Browsing articles in "Cuisine"
Jul 22, 2008

Pavo Real – MQ

Pavo Real

Pavo Real is a Mexican restaurant in MQ (Madinat Qaboos), it is located in Al Madina Plaza right next to Starbucks. We realised that the place is known for being more of a bar than actually a restaurant as it is licensed to serve alcohol. Pavo Real also has a dance floor and live music. Due to some government regulations, all restaurants in town have currently suspended all their dancing until future notice.

Pavo Real

We went to Pavo Real for dinner around 7.30, we were told at the door that the place is almost fully reserved for later in the evening so they told us that we can only get in if we do not plan on staying for too long. We said OK and got in. At 7.30 the place was already quite crowded with mostly of Caucasian expats of all ages. Pavo Real is kinda large from the inside, but the lighting was pretty dim, the image above looks the way it does because of the camera flash. It was nothing like the picture.

Pavo Real

We were seated right next to the dance floor and directly in front of the band that was playing real load. We practically were shouting at each other to speak. The live band was made up of Asians and were covering all sorts of random songs from Kylie Minogue all the way to One Republic – it sounded weird and was more disturbing than entertaining.

Pavo Real Burritos

Once we were seatined we were instantly given the drinks menu, and it was the real drinks menu, but none of us drinks alcohol, so we ended up having just coke (not pictured, each coke glass costs RO 0.800 – not refillable). All tables get a free complimentary basket of corn tortillas and a tomatoe tip. It was quite spicy and nice.

Pavo Real - Fiesta Classica Chicken

The menu of Pavo Real is quite big with about 55 items. We had a tough time choosing what to have. We ended up having a Chicken Fiesta Classica (Pictured above – RO 6.400) which was made up of chicken wings, some chicken rolls, quesadilla, and some nice potato skins deep fried and topped with chicken. The starter did not take a long time to arrive and it was delicious. We all really liked it. The potato skins and the rolls were my favourite among the others in the collection.

Pavo Real - Pollo Ala Mexicana

For the main course I had a “Pollo Ala Mexicana” (pictured above – RO 6.700) which was a rice and carry sort of dish made up of spicy chicken cubes cooked with onions and capsicum in spicy tomato sauce. It came with rice and a bean/tortilla syrup. I liked the chicken and the rice, the bean thing not so much. But overall I enjoyed it.

Pavo Real - Fajita Burrito Beef

My friend had a Fajita Burrito Beef (pictured above – RO 5.750) , which was a beef strips dish cooked with onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and tomatoes – all wrapped in flour tortilla. It comes served with guacamole, sour cream, and the pico de gallo sauce. My friend said that he thought he enjoyed its unique taste at the start but got bored of it half way through.

Pavo Real - Beef & Chicken Fajita

My other friend had a Beef & Chicken Fajita (pictured above – RO 7.900) which came with rice, a side platter of beans, guacamole, and hot flour tortillas. My friend said that it was ‘OK’ ~ but I saw his plate wiped clean!

Pavo Real - Band

In total we ordered 4 soft drinks, 1 starter and 3 main courses, our bill was RO 35.000.

I thought that the food at Pavo Real was really good, I enjoyed it. I did not like the service that much, our main course took so long to get to us we had to ask them about it. The place also has a proper bar on the side and pints keep on coming back and forth no matter where you sit. I am not sure if there is a non-smoking area, but we were not offered to sit in one and people were smoking right next to us. The place was also too dark and the music too loud.

There are a lot of people who would enjoy their time at Pavo Real, but it is surely not for everyone.

Jul 15, 2008

Cafe Ceramique – Qurum Commercial Area

Cafe Ceramique

Cafe Ceramique is a new cafe/art-workshop that opened a couple of months ago in Al Araimi Complex in Qurum Commercial Area. What I mean by a cafe/art-workshop is that the cafe serves food and also offers you ceramic pieces which you can purchase and paint at the cafe as well. Visiting the place was an awesome experience, the food was great and we had so much fun with the painting.

Cafe Ceramique

Ceramique Cafe is located on the ground floor of Al Araimi Complex right next to where Baskin Robins is. We came around 6.30pm and the place was almost empty, but by the time we left (around 9.30pm) the place was almost full. The crowd seemed to be mostly families with their children with a very few groups of mature people with no kids.

Cafe Ceramique

The food menu of Ceramique Cafe is half way between Darcy’s Kitchen and Cafe Barbera with hot and cold coffee drinks, juices, soft drinks, breakfasts dishes, bagels, sandwiches, quick bites, desserts and some other speciality dishes. We started our course from the drinks menu where we had a Cafe Latte (pictured above – RO 1.5), a Minty Lemon Juice (RO 2.2) and a couple of Mix n’ Match Juices (you mix two fresh juices – not pictured – RO 1.9). I had a Mix n’ Match Orange and Mango juice which I thought was really good.

Cafe Glacier

For the main course I had a Tough-in-The-Gulf Club Sandwich (it is the only club sandwich they have – pictured above – RO 3.5) which you can order with salad or with chips, I had mine with chips and I loved i, especially for its salad fillings. We also ordered a Chicken Quesadilla (pictured below- RO 3.6) which can also be ordered with salad of chips, and comes also with three dips. My other friend had a Chicken “Shawarma Pockets”(pictured down below – RO 3.5) which was pretty hard to handle, but supposedly tasted great as well.

Chicken Quesadilla

We thought that the food at Cafe Ceramique was great and the service was also good enough, but we also wanted to try out the painting part, which was the thing that made this place special. To paint a ceramic piece at the cafe you simply have to pick one from any of the shelves in the store, there are loads of different ones in all sorts of shapes and sizes, there are plates, cups, mugs, pots, boxes, ashtrays, and all sorts of statues and simple decoration pieces. The price of the piece is placed on its bottom and I think that it ranges from RO 2 to RO 15 or so, depending on the size and the shape.

Shawarma Pockets

Once you select the piece you want to paint, you are given a paper to select 5 colours and 2 outliners. These colours are then given to you with a sponge, water, and a set of brushes. You can colour as you please (instructions for this or the table paper and an *artist* is available in the store to help you if you need drawing guidance!) and when you are done you have to leave it in the cafe for them to fire the piece and glaze it (that takes at least 7 days).  You are given a receipt which you must use to collect your piece after the completion date. The pieces are all supposed to be microwave and dishwasher friendly and the colours do not contain any toxins so you can eat and drink using them.

Cafe Ceramique

The painting activity is really fun and relaxing, it felt like art classes from school, but seriously this is not something that you should attempt to do without planning on spending a lot of time in the cafe. We stayed for more than three hours and decided to leave cause it was already kinda late even though in theory we thought we can spend even much more time painting.

Ceramique Cafe - Omani Cuisine

Ceramique Cafe is the perfect place to go to if you have a family and would like to do something fun or even if you dont’ have a family and still want to go out and try something different for the weekend!

We’ll post a photo of the Omani Cuisine artwork when we get the piece from Cafe Ceramique next week!

Jul 11, 2008

2nd Avenue – Shatti Al Qurum

2nd Avenue

2nd Avenue is a new-ish continental restaurant in Shatti Al Qurum, it is located in a random place in-between the houses near Grant Hayyat. I suggest that you call them (2469 5164) to ask for directions if you would like to know where the place is exactly. 2nd Avenue is not a branch of an international franchise but a local restaurant owned by the same person who owns the Lebanese Tarboosh restaurant.However, it is much more fancier and expensive than Tarboosh.

2nd Avenue - Waitress

2nd Avenue has a seating outside (which I suppose will be used in nicer times of the year), a smoking area on the ground floor of the restaurant, and a bigger seating area on the first floor of the restaurant. The strange thing about 2nd Avenue is that when I get inside the restaurant it instantly feels like you travelled back to the year 1995. The restaurant is fancy, but the taste of furniture is quite old-school (in a weird way).

2nd Avenue - Tilmedoe

The menu of 2nd Avenue has all sorts of *continental* food, i.e. salads, sandwiches, pasta , steaks, sizzlers and grills. We had three starters, the first was a”Tilmedoe” (pictured above – RO 1.5) which was basically some potatoe cubes seasoned with some spices and baked in the oven. It was just okay but not really special.The second was a ‘Quesadilla’ (pictured below – RO 3.0) which is flat tortilla sandwich, it was not as cheesy as the one served in Chilli’s and quite nice (I really liked it!).

2nd Avenue - Quesadilla

2nd Avenue - Pop Cord Shrimp

The third starter we had was a “Pop Corn Shrimp” (picured above – RO 3.0) which is a dish of fried breaded shrimps (think KFC Pop Corn Chicken but for srimps!), it was well cooked and awesome. For the main course, I had a ‘Chicken Gabiello’ (pictured below – RO 4.5) which was a dish of cubed chicken marinated in youghurt and vegetables. It tasted good, but I thought that the sauce it came with was a bit too thick because of the yougurt. It came with french fries and vegetables.

2nd Avenue - Chicken Gabiello

My friends had a’Pepper Steak’ (pictured below – RO 5) and the other one had a ‘Cordon Blue’ chicken dish (last image down below – RO 4.5), nobody had any complaints about their main courses, but I did not hear them praise any of it either. We all had fresh juices with our food (lemon/mint, water melon, and mago juice). We did not take a look at the disserts menu because we decided to go somewhere else for it.

2nd Avenue - Pepper Steak

The service at 2nd Avenue was excellent (I do not know if it was affected by the fact that we told them we are taking photographs for a website), but waiters were buzzing around all the time, somebody started smoking in the non-smoking section and a waiter told him to stop smoking (and he did), the food came quickly and it was exactly what we ordered.

2nd Avenue - Cordon Blue

We ordered 1 small mineral water bottle, 3 fresh juices, 3 starters, and 3 main courses, our bill came out to RO 28.667 taxes included.

We thought that our visit to 2nd avenue was okay. The place was fine, but was way too dark upstairs for my liking. Food-wise, I liked the starters way more than the main courses we had, I did not think that what I had (the Chicken Gabiello) was memorable at all. My friend seemed to like the place more and thinks that he would come again to check out the other items on the menu.

Jun 8, 2008

Pizza Express – Oasis by the Sea

Pizza Express

We paid a visit to the Italian restaurant Pizza Express that opened in the Oasis by the Sea mall in Shatti Al Qurum Area. Pizza Express is a big international franchise that is found everywhere. It had a branch in MQ years ago that closed down for some reason, but this new one is bigger and nicer. The restaurant is located inside the Oasis by the Sea mall which is probably going to be filled up with many more restaurants soon.

Pizza Express - Seating

The coolest thing about the seating area of Pizza Express is that it is a NON-SMOKING area, plus the place is spacious and looks quite fancy. However, some seats are nicer than others, the ones in the picture above are the nicer ones, the one I sat on was a hard chair with no cushiony thing. There are currently no seats outside the restaurant on the side of the mall, but if they were to have a smoking area that might just be the perfect place for it.

Pizza Express - Starter

Unlike other new restaurants in town such as Japengo and Biella, the menu of Pizza Express seemed to be all available, or lets say almost all available, as a couple things were out of stock I think, and not unavailable for serving like the other two places. Anyway, the menu of Pizza Express offers a variety of baked starters, a collection of salad appetizers, many different *regular* pizzas, special pizzas made with wholemeal dough, special pizzas made with cream sauce, stuffed pizzas, pasta, and a couple of Italian rice dishes (risotto).

Pizza Express - Apollo

For the stater I had a garlic bread with mozzarella (pictured earlier above – RO 1.6) which is basically baked garlic dough with mozzarella on top. I loved it, it didn’t take long to arrive and was deliciously tender from the inside. The mozzarella was a bit thick, but not too thinking for my liking.

Pizza Express - Quatro Carni

For the main course I had an Apollo pizza (pictured earlier above – RO 3.4), which was made up of marinated tandoori chicken, capsicum,  coriander, and fresh green chilies. The crust was pretty light and well cooked, and the pizza itself was excellent, I loved how spicy it was, the chicken, and just everything about it. My friend had a Quatro Carni pizza (pictured above – RO 3.6) which he enjoyed as well.

Pizza Express - Semi Fredo

We ended up our visit to Pizza Express with a Semi Fredo (pictured above – RO 2.6) which is basically a white and dark chocolate mousse. It was OKAY, but not special at all and not worth the RO 2.6, we originally wanted a chocolate fudge cake but they did not have it in stock.

Pizza Express - Waiter

We ordered 1 starter, 2 pizzas, 1 desert, 1 small water, 1 soft drink (+ 1 refill), our bill came out to RO 15.25 taxes included.

I loved Pizza Express on my first visit to it, the food was amazing, the service is excellent and the place is great! Their pizza is the best thing I’ve had in a while! I didn’t like the dessert, but I am surely going to check out the chocolate fudge next time. IT BETTER BE GOOD.

May 27, 2008

Biella – Muscat City Centre

Biella - Muscat City Centre

Biella is a new Italian restaurant that has opened in Muscat City Centre right below the Noodle House. We have been waiting for this restaurant to open for ages and have called up City Centre several times to ask when the hell it will open. I heard a couple of days ago that it has finally opened up so we had to pay it a visit ASAP. I have no idea if this is an international franchise, but I know that it has a branch in Dubai.

Biela

The atmosphere and seating area at Biella are both quite nice. There are loads of seats inside the restaurant. The place is divided into two main sections, one for smokers and the other for non-smokers, however, there are not real separators between the two sections, but we could not tell if smoke could be an issue because the place was almost empty when we went there.

Biella - Starter

Biella has just opened three days ago, so just like Japengo the other day, their menu is not fully available yet. We took a bit of time to decide on what to have, we were a little bit hungry and everything on the menu sounded delicious. We ended up having a ‘Insalata Di Pollo Con Aceto Balsamico’ (RO 3.6 – pictured above) which I thought would be some cheese coated chicken starter, but turned out to be chicken salad with cheese balls (How come I didn’t notice the insalata?!). It was alright, for a salad at least, but it was not really our usual idea of a starter.

Risotto Al Frutti Mare

My colleague and I hand originally wanted to have something from the sandwich menu, but it was not available for serving yet, so we ended up having a sea food spaghetti (pictured above) and a L’affumicata pizza (RO 4.4 – picured below) which had onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and chicken. I loved the bread of my pizza, but that was about it. I do not like mushrooms and I thought that the onions were just way too much. I probably ordered the wrong meal and that’s why I did not like it much. My colleague thought that the spaghetti was nice, but not AMAZING. I thought exactly the same about my pizza, not bad, but not the best I’ve had for sure and nowhere near that.

Laffumicata Pizza

We wanted to have a cheese cake and a chocolate fudge cake for the desserts, but none of these were available yet, so we thought that we will have a Tiramasu (RO 3 – pictured below) instead which we thought was just alright. It was quite large in size and can be shared with one or two people.

Biella - Tiramisu

We thought that the service of Biella was excellent, the staff were very friendly, probably a bit too much because the place has just opened. The place was not busy at all while were were there, so the whole fleet of waiters was buzzing on our table all the time asking us how our food was. They had a small blooper though and broke a glass we had on our table, luckily nobody got hurt.
Biella

We ordered 1 starter, 2 main courses, 1 fresh juice, 1 fruit cocktail, and 1 desert, our bill came out to RO 21.

We thought that our experience at Biella was okay, but I personally did not think that the food was all that. I would give it a 7/10 for the quality of the food and I’m being very generous. That is probably because we ordered the wrong stuff, salad was a bad idea of the starter and my choice of Pizza was badly not compatible with my taste. Might give it another chance, but only for the sake of experimentation and not when I’m craving for a good meal.

May 2, 2008

Cafe Glacier – Al Khuwair

Cafe Glacier

Cafe Glacier is a very old coffee shop in Zakher Mall in Al Khuwair. It is, just like Darcy’s Kitchen, a unique Omani franchise. It has two branches, the main one in Al Khuwair, and the second smaller one in Markaz Al Bahja. Even though it opened in 1995, I’ve never actually been to it before last year.

Cafe Glacier

Glacier of Zakher Mall is not the most spacious of restaurants, there are less than 10 tables inside and a couple outside the cafe in the mall side. However, the place is not tight in space at all, and I think that smoking is prohibited inside the coffeeshop. I’ve only been to Glacier around lunch time and the place did not seem busy at all during any of my visits.

Cafe Glacier

Glacier’s menu is made up of a long list of cold drinks and juices, ice creams, pancakes and waffles, but in addition to these they also serve rolls and sandwiches, salads, and snacks such as burgers and different types of stews.

Cafe Glacier - Club Sandwiches

On 99.9% of the times we have Glaciers we always go for the club sandwiches. Glacier’s club sandwiches are one of the best in town, if not THE best. The club sandwich meal comes with potato chips and is very filling. The reputation of club sandwiches at work is unchallengeable, it is our definitive take away lunch ever.

Cafe Glacier - Sate Maison

On the remaining 00.1% of the times we order at Glacier we usually got for the Sate Maison that comes with peanut sauce. I enjoyed it when I had last time, even though that must’ve been really ages ago.

Toasted sandwiches such as the club sandwich cost from RO 1.700 to 2.600, salads cost from RO1.400 to RO 3.200, snacks cost from RO 1.500 to RO 3.400, cakes cost around RO 0.800, ice creams around 2.500, and pancakes and waffles cost from 1.100 to 2.100.

I didn’t really try a lot of things at Glacier, but I really can’t recommend the club sandwiches enough, I think that it is the perfect office lunch for those who want to have something simple yet delicious at a place that is not crowded at lunch time!

Mar 22, 2008

Wok of Life Reviewed at Kishor’s

Wok of Life

Fellow blogger Kishor Cariappa posted on his blog a review of Wok of Life, the new Chinese restaurant in MBD. Check out his review here.

Feb 24, 2008

Kababji – Al Khuwair

Kababji - Al Khuwair

We paid a visit last weekend to Kababji, one of the new kebab places in Al Khuwair, if you read any of the local newspapers you must have seen their ad campaign which has been going on for a couple of weeks now. Kababji is located next to Badr al Samaa health centre in Al Khuwair. It is an Arabic/Mediterranean grilled food dine-in restaurant and sandwich coffeeshop.

KAbabji - Bread

Kababji is quite spacious inside and has a separate big room for families. We were two guys, so we sat in the open section, which got slowly filled up with families once the family dining room got fully occupied. We were impressed by the staff of Kababji as they swiftly guided the families through sections of the open section and then sealed up their tables using section barriers. However, the longer we stayed the more and more families filled up the open section until we started feeling uncomfortable (you can’t look in any direction other than in front of you as people will think that you’re staring at their daughter!!) I couldn’t even photograph the place afterwards because of this!

Kababji - Starters

I did not think that there was anything extra special in Kababji’s menu, it is the known Lebanese/Turkish/Mediterranean menu, for starters they have hommous, tabouleh, fettoush, moutabbale, etc. They have several types of kebab: halabi, khaskhash, istambouli, orfali, several grilled dishes, pizza-like pastries, fatayer (pies?), shawarma, a couple of rice dishes, and some sandwiches.

Kababji - Kebab

We ordered a Kababji Special, which is a mixed kebab grill that has kebab halabi, chicken kebab, tikka, shish tauk, eggplan kebab, and Italian kebab (don’t ask me where they got that from). The Kababji Special comes as a dish for four or for two, we got the smaller one, it came with two plates of hummous. The food we got was not the most amazing, it tasted very average and no where as good as the grilled food of other places such as the Turkish House. Some of the tikka we got was not even cooked well enough.

Kababji - Menu

Starters in Kababji cost RO 1 to RO1.5, grilled sandwiches about RO 1, meal for one person RO 2.7, and meal for four RO 9.5. Shawarma sandwiches cost RO 0.350 each, a plate costs RO 2.5. Desserts cost RO 0.5 to RO 1.5.

We did not order anything other than water and our Kababji Special dish, that cost us about RO 5.

The service at Kababji was excellent, there was no shortage of waiters and the food came quickly. However, we did not think that their food was special at all, I wouldn’t say that it was bad, but I can’t see myself saying ‘oh, I feel like having Kababji’. It looks like a good place for couples and families wishing to eat in a private place, but we surely did not feel comfortable as families started invading our section of the restaurant.

Feb 19, 2008

The Noodle House – City Centre

The Noodle House

Something is happening in town, several high-profile new restaurants opened all almost at the same time during the last couple of months, one that I visited and had to write a review about is The Noodle House, a Chinese restaurant in Muscat City Centre. The Noodle House is found on the first floor of City Centre, right at the entrance of the newer side of the mall (same side as the Boarders bookstore). It is really nice to have an option other than Chili’s for people like us living on that side of town (we do not acknowledge the existence of Hamburger Nation, we are THAT much unhappy with it).

The Noodle House

The seating of The Noodle House is quite unique, it is very spacious and open. The main seating area in the center of the restaurant is made up of long tables and benches on which diners have to sit on. It kinda feels funny at the first few minutes when sit on s bench because there is nothing to support your back, but you can drag the bench a bit closer to the table and then lean on the table, I thought that this felt more comfortable. There are regular chairs on all tables by the sides, so you can sit on any of these if you cannot sit on the benches.

The Noodle House Menu

Part of the ‘Noodle House Experience’ is ordering from their menu, each table has a paper pad of menus, from which you have to tear one and mark up dishes you would like to have. The menu has a selection of appetisers, wet noodles & soup, wok fried noodles & rice, specialities, and desserts. In addition to the order pad, there is a long list of drinks on the table. They have tens of ice teas and fruit soda mixes.

The Noodle House

The Noodle House

I’ve been to The Noodle House twice: the first time I shared two dishes with a friend, the second time I went with a large group of people and we ordered more than half the menu, it was cool as we tried everything, but the problem was that I had no idea what I ate or what I liked the most, so I really don’t think I can make any serious recommendations on what to try, but generally we were very happy with the food. It was rich with flavour, very nicely presented, and in a good quantity.

The Noodle House

You should watch out when ordering that not all dishes come with rice or noodles, especially ones from the Specialties section of the menu, but you can order side dishes such as vegetables or rice to make for it.

The Noodle House

Desserts are also usually ordered in advance at The Noodle House. We tried the banana beignets with mango syrup and vanilla ice-cream, a friend of mine was crazy about how good it was, so we tried it but, we were no impressed with it as much as her. We also tried the crispy friend wontons with caramel ice-cream (pictured below), the group did not think that it did not have enough caramel, I didn’t think that it was special at all.

The Noodle House

Starters in The Noodle House cost from RO 2 to RO 3, main courses cost from RO 2.5 to RO 5, desserts about RO 2, and drinks range in price from RO 0.7 to RO 2. Two main courses, with three drinks cost about RO 13 – taxes included.

I had a great time at The Noodle House, even though I never tried their starters and did not like their desserts, but their main courses were great, the service was good, and the place has a nice atmosphere. Make sure you try it out next time you go to Muscat City Centre.

Feb 6, 2008

Cafe Barbera – Shatti Al Qurum

Cafe Barbera

Cafe Barbera is an Italian Coffeeshop that opened last year in Shatti Al Qurum right next Shatti Cinema. For some reason, it never seemed inviting enough for me and only checked it out when a friend of mine suggested we go to it as apparently he comes to have lunch at it quite regularly.

Cafe Barbera

We attempted sitting outside at firstt, but the weather was way too cold for us to survive. The place looks very nice inside, it has a unique antique look and feel, and some really nice sofas all over the place. It is still relatively small though and because smoking is allowed inside it does not necessarily feel comfortable.

Cafe Barbera

The menu of Cafe Barbera is quite big, they have a variety of drinks and juices, spaghettis, club sandwiches, and other hot dishes as well. We had orange juice, mint and lemon juice, and a called coffee drink called ‘Roma’ that looked nice and, according to the friend of who tried it, tasted good as well.

Cafe Barbera

For our main courses we had a Barbera chicken club sandwich, a chicken baguette, and shrimp bruschetta dish. All the dishes we ordered were served with salad and two of them were served with potato wedges. We generally liked all of our dishes, I personally ate the chicken baguette, which I thought was good but not really special. I hated the wedges, they did not look or taste nice. Unlike me, my friends thought that their dishes were excellent.

Cafe Barbera Cafe Barbera

We thought that the service at Cafe Barbera was good, it was fast, the food was what we ordered, and the waiters were friendly and talkative. My friend says that it gets bad at lunch time when the place gets crowded and many people sit outside. Never had that myself, but thought that I’ll just let you know.

Cafe Barbera

Drinks at Cafe Barbera cost from about RO 1 to RO 2 and main courses cost from RO 2 to RO 4. We ordered three drinks and three main courses and our bill came out at RO 13.79 – taxes included.

Cafe Barbera

Cafe Barbera was a nice change, their place is nice, the service we had was good, and the food was as described. The place is however small and smoking is allowed inside, so it is not necessarily for everyone.