that the pineapple with ginger (RO 1.000) would be the safest option. I thought that the juice was great, the ginger neutralized the sweetness of pineapple, but still made it interesting. Somehow the drink felt very oldschool, even though I do not think that I ever had it before!
In total we ordered 2 half mains, 2 full mains and 2 juices, our total came to RO 13.000.
I thought that the service at Al Mandoos was great, the food came super fast and the staff were extremely friendly and gave us suggestions on what to have. I really liked how the food was served in traditional small aluminium plates, it gave the place a retro Omani charm.
I enjoyed my visit to Al Mandoos. The place is nowhere as polished at Ubhar and has taken a more traditional approach to the recipes than the modern approach of Ubhar, but I find that nice because it is still modern and more accessible than the usual traditional restaurant.
Al Mandoos is highly recommended for those looking for an authentic Omani meal. Have you guys been to it?
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