Apr 16, 2010

Ubhar – Bareeq Al Shatti

Ubhar (telephone: 24699826) is an upscale Omani restaurant located in Bareeq Al Shatti mall. It is located at the main entrance of the mall and has another entrance from the inside opposite Caribou Coffee. Ubhar is the name of an ancient lost city that is now believed to be located in the south of Oman.

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Apr 1, 2010

RBG Grill – Park Inn Hotel

RBG Grill (Telephone 2450 7888) is a grill restaurant located in Park Inn in Al Khuwair. The restaurant is located on the ground floor right left of the main entrance of the hotel.

We went to RBG Grill early on an evening of a week day, we did not make a reservation before going and the place was practically empty when we were there. RBG stands for Red Bar Grill, and the theme nicely matches the name. The seating area of RBG Grill is quiet nice and spacious.

RBG Grill serves a variety of light snacks, salads, steaks, and burgers. The restaurant is licensed to serve alcohol and has sections for wines and beers on the menu. We did not like any of the starters as they seemed all more like snacks than actual starters (small sandwiches, etc). We only ordered main courses, but we received an introductory basked of bread and butter to munch on until the main courses arrive.

RBG Grill is known for its steaks, there are about 8 or so different steaks offered on the menu, my friend’s ordered a Rib Eye Steak (Pictured first above – RO 11.5) and a Sirloin Steak (Pictured second above – RO 12.5). Both came with mashed potatoes, salad, and a choice of sauce that comes with it.

I ordered a chicken fillet burger (RO 8 ) which came with chunky chips, I thought that it was nice especially the caramelized onions –  I also found having a hard shell bun for a change nice!

We also had a chicken tikka (RO 5.5) with a side dish of mashed potato (not pictured – RO 2).

I thought that the staff at RBG Grill were friendly and the service was good, though a bit on the slow side even though the place was practically empty when we got in.

In total we ordered 4 main courses, 1 sideline, and 4 soft drinks, our bill came to RO 43.5.

My friends seem to like the steaks they had and I enjoyed the burger that I had, but as I am not really big on steak, I’m not really sure if I’ll be coming to this place often.

Anybody else been to RBG Grill? What do you guys think?

Mar 19, 2010

Quiznos – Sohar

The first branch of Quiznos (Telephone: 2684 4869) in Oman recently opened in Sohar. It located right next to Lulu near the Globe Roundabout. Quiznos is a fastfood sandwich restaurant that is very similar to Subway.

Quiznos is so similar to Subway half the sandwiches are almost identical. They they both serve Chicken Teriyaki, Meatball Marinara, Classic Italian, and Pizza Sub to mention a few, but in addition to these Quiznos also has some unique sandwiches such as the Mesquite Chicken with Beef Strips, Peppercorn Steak, and Chicken Picante.

Sandwiches come in 6″ or 12″ sizes, but unlike Subway, in Quiznos you don’t customize your sandwich bit by bit. The menu specifies what salad and sauce the sandwich will have, but you can explicitly tell them to remove an item from it you don’t want to have it.

I was very frustrated by the menu and the staff, the moment we got in the cashier gave us the menu which doesn’t mention anywhere that the prices on it are for takeaway only and it costs more to dine in. I discovered this only after I paid and discovered that asked him how come we got charged more for each item (even before taxes were added).

The menu also didn’t mention that there are a variety of bread types which you can have your sandwich in, once we made our order, the cashier told us that we can have white bread, brown bread, or rose mary parmesan bread, I asked to have mine in parmesan bread, he replied to me saying “BUT that will cost you 200 baisa extra”. It is not that I cannot afford 200 baisa, but I think that it is just not reasonable to tell me that I have options and I after I make my selection you tell me that I would have to pay extra for this even though other places offer it for free. What’s even worse is that after I got my receipt I discovered that he charged me 300 baisa for it?!! I asked him why he did that when he told me it would cost me 200 baisa. He apologized saying that he made a mistake and ordered two breads instead of one. (I don’t understand how two 200 baisa items would cost 300 baisa, but anyway). He then gave me a 100 baisa back.

I ordered a traditional sub (pictured above) which had smoked turkey breast, roast beef, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, red onions, black olives, and ranch dressing. According to the menu I had it cost RO 1.500 for a 6″. I asked if they had any alternative for a meal deal other than the Lays crisp. I really didn’t feel like having a crisp, so I thought I’ll just have a drink by its own. It costs RO 0.500 to have a refillable cup of Pepsi and RO 0.600 to add a small bag of Lays crisp to it.

I was not blown away by the sandwich I got, even though the bread was in my opinion nicer than Subway’s I think I made a bad choice with my filling. I think that I am more into meaty sandwiches that have solid pieces of beef or chicken. Or maybe I was just bitter about the messed up prices on the menu and the misleading cashier that I couldn’t enjoy the sandwich enough. I don’t know.

Mar 18, 2010

B+F Roadside Diner – Bareeq Al Shatti

B+F Roadside Diner is a burger restaurant in Bareeq Al Shatti mall (Telephone: 2469 8836). It is located on the far right side of the mall if you enter from any of the main entrances. B+F (short for Burger & Fries) is supposedly a branch of another restaurant called Burger Boutique originally from Kuwait.

Unfortunately B+F was crowded as usual when we went to it, so we couldn’t take proper photographs of the seating area. The restaurant is not massive in size and is stuffed with many tables and chairs, it is not uncomfortably crowded, but it is not exactly the place to go to if you want to have a private conversation. B+F has a unique theme of low lighting and modern stylish art. It is almost always crowded in the evening, on weekends it is normal to record your name and wait for up to 45 minutes before you get seated. They will offer to take your mobile phone number so that you can walk around the mall until they call you to come inside. B+F does not take phone reservations anymore.

B+F offers a variety of burgers, salads, grilled meals, and pizza, but the place is ALL about the burgers. We do still take starters when we go there, the starters they offer include nachos, soups, beef skewers, and a variety of tex mex starters. We had this time the Spicy Chicken Quesadilla (pictured above – RO 2.450) which I thought was awesome. It was not really spicy, but still full of flavour, the bread was also nice and tender.

There are loads and loads of burgers at B+F, some classics, some gourmet, some in sandwich form, you name it. Each of these burgers may be served in “Burger Style” which is your regular burger or in “Slider Style” in which you will get two mini burgers served on a long pad. This time we had a Bacon Swiss burger (pictured above – RO 2.850) which had a juicy beaf patty, beaf bacon, swiss cheese, grilled onion, grilled mushrooms, lettuce, pickles, and a special B+F sauce. It came in the perfect size and I really liked it, it was juicy as described and the sauce was nice.

We also ordered a Oz Gourmet burger (pictured above – RO 4.250) which had a grilled beaf patty, topped with cheddar cheese, fried eggs, onion rings, bacon, tomato, pickles, beetroot, lettuce, ketchup and mayo. It was a bit hard to handle as it was big, but it was still quite nice!

For the drinks we had a Banana Berry Smoothie (1.950)  which had fresh banans and mixed berries and a Red Planet (RO 2.250) which had red berry, pomegranate, pineapple, and apple juice. I really liked my Red Planet, I thought it was refreshing and the pomegranate bits were cool!

B+F also offers a number of sidelines such as fries and onion rings and desserts such as cakes and brownies, but we didn’t try any of them during our visit.

The service is B+F is good, the staff are very friendly and talkative, the food took a bit of time to get to us, but we did not mind it.

In total we ordered 1 starter, 2 main courses, and 2 smoothies, our bill came to RO 14.438.

I love B+F, their food is amazing and the atmosphere is nice for people who into that sort of place. If you have not tried yet you are really missing out!

If you are another B+F addict, what is your favorite burger?

Nov 23, 2009

Narjeel – Shatti Al Qurum

Narjeel - Shatti Al Qurum

Narjeel (Telephone: 2456 0606) is a Thai restaurant in Shatti Al Qurum. The restaurant is located at the somewhat dodgy Asas Oman hotel apartments in Shatti. If you are coming from the CCC and going towards Crowne Plaza along the Qurum Park road, you take the right turn after the small roundabout and before the little mosque.

Narjeel

Narjeel is not a super fancy restaurant, but it feels authentic. Unlike the dodgy feel of the hotel and the sign of Narjeel, the restaurant inside is quite spacious and feels welcoming. We went for a meal on Friday evening and the restaurant (and hotel) seemed empty. During our entire meal there wasn’t anybody else other than us in the restaurant.

Narjeel- Tom Yum Koong

Narjeel is a Thai restaurant and serves a number of soups, salads, starters, Thai main courses, seafood, and a number of others things as well. For the starters we had a Tom Yum Koong (RO 3.800) which was a spicy seafood soup cooked with vegetables. The portion of the soup was very large and it was a bit spicy even though was asked for the mild version of it, but we still enjoyed it thoroughly.

Narjeel - Panang Meat

Our first main course was a Panang Meat dish (RO 4.5) which had slices of meet cooked in a spicy thai sauce and other herbs. I am not an expert in Thai food, but I did not like the taste of this dish. That is not to say that there was anything wrong it, but it was just not our cup of tea.

Narjeel - Chicken Kapow

The second dish we ordered was a Chicken Kapow (RO 3.8) which was another dish of chicken shreds cooked in a spicy thai sauce and green beans. The description of the dish clearly stated that it is cooked in a spicy sauce, but we did not expect it to be THAT spicy. I thought the dish was good, but way too spicy we couldn’t even finish it.

Narjeel Orange

The main courses do not come with anything so we also ordered a plate of steamed rice (RO 0.5) and another plate of plain noodles (RO 0.5). The main courses came with a complimentary plate of orange slices which I think are supposed to be had while eating the main course to cool off the spiciness of the main course.

Narjeel - Pina Colada

For the drinks we had a Pina Colada (RO 1.5), a non-alcoholic coconut and pineapple juice mix, which was really well made. We did not try any of the desserts.

In total we ordered two soups, two main courses, two side dishes, and two fresh juices, our bill came out at RO 23.800.

The service at Narjeel was excellent and the food quickly arrived, except for our chicken main course which the waiter forgot to write on his notepad and which we didn’t notice was missing when he repeated the order.

I liked the soup and juice I had at Narjeel, but I was not crazy about the main course probably because we did not expect them to be as spicy as they were and because we did not ask for recommendations on what to have. However, I can understand why people are crazy about the restaurant and I think I would go again to try some more authentic Thai food.

Nov 19, 2009

Abala – Bareeq Al Shatti

Abala

Abala is a continental restaurant in Bareeq Al Shatti (Telephone: 2469 5903). It is located right next to the food court inside the mall. I think it opened earlier this year, was closed for a short while very recently, but is now open for business as usual.

Abala

Abala

Abala is all glitz and glamour. Everything from the tiles on the floor, the chairs and all the way to the cutlery napkins are super stylish. Abala also has some seating outside the restaurant for those who want to enjoy the nice weather of the winter. We went early in the evening while a big match was taking place, so the place was empty.

Turkey Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

The menu at Abala is very extensive and serves everything from soups, salads, and nachos, to burgers, risottos, steaks, and pastas.

We were undecided between having Calamari or the Turkey Bacon Wrapped Shrimp (RO 3.5) for the starter, we ended up having the shrimps, which came out as four pieces of shrimp wrapped in a small slice of turkey bacon. It tasted alright, though the *dip* below the shrimp tasted better than the shrimp itself.

Club Sandwich

For the main course I had a club sandwich (3.5) which came with chips. The chips felt as if it was precooked earlier and then reheated just before it got served to me. It was dry and cold. I didn’t like the sandwich itself either, the toast was very dry, almost burnt, and the filling was a bit too salty for my liking.

Chicken Risotto

My friend had a risotto with chicken and mushrooms (RO 3.5), he asked them to change the mushrooms  with dried tomatoes. He thought that his dish was “acceptable”.

Citrus Splash - Abala

For the drinks we had a Citrus Splash mocktail (RO 1.9) and a She Said Red mocktail (RO 2.1), I had the She Said Red, which had orange juice, strawberry juice, and pomegranate juiced mixed with crushed ice. We really liked both of our drinks and thought that there were the highlights of the visit.

The service at Abala was really good, everyone seemed friendly and our food came really fast. Not sure if it is always like that or just because nobody was dining at the restaurant at the time we went. In total, we ordered 1 starter, 2 main courses, 2 mocktails, our bill came to RO 16.

We did not like the food at Abala, I did not think that the starter was special at all and I really didn’t like my main course. I cannot really recommend this place. Has anybody else been here? What do you guys think?

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.