GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) is British burger chain with a branch in Oman in Muscat City Center (Telephone: 2455 8065 – Map). I reviewed it last year and I wasn’t exactly its biggest fan, but they introduce a number of new items on its menu sometime recently so I thought I’ll go give it another shot.
Lovers of chicken and peri peri should know that Nando’s opened its new branch in Muscat City Center yesterday. Nando’s is located in the East Wing of MCC right next to where Borders bookshop used to be.
GBK (Telephone: 2455 8065) is a burger restaurant located on the ground floor of Muscat City Centre right to the left next to the escalator if you are coming from Emax (exact spot of the now closed Hamburger Nation).The restaurant is supposed to be a branch of a British burger chain and has been open for a quite a while now.
It’s hard to believe that we never wrote about Chili’s on the Omani Cuisine even though we mention it in almost every other post we make. Chilis is an international casual dining restaurant chain that servesÂ Mexican/American food. The only Chili’s branch we have in Oman is found in Muscat City CentreÂ opposite the old Starbucks near the food court. Even after the opening of three other dine-in restaurants in City Center over the past two years, Chilis is still undeniably the most popular.
(Boneless Buffalo Wings)
The crowd at Chili’s is mixed and it attracts people from all age groups, probably because it was the ONLY proper place to dine in in City Centre and the Seeb area generally for a while.Â Chili’s is pretty big in size andis Â spacious, it has a designated place for smokers down inside and has a sitting area for those waiting for take away orders and those waiting for a table to get cleared during peak hours.
The menu of Chili’s is pretty big and has many different sections that include starters (RO 2.5 to RO 4), salads (RO 3.2 to RO 4.9), burgers (RO 2.4 to RO 3.1), sandwiches (~ RO 3), grills (RO 4.8 to RO 7.9), steaks (RO 6 to RO 7), misc courses (RO 3.9 to RO 4.9), desserts (RO 2.5 to RO 2.7) and drinks (starting from RO 0.9).Â
There are several nice starters in Chilis, but like the majority of their dishes, they are large in quantity and should be shared with another person. I advise you to only order more than one starter if you are in a group of more than three people. Our favourite starters are the Fajita Nachos, Triple Play (Fried Cheese Rolls, Chicken Wings, and Eggrolls), Texas Fries (Chips covered with chili sauce and jalapinos), and the Boneless Buffalo Wings. Go for the Triple Play if you are three or four people, and take the Texas Fries only if your main course is not served with chips.
Selecting a main course at Chili’s can be quite hard because there is so much to choose from. If it is your first time I suggest that you go for a steak or a fajita, as they are Chili’s highlights. There are a variety of fire grilled steaks seasoned with different sauces. All steaks come with two pre-selected sidelines such corn and mashed potatoes along with garlic bread. You can always ask to have something else instead of these sidelines if you wish.Â The waiters might not tell you this, but you can have rice, beans, chips, or cooked vegetables instead of the corn and mashed potatoes.Â
Chili’s Club Sandwiches
Another first time selection which you can go for is a fajita (not pictured), which can be chicken, beaf, or prawn, cooked with vegetables and mexican sauces and comes served with flat tortila bread and dips which you can use to create your own sandwiches as you eat. You can have a mix of chicken, beef and prawns instead of selecting one and you can also optionally add mushroom to the mix. This is one of the main courses which you can share if you do not think you can finish it all by yourself. It is a little bit messy and will require you to use your hands, so only select it if you are ready to do that.
Of course there are loads and loads of other dishes to try if you do not like any of the ones mentioned above, I always go for the Club Tacos when I feel like having something ‘lighter’ or a Fajita Pita when I feel like having a sandwich. There are also some other dishes like the pasta pictured above, the quesadillas, burgers, salads, and others.
The most popular desert at Chili’s is the Molten Chocolate CakeÂ (RO 2.7), it is a hot chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream on top. It is enough for four people to share after a meal. If you are sick of having the awesome Molten Chocolate Cake I suggest that you try to the Cheese Cake which I only tried once but really loved.
A meal at Chilis for two people at Chilis would cost around RO 12 to RO 15 if you have a starter, two main courses, two soft drinks and a desert.Â
I think that the food at Chilis is really good, it is one of the few places on Al Seeb side of town to dine in, we never get sick of it. I am not sure about how good the service is these days, it used to be much better in the past as we have had several incidents on which the service was extremely slow and sloppy even when there weren’t many people dining. However, we always go back because we love their food.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We went out today to try Hamburger Nation – the new burger restaurant in Muscat City Centre. The restaurant is located on the ground floor right below the escalator if you’re coming down from the horrible Emax.
Just as the name suggests, Hamburger Nation serves burgers and not much else. All their burgers are relatively massive in size and are served in sesame seed buns, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and raw onion rings. Unlike some of the huge burgers served by other places, you can actually hold these in your hands and have a bite without creating a huge mess. I tried the Buddha Burga, which is basically a Thai spiced chicken breast burger, I thought that it was pretty good. Their 2-pages menu also has some beef, lamb, prawn, and some veggie ones as well.
The burgers do not come with anything, you have to order the drink and whatever sideline you wish to have separately. We did not feel adventurous and had regular chips – which was good. On the drinks side, they have milkshakes, soda, and some bottled organic juices.
The staff of the restaurants are all Asian and were very friendly. Burger Nation is your average noisy mall-restaurant, but the place still feels cozy even though it was a little bit tight in space.
The average price for a burger sandwich here costs RO 3, sidelines range in price from RO 1 to RO 1.8, drinks from RO 0.7 to RO 1.5, milkshakes from RO 1.5 to 2.5, and deserts from RO 1.7 to RO 3.0. So the average whole meal with a desert could cost RO 6 to RO 8 per person.
Overall, it was pleasant experience, the burgers were delicious and the service was really good. There isn’t much variety though, it is Burger Nation afterall, the quantity of the chips that we got was a bit questionable, and the 700bz soda was only for one bottle, not a refillable glass. This makes us wonder if the money we paid was really worth the food we got, especially when you realise that it was pretty close to what it would have cost us to eat at Chili’s.
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