Browsing articles in "Restaurant Reviews"
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.

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.