Browsing articles in "Restaurant Reviews"
Oct 23, 2009

Pizza Inn

Pizza Inn

Pizza Inn is a casual dine-in and delivery pizza restaurant. It has relaunched recently and has two branches one in Qurum (2456 6111) and the other in Ruwi (2478 4555). We recently paid a visit to the branch in Al Araimi Complex in Qurum.

Pizza Inn Seating

Pizza Inn has a very similar feel and look to Pizza Hut, but a bit flashier because it has very recently opened. We went on an evening of a week day and the place was pretty busy, but we had no trouble finding a table.

Pizza Inn - Garlic Bread with Cheese

The menu in Pizza Inn is very similar to Pizza Hut, for starters they have garlic bread, chicken wings, french fries and potato wedges. In addition to these they have some salads, pastas, and, unlike Pizza Hut, they also serve RO1.5 Submarine sandwiches that come with french fries and a drink.

For the starters we had garlic bread with cheese (RO 1.2) which was really well done and not as hard as those served at Pizza Hut.

Pizza Inn Special

Pizza Inn has a variety of pizzas including a Taco Pizza, a Tandoori Pizza, a Hawaiian Pizza and several other ones. Pizzas come in small, medium, large, or family size (12 slices). We decided to have a family size Pizza Inn Special pizza (RO 6), this pizza had  pepperoni, sausage, beef, onions, mushrooms, black olives and green peppers. We really enjoyed it, we thought that the dough was very tender and barely had any traces of oil. The toppings also felt fresh.

We didn’t try any desserts but they had a couple pizza-style sweets. For the drinks we just had soft drinks, but surprisngly they were served in fast-food style plastic cups even though were dining in. The drinks were not refill-able.

In total we had one starter, one family size pizza, and four drinks, our bill came out to RO 9.800.

Overall we thought that the service was good and the food was really excellent. I was not happy about the way our drinks were served and I thought that our table was too small for our plates. If you are going to dine-in at Pizza Inn make sure you do not sit at the small tables if your group is going to be more than two people.

Oct 9, 2009

Shang Thai – Al Khuwair

Shang Thai - Muscat

Shang Thai (Telephone: 2448 3083) is a Chinese-Thai restaurant in Al Khuwair that opened earlier this year. The restaurant is located right next to McDonald’s in Al Khuwair. It shares its venue with Mirchi, an Indian restaurant, but you have to go upstairs to dine in Shang Thai. The restaurant is operated by Bu Al Hickman, the same company that operates Pizza Express in Oman.

Shang Thai Al Khuwair

Shang Thai is a very nice looking restaurant, but it is not as fancy as Silk Route or the Noodle House. The place is quite spacious. We went on a Wednesday evening and only about one third of the tables was taken.

Shang Thai - Intros

The menu of Shang Thai is pretty extensive, it has a number of vegetarian and non vegetarian starters, soups, salads, and various kinds of fish, seafood, chicken, duck, meat, and vegetarian main courses. After we made our orders we got a complimentary Shrimp Chips intro with some dips. It was nice, but nothing special.

Shang Thai - Prawn on Toast

For the starter we shared a Xiang Zha Dui Xia, (Prawns on Toast – RO 2.5). This was fried marinated minced prawns on toast which was served with plum sauce. I really liked it, I thought it was very tender and the sauce was excellent.

Chuchee Goong - Shang Thai

For the main course we had a Chuchee Goong (Prawn with Red Curry – RO 6) which had flavoured king prawns cooked in a spicy red curry. We also ordered a Gai Phad Samoon Phai (RO 3.6) which had stir fried chicken with Thai herbs and was served with some lemon grass and lemon leaves. We also ordered a Thai Fried Rice (RO 3) which was made up of stir fried Jasmine rice with shrimps, eggs, and vegetable.

Shang Thai - Thai Friend Rice

The portions of the main courses are big and the waiters will offer to serve a bit of each dish you ordered with everyone on the table. We liked everything we ordered, I preferred the chicken over the prawns, but my friend preferred the prawns over the chicken. The fried rice was also excellent. We really enjoyed eating everything we ordered.

Shang Thai - Drinks

For the drinks we had a Ginger Lemonade (RO 1.2) and a Citrus Mint Cooler (RO 1.6). I had the Citrus Mint Cooler, which was supposed to be a orange, lemon, and mint juice mixed with Soda, but due to the unavailability of soda on that night it was mixed with water. I still quite enjoyed it, but I can’t say that I was blown away. For the desserts we had a Kluay Thod (RO 3) which had fried bananas served with vanilla ice cream. I initially liked it, but then couldn’t finished my portion cause I thought the banana was just too sweet for me handle, but that’s probably just me. I thought that it was better than the one I had in the Noodle House long time ago.

Shang Thai - Banana Ice Cream

The service at Shang Thai is excellent, the waiters were friendly and gave us a lot of recommendations as to what we should order. The food came quite fast and the waiters helped serve it on our plates.

In total we ordered 1 starter, 2 main courses, 1 rice dish, 2 juices, and 1 desserts. Our final bill was RO 20.900.

I enjoyed the food I had and I thought that the service was excellent. Try this place if you want to have fancy Thai food in Al Khuwair.

Aug 23, 2009

Silk Route – Sohar

Silk Route - Sohar

Silk Route (Telephone: Sohar 26844656, MQ 24696967) is a Chinese-Thai restaurant that had its branch in MQ for a number of years, it recently opened in Sohar Plaza in Sohar. The restaurant is located on the first floor of Sohar Plaza, if you are coming from Muscat, you can get to this new mall by turning right from the Sohar Roundabout and  then turn left from the first roundabout after it to go towards the new banks district. Sohar Plaza is less than a five minute drive on that road and it cannot be missed.

Silk Route - Sohar

Silk Route is a very fancy restaurants, the seating and decor is nice, the lighting is calm and the place is very spacious. There is also apparently a private dinning room which could be seen on the back left side of the image above. We went on the last night before Ramadhan, which could be the reason why it was practically empty. The place lack of guests could be due to the fact that it is also currently the most expensive restaurant in Sohar – more on this later.

Silk Route - Complimentary Intros

The menu is Silk Route is very long, none of us was an expert on Chinese food and we had no idea what to have, so we almost picked stuff randomly. In Silk Route, before you order anything you get a complimentary intro of shrimp chips and some weird lettuce(?) side. These intros come with a Thai sweet chili sauce and a hot chili sauce. The shrimp chips were nice, but nothing super special, the other vegetable starter was a bit too spicy, we didn’t have much of it.

Assorted Dim-Sum - Silk Route

We had three starters, the first was some Assorted Dim-sums (pictured above). These were Chinese dumplings cooked in some sauce, the cover was made up of some very watery wrap and the inside had chopped chicken with vegetable or chopped prawns with vegetables. Eating this was a unique experience, but at the end we all decided that we did not like it.

chicken-winglets

Our second starter was a plate of chicken winglets, it was well cooked and the coating crunchy and well flavoured. We really loved it.

Chicken Tidbits

Our third started was a plate of “Chicken Tidbits”, these are small chicken pieces fried in some sort of sweet or honey sauce. The portion was huge and it tasted really nice. Besides the dim-sums, we really liked the starters, but we thought that they are a bit too much, especially if you take the intros into consideration. Each of these starters is meant to be shared by a group of four people.

Chicken balls in Garlic - Silk Route

We ordered four main courses, the first was a ball of chicken balls in garlic sauce. The chicken was finely minced and mixed with spices and was dipped in a garlic sauce. It was very tender, sort of tasted like a “kofta” dish, and was collectively our favourite item we had.

Silk Route - Chicken Black Pepper Sizzler

The second main course we had was a Chicken Black Pepper Sizzler, which was literally just that. I thought it would be somewhat dusty because of all the black pepper, but it wasn’t, it was not too spicy either and tasted nice.

Chicken Noodles

Our third main course was a bowl of Stir Fried Chicken Noodles, nothing out of the ordinary, and a tiny bit bland.

Silk Route - Beef Five Spices

Our final starter was a dish of sliced beef cooked in five spices. Not exactly sure of what they are now, but we really didn’t like it that much, I thought that it was too sour.

For the drinks we had Coke and Mountain Dew, did not try anything special. Our drinks were machine served and barely had any fizz in them left. We did not try any of the desserts of Silk Route.

The service at Silk Route was excellent, not sure how it would have been if it were busy, but the waiters were buzzing around us and seemed hospitable, though nobody helped us pick our dishes or made suggestions on what we should have, even though we seemed like we have never been to it before and kept on asking questions about the dishes.

In conclusion, we ordered three starters, four main courses, five soft drinks, and a small bottle of water for RO 30.800. I don’t have the actual dish costs, but each starter/main course costs about RO 4, soft drinks cost about RO 0.5 and they are not refillable.

It is great to have some more nice restaurants in Sohar where you can go out and dine in. Silk Route has a great atmosphere and the service is great, however, we were not blown away by the food we had. It is true that picked randomly from the menu, but we ordered a lot of food and barely had anything seriously memorable. I never tried the MQ branch, so I cannot compare it with that one. However, the place is also literally empty, not sure if this was because it was Ramadhan or what, but it is obviously the most expensive restaurant in Sohar now and it’s prices might be a bit too much for Soharians.

Sep 19, 2008

Reviews That Were Never Written – Part 2

Here is the second bunch of reviews that were never written.

Samba – Shangri La

Had a buffet at this restaurant in the Shangri-La a couple of times and really loved it. Their buffet was about RO 13 I think with an additional discount for Omanis and local residents. Samba restaurant is Mexican/South American cuisine, but it also had a nice sushi section. Really worth the distance travelled to go there! (Plus the price is considered *cheap* for a buffet at a 5-Star hotel).

Beirut Restaurant – Qurum Commercial Area

Beirtut Restaurant is a Lebanese restaurant right behind Sabco. I’ve been to it once last year and I really liked it. The food was awesome and the place looked nice. I remember I paid by card and forgot it at the restaurant! They came shouting behind us to tell us about the card!! I tried their dishes and not their sandwiches, they have some nice juices as you can see from the photo below.

Beirut Snack, Al Khode

I went to this restaurant/coffee-shop once when it opened and really hated it. Their food sucked, their place is right on the road and their service was not so good. Never thought of going back.

Sep 18, 2008

Reviews That Were Never Written – Part 1

I’m going to travel in about a week’s time and I won’t be able to write any new reviews for the Omani Cuisine, I have been to many restaurants which I photographed and everything but never got to write a review for – most probably due to some bad time management skills!

Three Star Restaurant, Al Hail

I once wanted to have a post titled ‘Battle of the Generics’ where I thought I’ll post a joint review of all these generic Indian-Chinese restaurants that have the same exact menu that has the name of every single Indian and Chinese dish ever invented. 3 Star was one of these. Not sure if this restaurant is really three star, maybe just 2.5, they have a fountain in their restaurant with plastic frogs inside it. It is located right next to City Center.

Al Aktham Restaurant, Al Khuwair

Al Aktham is the king of generics, it is one of the oldest and most famous restaurants in town, its boardsign boasts with the word ‘Restaurant’ without a brand name. It has private dining rooms used by conservative families and guys taking out girls on dates (.. to al aktham? We’re going on a data to AL AKTHAM?!). This restaurant is found somewhere near Al Safeer Hotel in Al Khuwair Commercial Area.

Grill House, Al Khuwair

Grill House is my favourite generic restaurant, I can have their Schezwan Chicken Fried Rice dish for dinner, lunch and breakfast. Favourite side dishes include a green salad and chips. This restaurant is next to the MQ traffic lights. Their food is nice, but they badly need to work on their restaurant front image!

I used to think that I had photos of Spicy Village as well, can’t find them though. Will make another post with some other restaurants.

Sep 17, 2008

Chili’s – Muscat City Centre

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 serves Mexican/American food. The only Chili’s branch we have in Oman is found in Muscat City Centre 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. Chili’s is pretty big in size andis  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.


(Club Tacos)

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). 


(Fajita Quesadillas)

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. The waiters might not tell you this, but you can have rice, beans, chips, or cooked vegetables instead of the corn and mashed potatoes. 


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 Cake (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. 

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.

Sep 17, 2008

The Pavilion Restaurant Reviewed @ Kishor’s

 

IndianChinese restaurant the Pavilion was reviewed in a recent post at Kishor Cariappa’s blog. Kishor says the chicken at this MBD restaurant was “very delectable and grilled to perfection” and that  the service “was good and ambience very pleasing”. You can read the whole review and check out pictures of the restaurant and its food over at Kishor’s Blog.

Aug 29, 2008

Jean’s Grill Reviewed @ Rashad’s

Blogger Rashad made a post about Jean’s Grill, the restaurant up in Sultan Center. I’ve never been the place myself, but according to Rashad the place serves an awesome breakfast buffet for RO 2.5. Check out his review over at his blog.

Aug 23, 2008

The Bollywood – Qurum Commercial Area

The Bollywood

The Bollywood (Telephone: 2456 5653) is a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Qurum Commercial Area right next to CCC. We felt adventurous a couple of weeks ago and decided to give this restaurant a go. The Bollywood has been around for years, it was previously known as Bollywood Chaat, but I do not know a single (Omani) person who has been to it before.

The Bollywood - Theme

The Bollywood restaurant is all (guess what?) Bollywood, the spacious restaurant is covered with photographs and posters in various shapes and sizes of Indian movie superstars. The crowd in The Bollywood is Indian and mostly families and couples. The Bollywood is not a fancy place unlike Mumtaz Mahal, the cost of food is lower and the service and venue is not as fancy either. I don’t think that it is licensed to serve alcohol because we were not offered a drinks menu. I don’t also think that were seated, we entered the restaurants and had to look for a table ourselves and only after we sat a waiter came to us with a menu.

Tandoor Platter - The Bollywood

The Bollywood only serves vegetarian food – we did not know that before sitting down. I personally considered leaving when the waiter told us this, but we decided to just give it a try because were not that hungry anyway. Unfortunately the menu of The Bollywood is not very helpful, it has all sorts of fancy ethnic dish names but they barely had any explanation of what that dish actually was.  We asked the waiter for help but he couldn’t explain anything to as at all. So we ended up picking stuff that had pictures of them on the menu. For the starter we had a Tandoor Platter (pictured above – RO 2.500) which was made up of different things which we did not know, some of these things had a texture of minced beef burger but tasted quite unique in a good way, some bits of it were moderatly spicy.

Cheese Paratha - The Bollywood

We also had a some paratha bread with cheese (pictured above – RO 0.900)  and some buttered naan bread (not pictured – RO 0.450) ,  the cheese paratha bread was awesome. It came perfectly warm and the cheese inside it tasted amazing.

Veg Biryani - The Bollywood

I very rarely eat rice on regular days, so I always take the opportunity to try out a rice dish  if I’m in an Indian restaurant, EVNE WHEN ITS VEGETARIAN… unfortunately though I did not like the vegeterian biryani (pictured above – RO 1.350)  of The Bollywood, it was quite spicy, but somehow I just did not like it. I did not like the mix of things they had in it and I thought that it was boring without any chicken.

Chole Bhature

My friend had a Chole Bhature for his main dish, it was a spicy chickpeas dish that come with funny looking bread.The only memory my friend has of this is that it was too spicy for him.

Kala Katta - The Bollywood

We decided to also try a new drink at The Bollywood, so we went for Kala Katta (pictured above – RO 0.400), we tried very hard to make the waiter explain to us what it was made up of, but we did not understand one word of what he said, the drink turned out to be some sort of fruit-like juice, reddish-black in coloured, it tasted quite sour and very weird (vimto and laban mix?). It was not cold enough and I did not like it.

At the end we had one starter, two main courses, some bread, two drinks, our bill came out at RO 7.850.

Our dining experiece at The Bollywood was quite *unique* to say the least, the fact that a place is vegetarian will probably be a turn-off to many people. The waiters did not guide us through the menu to help order stuff which we might like. I do not think that I will be going back anytime soon. However, I am sure that a vegeterian Indian family that has an idea of the food served would likely enjoy the place. Others willing to pay a little bit more for a better Indian experience can visit the Mumtaz Mahal instead where there is greater variety in food, the ambience is nicer, and the service is way much better.

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.