Dec 19, 2007

Review: Woodlands – Sohar

Woodlands Restaurant - Sohar

Fine Indian restaurant Woodlands has opened earlier this year in Sohar. If you are coming from Muscat you have to take the right turn from the Sohar Globe roundabout and then turn left from the first roundabout after it to go towards the new banks district. Woodlands is five minutes from there right before Al Turaif roundabout on the left side of the road. This is the third branch Woodlands opens, the first is in Ruwi in Muscat, the second is in Salalah, and the third most recent one is in Sohar. Woodlands won the Oman2day Restaurant Awards 2007 for the best service category and was a finalist in the best Indian restaurant category (which was eventually won by Mumtaz Mahal).

Woodlands Restaurant

Woodlands Sohar looks nice, it is very spacious and has tables varying in sizes for all sorts of diners. There are also three or four private family rooms with eight seats each. I am not sure of the smoking policy in Mumtaz, but I doubt they allow it. We thought that the staff of Woodlands were all very friendly and caring, though at many times they did not seem to be trained actually well (They surely did not win the award mentioned earlier for their Sohar branch). I’ve only been to the restaurant with my family, yet we were never offered any of the family private rooms before we asked for one. In my most recent visit to the restaurant, each one of us ordered a main course each but when the food came the waiter took one of the food pots and started putting some of it on each of our plates without asking us if we wanted to share it or not. A major third blooper is that there is no way to ask for anything when you dine in a private family room without going out of the room and calling a waiter. Not sure if they are not supposed to check on your in the family rooms for culture reasons or not. Not to say that Woodlands’ service is horrible, they are usually fast and never screw up your food, but occasional bloopers happens quit often probably because the restaurant is relatively new.

Woodlands Restaurant

Woodlands menu is quite large and can be hard to decipher, especially as the person who wrote the menu must’ve had gotten tired halfway through as the first half of the menu has descriptions of each menu item, while the other half has titles only. We asked the waiter for help on several occasions, but the answer he gave always was ‘this is chicken cooked with onion and capsicum, it is a gravy dish’ for half the dishes we asked about, and that was not really helpful. The manager occasionally tours around and he seems to have suggestions on what to have and more things to say about the dishes than newer waiters.

Woodlands Restaurant

Regardless of how much I bitch about Woodlands, it is actually my favourite restaurant at the moment, I love their food. They have a wide set of starters, my favourites are the Crumb Fried Fish and Chicken Lolly Pops (both not pictured), on our last visit we had Fish Tikka (pictured above) which we unfortunately did not like, the fish tasted weird and each piece shattered into threads when we poked it with a fork. The waiter might suggest you take two or three starters at least, even if you are two or three people only, which could be too much if you are going to have a main course each. The best starter we had was the Crumb Fried Fish, be sure to try that one out.

Woodlands Restaurant

We had no complaints about the main courses, everything we tried tasted amazing. We always order the gravy Chicken Manchurian (pictured above) which we thought was rich with flavour and very well done. We usually have this with buttered or garlic naan bread. My personal favourite is the Chicken Biryani (pictured earlier above). I hesitated to have it because I thought it would such a boring dish to have, but now I don’t think that I’ll ever have a Chicken Biryani better than that of Woodlands. It was not too spicy yet very delicious. We tried a Kadai Chicken gravy (pictured below) which was also good. We thought that the potion of food given was very decent.

Woodlands Restaurant

We did not explore the drinks menu of Woodlands and have only been drinking soft drinks during our visits. It is worth mentioning that Woodlands Sohar does not serve alcohol.

Vegetarian dishes at Woodlands cost about RO 2, chicken and meat dishes cost aroud RO 2.5 and sea food dishes start from RO 3. Bread starts from 0.300 a bread. In our very recent visit to Woodlands we had 1 fish starter, 4 main courses, some bread, and 3 soft drinks for about RO 19 – taxes included.

We thought that dining at Woodlands was generally a pleasant experience, disregarding the occasional waiters’ cluelessness of what they menu has. The food is delicious and the place is nice. All of you rich people coming to purchase land plots in Sohar can finally have a good dine-in restaurant to celebrate your new investment in Sohar itself.

  • Im quite impressed with this. Fell by it completely bu coincidence today and its the first time i even hear about such a thing. Its very interesting. I would suggest a review on Cafe Barbera – Shatti Cinema. for a cafe their food is quite good. I would recommend the Chicken Club Sandwich or the Penne Arabiatta (comes vegetarian originally but add chicken and sun dried tomatoes and i dare u to empty ur plate)

  • I am a great fan of their chicken biriyani, though the portion is too much for a single person to consume in one go. Chicken Varutha Curry (chicken fry) and Fish Tikka (king fish) also rocks at their CBD branch; try those next time. Coming back to bad service, I feel most of the restaurants in Muscat have staff who have no knowledge of the food being dished out in their restaurants and many of them are rude.

  • fred

    you are mean about woodlands in sohar. Its a great place to eat!!!!!

  • I regularly go to WL Sohar, but the service was bad on the day I went to it. That does not mean that their food is not good.

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  • Radhika Sudheer

    We are big fan of kozhi varuthate.Whenever we wish to eat from outside first prefering restaurant is Wood Land’s.Staff’s service also good.If you could please publish the recipe of kozhi varuthate.