Browsing articles in "Indian"
Jul 26, 2008

The Great Kabab Factory Reviewed @ Kishor’s

The Great Kabab Factory

Fellow Blogger Kishor Cariappa posted his review of the Indian buffet restaurant The Great Kabab Factory in Al Khuwair. Kishor says that you “really need to have a king size appetite to do justice the food on offer” and that the “best part is they make the guests feel pampered”. Check out his entire review through this link.

Jan 1, 2008

Review: Allaudin (Omar Al Khayyam) – Al Khuwair

Allaudin - Omar Al Khayyam

Allaudin is an Indian-Chinese restaurant located in Al Khuwair next to the traffic lights of Madinat Sultan Qaboos (MQ). The name Allaudin is the new brand of the restaurants of the Omar Al Khayyam group, a very old local restaurant chain.

Allaudin - Omar Al Khayyam

Omar Al Khayyam is of the same class as restaurants such as Spicy Village, Grill House, and Al Akhatham, they serve almost the same exact menu at very similar prices. If restaurants were to have ratings, the restaurants above would have 3-star ratings. Nothing fancy, but clean enough to some extent to dine in. Allaudin is relatively spacious, the place is decorated with elephants and other Indian-looking artifacts at the entrance. It has a private dining room upstairs.

Allaudin - Omar Al Khayyam

We went to Allaudin for dinner and ordered Chili Beef, a dry dish of small beef shreds cooked with spicy herbs and chili, it was hot as expected of an Indian restaurant in a good way – and that required the use of a box of tissues. We also ordered humous, naan and paratha bread, which all were quite good. For the drinks I had lemon juice, which was not that good, but I guess you can’t ask for much when you pay 200 baisa for a glass.
Allaudin - Omar Al Khayyam

The prices of Allaudin is relatively cheap, we ordered one main course, one humous plate, a mix of breads, one fresh juice, and one bottle of water, and that in total cost us RO 3.400. Overall, dinner at Allaudin was good, we liked the food and we thought that we got what we paid for.

Dec 19, 2007

Review: Woodlands – Sohar

Woodlands Restaurant - Sohar

Fine Indian restaurant Woodlands has opened earlier this year in Sohar. If you are coming from Muscat you have to take the right turn from the Sohar Globe roundabout and then turn left from the first roundabout after it to go towards the new banks district. Woodlands is five minutes from there right before Al Turaif roundabout on the left side of the road. This is the third branch Woodlands opens, the first is in Ruwi in Muscat, the second is in Salalah, and the third most recent one is in Sohar. Woodlands won the Oman2day Restaurant Awards 2007 for the best service category and was a finalist in the best Indian restaurant category (which was eventually won by Mumtaz Mahal).

Woodlands Restaurant

Woodlands Sohar looks nice, it is very spacious and has tables varying in sizes for all sorts of diners. There are also three or four private family rooms with eight seats each. I am not sure of the smoking policy in Mumtaz, but I doubt they allow it. We thought that the staff of Woodlands were all very friendly and caring, though at many times they did not seem to be trained actually well (They surely did not win the award mentioned earlier for their Sohar branch). I’ve only been to the restaurant with my family, yet we were never offered any of the family private rooms before we asked for one. In my most recent visit to the restaurant, each one of us ordered a main course each but when the food came the waiter took one of the food pots and started putting some of it on each of our plates without asking us if we wanted to share it or not. A major third blooper is that there is no way to ask for anything when you dine in a private family room without going out of the room and calling a waiter. Not sure if they are not supposed to check on your in the family rooms for culture reasons or not. Not to say that Woodlands’ service is horrible, they are usually fast and never screw up your food, but occasional bloopers happens quit often probably because the restaurant is relatively new.

Woodlands Restaurant

Woodlands menu is quite large and can be hard to decipher, especially as the person who wrote the menu must’ve had gotten tired halfway through as the first half of the menu has descriptions of each menu item, while the other half has titles only. We asked the waiter for help on several occasions, but the answer he gave always was ‘this is chicken cooked with onion and capsicum, it is a gravy dish’ for half the dishes we asked about, and that was not really helpful. The manager occasionally tours around and he seems to have suggestions on what to have and more things to say about the dishes than newer waiters.

Woodlands Restaurant

Regardless of how much I bitch about Woodlands, it is actually my favourite restaurant at the moment, I love their food. They have a wide set of starters, my favourites are the Crumb Fried Fish and Chicken Lolly Pops (both not pictured), on our last visit we had Fish Tikka (pictured above) which we unfortunately did not like, the fish tasted weird and each piece shattered into threads when we poked it with a fork. The waiter might suggest you take two or three starters at least, even if you are two or three people only, which could be too much if you are going to have a main course each. The best starter we had was the Crumb Fried Fish, be sure to try that one out.

Woodlands Restaurant

We had no complaints about the main courses, everything we tried tasted amazing. We always order the gravy Chicken Manchurian (pictured above) which we thought was rich with flavour and very well done. We usually have this with buttered or garlic naan bread. My personal favourite is the Chicken Biryani (pictured earlier above). I hesitated to have it because I thought it would such a boring dish to have, but now I don’t think that I’ll ever have a Chicken Biryani better than that of Woodlands. It was not too spicy yet very delicious. We tried a Kadai Chicken gravy (pictured below) which was also good. We thought that the potion of food given was very decent.

Woodlands Restaurant

We did not explore the drinks menu of Woodlands and have only been drinking soft drinks during our visits. It is worth mentioning that Woodlands Sohar does not serve alcohol.

Vegetarian dishes at Woodlands cost about RO 2, chicken and meat dishes cost aroud RO 2.5 and sea food dishes start from RO 3. Bread starts from 0.300 a bread. In our very recent visit to Woodlands we had 1 fish starter, 4 main courses, some bread, and 3 soft drinks for about RO 19 – taxes included.

We thought that dining at Woodlands was generally a pleasant experience, disregarding the occasional waiters’ cluelessness of what they menu has. The food is delicious and the place is nice. All of you rich people coming to purchase land plots in Sohar can finally have a good dine-in restaurant to celebrate your new investment in Sohar itself.

Sep 9, 2007

Review: Mumtaz Mahal – Shatti Al Qurum

Mumtaz Mahal is most probably the finest Indian restaurant in town, it is located on the hill behind the Qurum Natural Park and has been in service since the 80s. It is loved madly by the Oman Today magazine as they gave it the award for the best Indian restaurant four times in the five years they’ve been doing their awards.

A review about Mumtaz Mahal is not complete without talking about the location of the restaurant and the view, especially at night when all the blinders that cover the glass walls are lifted to show the view of the road lights and the movement of the cars from above to make a charming sight of the busy life of modern Muscat.

Mumtaz is very spacious with loads and loads of seats, there are also a couple of tables outside the main hall that people sit at when the weather is good. A live band is supposed to perform in the main hall of the restaurant on some days, but I’ve been to the restaurant twice, once on a weekend and another on a week day, and I did not see this band.

The place can easily be fully occupied on any day of the week, when we got there at 7 .30pm yesterday there was barely anybody at the restaurant, but by the time we left around 9.30pm the place was full. It is recommended to book a table in advance instead of showing up expecting to be seated right away. The crowd at Mumtaz seemed to be older than those at the places we previously reviewed with a lot of expatriate families dinning in.

The staff of Mumtaz were very friendly and talkative, at the two times I’ve been to it they helped us with the menu, chatted about India (as if we’ve never had Indian food before?) and even talked about random stuff like cameras and photography. They food did not take a lot of time to get to our table, they literally put the food on our plates and helped us share the starters, we were very impressed.

The menu of Mumtaz is pretty extensive, in addition to their starters they also serve soups, dry tandoor grilled dishes and curry. There are vegetarian stuff in all sections of the menu and a lot of fish and lobster main courses as well. Spicy dishes are labeled with a small drawing of a chili to warn those who cannot handle spicy food.

For the starters we had the three non-vegeterian items they had on their menu, namely Machli Masaledar, these are deep friend fish fingers cooked with spices (the one at the bottom of the place in the image above), Chennai Murg, these are spicy deep friend chicken fillets (on the right side of the plate in the image above) and Murg Methi Kebab, some tandoor flavoured chicken kebabs cooked with some sort of leaves. I liked the chicken fingers more than anything else, the way they were cooked and the way they tasted made it irresistible. The fish fingers came second and the kebabs came third. They all had a hint of spiciness which I did not think was overly hot.

For the main course we had three different chicken dishes, Murg Angaarey – extra spicy tender chicken pieces cooked with garlic, Balti Murg – chicken cooked in traditional North Indian sauce, Chennai Murg Masala – a spicy dish of dry chicken cubes with coconut, curry leaves and black pepper. We also had a bowl of Ghosht Shahi Khorma -a meat dish cooked in gravy sauce with dry fruits and nuts. We ate those with chicken biryani rice and some garlic nan bread.

The food we had was very good, a couple of dishes we had were extra spicy and I would not recommend them for the weak-hearted. For a first timer I would recommend Balti Murg with plain rice or chicken biryani rice – you can’t go wrong with the basics!

We checked their dessert menu, they had many variations of Indian sweets with cheese, which we did not try and had instead their ‘home-made’ ice creams, it tasted very *unique* and had some saffron in it.

Mumtaz is obviously more expensive than the majority of Indian restaurants in town, the starters cost about RO 1.5 to RO 2 each, while vegeterian, chicken, and meat main courses cost RO 2.5 to RO 4, and sea food dishes cost RO 5 to RO 8.

Mumtaz is also a licensed restaurant, we were probably the only table that did not order any alcohol, you see bottles of wine coming and going all the time. A guy on a table next to us ordered some sort of pinched coffee which was made live right next to him.

We thought that the experience at Mumtaz was amazing, we had a great time, the food was delicious and the service was very good.

Aug 25, 2007

Review: Dhofar Hotel Restaurant – Salalah

I’m currently in Salalah attending a legal workshop for one week. I’m staying at Dhofar Hotel, a 3-star hotel near the city center. I hate my employer for giving me such a small allowance for this trip. I wish I could sue them. I know I can’t.

Dhofar Hotel is surprisingly so much better than what I expected, but this review is not about the hotel, it’s about their restaurant. The restaurant is on the ground floor of the hotel, it is relatively spacious, and it looks like the restaurant serves some sort of buffet at sometime, probably dinner or something, it was not open for lunch today.

The menu that I was offered at the restaurant was a stapled paper photocopy of the *room service* menu, the menu had cold starters such as salads, Lebanese cold starters, avocado with shrimps, and two hot starters, namely fried vegetarian Lebanese kebbeh and samosas. There are also several types of soups which I did not try. I had a season mixed salad for the starter, it was very simple (cucumber, lettece, and tomato) and felt very fresh.

There are several different main course categories in Dhofor Hotel’s restaurant, these include fried meals (breaded hammour fish, fried chicke, and crumbed shrimps), grilled meals (kababs, lamb chops, shish taouk, and arabic mixed grills), Asian and Indian dishes (biryani meals, friend rice, and noodles – meat, chicken, fish or prawn – the same menu as all the Indian/Chinese restaurants all over Oman.)

I had a chinese chili chicken dish with biryani rice. I also ordered a french fries sideline. I thought that the food was good, the rice, salad, and chips were all amazing, the chili chicken was just okay, it was well cooked, but not spicy enough (no schezwan sauce!) I really loved their french fries though, it was very thick and crunchy, something that you do not easily find in restaurants of this class.

No fresh juices are served at this restaurants, I ended up drinking the usual Mountain Dew. So in total I had one salad, a plate of french fries, chili chicken and biryani rice and all that came out for RO 3.600, for some reason, this included an arbitrary 17% tax. (Don’t know where it came from).

I thought that the service of the restaurant was quite slow even though I was the only customer in the restaurant (it looks like the khareer is already over), but I still think that overall I had a great experience at Dhofar Hotel’s restaurant, the place is very clean and the food was good. It is safe to try it out if you happen to come to this hotel.

Jul 19, 2007

Review: Dosteen – Al Hail



You cannot claim that you have lived in Seeb if you have never dined at Dosteen Restaurant [مطعم دوستين] (Pronounced Dos’tain)- a random generic Indian restaurant that survived throughout the years and managed to hold itself as an era defining landmark, the same way Burj Al Sahwah and Bait Al Barakah do. Nobody I know knows when this place was first opened, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was opened in the 80s or even earlier. Dosteen faces the highway between the Al Khode and Al Hail bridges and is located almost exactly opposite Al Itihad used car showroom.

Before we start, I would like to warn you that Dosteen is certainly not for the weak-hearted or the mysophobic. It is one of few places left on Earth that still serve water in metal glasses just like Indian movies – however, they have recently started offering plastic cups for the picky and dandy.

Dosteen is relatively large in comparison to restaurants of its class, it has an isolated area for families (I do not know who dares going there), an air-conditioned dine in area, and a covered yard with some more tables. It is usually very crowded most of the time, it is normal for people to stand waiting for seats to be available when coming at peak hours. Tables are usually shared in both the outside and the inside seating area.

I don’t think that there is a handout menu in Dosteen, but there is one walled with the names of the dishes in Arabic and English – for some reason, the two sides of the menu are not the same and some dishes went missing in one or another. However, Dosteen serves 48 different wonders of the Indian cuisine. The majority of which are served with rice, naan bread, or chapati bread. Complimentary salad is served with all the dishes.

Even though Dosteen is equipped with a fleet of Indian cooks, waiters and cashiers, the waiters always seem very stressed and can be moderately rude if you cannot quickly decide what you want to eat or if you change your mind, and that, of course, adds to the ambiance of the place.

The funny thing about Dosteen is that their food is actually good, there are people that swear by its food and occasionally crave for a meal at Dosteen. I had a chicken masalah (not photographed) which was spicy the way I like it and pretty good. We ordered other stuff like grilled chicken, humus, and rice with grilled meat cubes.

The average price of a dish at Dosteen is RO 1, I think that the a soft drink can costs a RO 0.100. There isn’t much else that you can order here.

Dosteen is no fancy place, but if you are looking for a different place that has so much attitude, culture, gangster-like atmosphere, and good Indian food then Dosteen is the place to go to.

May 30, 2007

Review: Kobe Sizzlers – Qurum Commercial Area

Kobe is the relatively fancy relatively new sizzler restaurant in the first block of shops next to the Zawawi car showroom in the Qurum commercial area. I do not know when exactly it opened, but the first time I go to it was sometime last month.

The first thing you notice about Kobe is that it has a serious theme/identity crisis, the restaurant table paper sheets say that Kobe is a place (or a thing – can’t remember) in Japan and the restaurant is nicely decorated with bamboo sticks, but all the food served is Indian. All the staff members are Indian. And occasionally between the Britney Spears songs and the Nancy Ajram songs a random Indian song would be played. We consider Kobe to be an Indian restaurant regardless of their confusing mention of Japan here and there.

Kobe Sizzlers, as the name suggests, serves mainly sizzlers, these are meet, chicken, or fish dishes grilled or fried and brought to you sizzling. All the sizzler dishes of Kobe come with cooked vegetables (spinach, carrots, tomato, flower, and green beans) and either chips, boiled rice, or mushed potatoes depending on your choice. The menu has a long list of sizzlers in all various forms, shapes and falvours, along with soups, some random little sandwiches (e.g. cheese chili sandwich), burgers, one pasta dish, and three fried rice dishes. On the drinks side, Kobe offers a selection of juices which we did not try, ice tea which a friend tried and thought that it was okay, and good old soda.

Kobe has several things messed up, but the major thing that they do have right is the food itself as it is really very good. I have already been to it three times, my favourite dish is a delicious schezwan sauce chicken sizzler which is rich in flavour and quite spicy but not to a crazy extent. We thought that the amount of food served was good. The sizzler meal costs on average RO 3.500, a rice meal costs about RO 2. The total we spent for dinner for four was about RO 15.

Dinner at Kobe was a pleasant experience, we wished that it would have a greater variety of appetisers, but that section of the menu had only soups. A point that we think is worth mentioning here is that the whole of the Kobe restaurant is engulfed with the sizzling smell of the food, we do not think that you would like to go for an important meeting after staying inside Kobe for an hour.

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