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.

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 9, 2008
del_yahi

Recipe: BB Chicken Sandwich

 BB Chicken Sandwich

Here is a quick recipe for a good sandwich for big gatherings, it should not take you a long time to prepare and it requires a very small number of ingredients. BB, or Black Beautify, is a reference to the balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce   used in it.

Ingredients (for 6 sandwiches): 

  • 4 medium chicken breasts (diced into cubes)
  • 5 sliced cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 buns of white bread
  • Salt/black pepper

Method

  1. Wash the chicken cubes and then drain them well. Put the chicken cubes in a bowl, add the Worcestershire sauce, the salt and finely crushed black pepper.
  2. Mix the chicken with the ingredients well and leave the bowl in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes minimum. You. Then take them out of the fridge 15 minutes before you use them.
  3. Put a frying pan on a medium flame, add the EVOO and the garlic to it, then as soon as the oil starts to sizzle, add the chicken. Sauté the chicken until it turns white and then add the balsamic vinegar. Keep sautéing the chicken until it is done. If the chicken is still not cocked well you can add small amounts of water or chicken stock to help cook it.
  4. Slice the buns and fill them with the chicken. You can add cheese or any kind of sauce you like. It can be served with chips or fries.
May 5, 2008

Japengo – Shatti Al Qurum

Japengo - Shatti Al Qurum

Japengo is a new Japanese restaurant located in Shatti Al Qurum area on Shari3 Al Hub (Love Road). It opened three days ago. Unlike the what the name suggests, it is not cafe, but a proper dine-in restaurant. The Love Road was hit badly by Cyclone Gonu and it has not been fixed yet, Japengo is the first restaurant to open up there and there aren’t enough proper parkings yet around, but people seem to somehow find a place to just stop their cars and come in. The place was busy today when I went to it.

Japengo

Japengo is pretty big from the inside and has additional seats outside from both sides of the restaurant. There are some allocated tables on which smoking is allowed inside, the restaurant is pretty big so the non-smoking section should not be disturbed by it, but still, there is no separator or barrier between the two sections (I did not know where one starts and the other ends).

Japengo

Japengo was opened less than a week ago and more than half of its menu items is not available for serving yet. You are given the full menu with all the unavailable items indicated with an x mark. A point worth noting is that Japengo is not your average Japanese restaurant, as it seems to have a lot more than just sushi. The menu has an appetizer section, salads section, sandwiches section, sushi/ sashimi section, sushi rolls section, Italian pasta section, pizza section, and even Lebanese food section (which I thought was insane!).

Japengo - Sushi Rolls

We decided to go for Shake Kawa Sushi Rolls for the starter (6 pieces in a single portion, cost RO 3.3), those  were sushi made in a roll and then cut into six pieces, the dish came with a plate of Soya sauce and some Wasabi (the green thing). Our Japanese-food-knowledgeable friend told us that we are supposed to use our chopsticks to take small bits of Wasabi and mix it with the Soya sauce then dip our sushi in the sauce before eating it. Our experiment succeeded and it was delicious. I really cannot remember what the Shake Kawa Sushi had in it, but it was cold, soft from the outside, and a little bit crunchy from the inside.

Japengo - Calamari

We also had fried calamari (costs RO 2.9) as our second starter, I had no comment about it other than it was very well done. The dip that came with it was amazing.

Japengo

We had a tough time selecting our main course as the majority of dishes were not available yet, we did not want to go for something Italian or Lebanese dish, because that would just be wrong. Why would anyone go for a Lebanese dish at a Japanese restaurant?! I had a tougher time selecting a dish because I wanted to have something with chicken, and there was nothing with chicken other than the sandwiches. One of my friends ended up taking the Japengo Club Sandwich (pictured above- costs RO 3.9) and the other took a Cheese Burger (pictured below – costs RO 4.4). I ordered a Chicken Breast Sandwich (not pictured – costs RO 3.9) which came in a bun with French fries. I thought that was really good, loved the sauce that they used, but half way through I realised that maybe we ordered too much for a day. But it was very good.

Japengo - Cheese Burger

For the drinks we ordered watermelon juice (RO 2.1), lemon juice (RO 2.1), and mango smoothie (RO 2.5). I loved my mango smoothie so much I had to order another one before we left. It was surely one of the best smoothies I had in town.

In total we ordered 1 starter, 4 main courses, and 5 drinks. Our bill came out as RO 34.750 taxes included.

We thought that the food at Japengo was amazing, the service was good overall – even though the waitresses acted plainly weird and refused to let me photograph them.  The prices are a tiny bit more expensive that the Noodle House, but are Okay for a restaurant of its range and in that location.  We would have loved to try some other things in the menu, but we couldn’t because the restaurant is still not fully ready yet. I would recommend it for everyone when it properly starts offering all the items in its menu.