A Meeting with The Dalai Lama and My Encounters with Buddhism

Towards the end of 2019 we set out on an adventure. I call it an adventure because, apart from a few logistical certainties everything was uncertain, just like the rest of the year. 

2019 was where the anticipations and apprehensions of the past couple of years were giving way to mini-victories and dream-come-trues. With that in mind, I packed my bags and drove heart first into the experience. But I was not alone, 40 other humans were going through similar emotions. Packing their everyday necessities into a bag and trying to leave inhibitions, doubts, comforts and luxuries behind for a learning experience, deep in a South Indian village, at a Buddhist monastery. Little did I know, words like Tsongkhapa, Geshe, Rimpoche, Lama, Gaden Shartse that were flying around during planning meetings would end up occupying such a special place in my heart, leaving a forever mark.

The adventure in waiting was Katy’s dream project come to life. Katy Saeger is the CEO of the company I work with here in Los Angeles. We were putting together, sort of,  a Buddhism 101 learning retreat and bringing together a group of 40 exceptional people: thought leaders, creators, actors, poets, conscious business owners, basically people who inspire by their mere presence. 

Under the canopy of Tibetan Prayer Flags: Blue represents the sky, white represents the air, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. All five colors together signify balance. One of the Lamas explained that the mantras on the prayer flag are blown by the wind spreading goodwill, compassion and positivity into all pervading space

We were at the monastery for 11 days and every minute was a lesson in crisis management. But crisis management, when done right, deepens relationships. And that’s exactly what happened during our trip. A shout out to my dear friend Rakesh, thank you for helping me tame all the production work in Bangalore, it was a beast and couldn’t have done it without you. There were several measurable outcomes from this trip but what makes me happy is, this event was successful not only for us, but for every individual who was a part of it – a testament to our efforts. 

This project was being planned against the backdrop of His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama’s teacher, Tsongkhapa’s, 600th year of Nirvana celebration in the Tibetan Monastery in Mundgod, a sleepy village located 200 odd miles from Bangalore. There is lot I learnt about Tsongkhapa and his teachings, some of which I’ll dive into in subsequent posts. Thupten Jinpa, a scholar-practitioner and primary translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom we had the privilege of interacting, offers a comprehensive portrait of Tsongkhapa in his book Tsongkhapa: A Buddha in the Land of Snows.

The most soul-stirring moment of the trip definitely was the 20 minutes I spent in close proximity to His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Soaking in his words, surrounded by the energy of people who I had come to care deeply for. Tyler Wakstein has captured the essence of the wisdom that His Holiness passed on to us in his article Buddhism is not a religion, it’s a framework for life. Even if you stop reading my words here, you shouldn’t miss out on Tyler’s.

Not in my wildest dream did I think I would have a private audience with The Dalai Lama. I knew I’d probably be in one of the large prayer halls at the monastery, breathing the same air as him, along with thousands of people, but this definitely goes down as a ‘never-had-I-ever’ moment. When you are part of organising an event of such magnitude, it becomes a selfless pursuit, where you want those attending to have the most blessed experience.  But it happened! I met The Dalai Lama!

I wanted that moment to expand not in time, but geographically to include my parents, my friends and my family for everyone stands to gain from meeting the highest of the high Lamas. That was not possible so I blocked out all the mind chatter, decided to be fully present in the moment, not worrying about logistics, not worrying about the needs of the immediate future or the happenings of the past and that is how, for the very first time in my entire adult life, I came to be engulfed by this overwhelming feeling of being blessed. Trying to articulate the blessings I received from the Dalai Lama would be futile. It exists as an unseen reserve that I could tap into every time I feel stuck in the present or apprehensive of the future.

 Here are some of my takeaways:

  • We are all one. Let’s do something nice for others. Everyday.
  • Impermanence: We need to accept change and learn to work with it.
  • There is no Planet B: Start small but pledge to leave a positive footprint. 
  • The importance of having good emotional hygiene: The most important education there is and the need to make emotional training part of every school’s curriculum. 
  • Empathy vs. Compassion: Empathy is a feeling and compassion is an action.
  • Debates: Seen below are snippets from the debate sessions. Learning, listening and debating are integral parts of  monks’ education and life. Never take anything at face value. Train the mind for constructive questioning.

Meeting His Holiness, the time I spent working, playing and learning with the monks, the candlelight walk with thousands of people who had congregated at the monastery, the energy of collective chanting,  sitting under the canopy of prayer flags on the monastery steps as the wind rustled and the sun set behind us, being surrounded by people who find joy in living the simple life and the random acts of love expressed by complete strangers – I got to live it all a 100%. My gratitude to ace photographers Peter Ruprecht and Hannah Hardaway who captured the magic behind all moments featured here.

On the day of our departure from the monastery, Letsok, a young monk who became a dear friend; who asked me a thousand questions in a day, and followed me around and made me do all the work I requested him to do, came up to me, with tears brimming in his eyes and asked “tum next year aayega na?” (“you will come visit me next year?) My heart burst with the love that he was radiating and the possibility that I may never see him again. Hopefully I would return to the monastery sometime soon but it definitely was not going to be in a year’s time.

Our lives are going to take us on separate journeys but this fabric of love that blankets our hearts is ours to keep. When we look back the warmth we felt can never be erased. We’ll go on living our lives but the circle of oneness will grow, to include people who stroll in and out of our lives. That is the true learning from this thought-changing event. 

 I leave you with a chant, the melodies of which still linger on. It transports me to the night where the glow from the candles and the vibrations from the collective chantings filled the air and our hearts. Seen in the video is my friend, Letsokh. I pestered him for this recording and he finally relented.

Thujeche (with gratitude) 

Sanjeev Kapoor’s Yellow Chilli 

Location: Al Mouj Muscat Opp. The Walk

Food: An absolute delight for vegetarians & non-vegetarians 

Value: splurge-worthy can’t wait to take my folks there when they come visiting 

The must haves 

Coconut and Shrimp Shorba RO 2.8 The actual portions are much large. This must have soup is a wonderful start. Vegetarians can opt for the Tomato Basil Shorba which was equally good. 


Shaam Savera RO 4.5
A signature creation- spinach koftas filled with creamy cottage cheese, served on a tomato butter gravy. Do not miss out on this veg wonder dish. Was perfect with the butter naan. 

 Lalla Mussa Dal RO 3.4 The quest for the perfect dal makhni in Muscat ends here  


 Shabnam ke Moti RO 3.9
Mushroom caps overflowing with cheese and cooked to a delicious golden hue in the tandoor   

Khasta Kaju Chicken RO 5.2

Cashewnut coated chicken iss brilliant example of indian Chinese done right   

Raan Buzzkazi RO 12.5

Tandoori roasted leg of lamb, finished over charcoal barbecue basted with garlic and pepper oil. Can I have some more 

Fishers Grilled Restaurant Muttrah, Muscat. ‘Easy on my wallet, Crazy on my palate’ kind of love.

Do you have a bottomless craving for seafood? Are you tired of mediocre google search results for ‘best seafood restaurants’? Do you crave for fresh, tasty seafood that does not come with a ‘you need to sell your kidney to afford it’ price tag? If yes then I have the perfect answer for you.

Fishers Grilled Restaurant. It is located bang opposite the Fish Market in Muttrah, between the fancy restaurant Bait al Luban and the Marina Hotel. Park your car in the parking lot in front of Bait Al Luban and walk towards Marina Hotel, turn left as soon as you spot ‘Hall for Foods’.


I went with a friend who did all the ordering (THANK YOU FOR TAKING ME TO THIS FOOD HAVEN). So here’s the drill. You need to walk up to the outlet  with the Fishers Grilled Restaurant signage (located in the inroad). Pick the fish of your choice, they also have squid and prawns.


Meet the king of grill Mr. Mohammed or the big boss Mr. Ashraf, they are grill masters whose secret ingredient has to be magic.


After you pick what you want; head towards either the air-conditioned tiny room called ‘Hall for Foods’ or sit outside and play with the cats till your order arrives. WORD OF CAUTION: It is better to call and place your order in advance, as everything is done super fresh, you will have to wait for 40 minutes or so for your order to be served.

As I waited my anticipation kept building. I was looking forward to this for a long time. I was hoping it wouldn’t be a complete disaster. After 35 minutes or so the gentleman below came with a plate of salad, sumac dusted hummus and a big basket of bread.



Taste, enjoy and don’t pass any of these off as fillers. The dressing on the veggies was intriguingly delicious, the hummus was creamy and packed with flavour.

The grilled fish was coated with a near exotic spice rub, just thinking about it right now wants me to stop writing this post and head to that fish place. Take a look at the pictures. Sheri Fish 850 grams and cost RO 3.

Sheri Fish

close up of sheri fish

Then came the juicy platter of prawns. What a pleasure it was to shell, suck and munch away each of the deliciously pink prawns. And they were deveined and large.


sorry about the  unkempt nail ;)
sorry about the unkempt nail 😉

The grilled squid tossed in a medley of spices and charred onion, capsicum and eggplant was a true delight.


squid 1

This is probably the first time I feel I am unable to do full justice to a post, as recollecting the flavours, the aroma and the sight of the glorious seafood from last night is leaving me in a trance.

So to sum it up, this is the go to place in Muscat if you wish to eat fresh, perfectly marinated, healthy (grilled) seafood that does not cause a hole in your wallet. The salad, the bread, hummus, the fish, the prawn, the squid – all this for just RO 11. Had I not been surrounded by a conservative crowd I would have broken into a happy dance. I LOVEDDDD IT…

To pre-order your meal  call Ashraf 99463561

Trishna Seafood Restaurant, Muscat. Never Again Kind of Love

The rates were high so naturally my expectations were high. Fine-dining was the classification so finitely delicious was my expectation. As the title suggests I was mighty disappointed.  For a brand that claims to be one of Mumbai’s favourite restaurants, they delivered neither in class nor in flavours. Let’s not even try to assess the value. I am no restaurant expert, but can any restaurant set up shop and decide to call itself fine dining?

I believe in giving restaurants a second chance, especially if they have just opened, because I appreciate the effort and the dream that goes behind doing something like that. I repeat, I am no expert, I do not have a degree in food anthropology or the likes but I connect with food, I am emotionally attached to what I eat and every food experience is a learning.

Trishna did not disappoint me on their claim of using fresh sea food. Yes, the fish, prawn and crab were fresh. But were they treated with respect? No. We ordered Prawn salt n pepper (RO 3.8) and Prawn Koliwada (RO 3.7) as starters but the prawn was overcooked thus hard and devoid of that wholesome flavour.



The signature dish ‘MEDIUM Crab butter pepper garlic (RO 10.1), was good, across the table, everyone enjoyed it. I liked it as well, but there is something about the sweetness, the warm-earth flavours of crab meat  that was overpowered with the garlic and to an extent the butter.Crab meat is buttery in itself, I personally didn’t see the need to smother it up with so much butter or garlic. The meat however, was tender and something that I believe everyone will enjoy.


But the rate of the dish goes up depending on the size of the crab. The one that we order is fit for two people ONLY. A friend of mine said that he could wipe it out all on his own and still be hungry, I have to agree with him. For me, a crab that size, for that rate and that flavour profile does not translate into value.

The Pomfret Punjabi Masala (RO 8.1) was a complete dud kind of dish. Nothing new, nothing old; a ‘nothing’ kind of dish that lacked inspiration and had no story to tell. Waste of RO 8.1 for sure.


Veggie Delight – Not so much: There was one vegetarian on the table and she ordered for a vegetarian Shangai Soup (RO 1.7), which was a disaster according to her and I second that. Dal Hyderabadi (RO 3.1), what can I say, if I didn’t have the restaurant bill in front of me for reference, I would have forgotten to mention it. The restaurant can justify the price of their seafood dishes by saying:  “Some items like King Fish is available locally, but there are other items on the menu which are not available in Oman. So we have tied up with one of the seafood importers to bring in live crabs and lobsters and fresh prawns from Dubai,”  but what is the justification for the mark up on the veggie dishes?

The drinks were mediocre as well. Garlic Nan (RO 4.1for 4Nos.) was yum and garlicy just the way I like it, Neer Dosa was good as well. We also ordered Roomali Roti (900 baiza for 1No.), Mango Lassi (RO 1.7), Sweet Lassi (RO 1.1), Strawberry lemonade (RO 2.1), Litchi Temptation (RO 2.1) and Gulab Jamun (RO 2.6 for 1 portion).

My Verdict: I will not be going to this place again when there are better alternatives in town. They have to bring down their prices. Reallocate the spends in the right place. Strip the fine-dining title and thus cut the frivolous overheads and build on the soul and the story of the brand. I gather (again from a quick google search) that they are planning on introducing set menus at lower prices to attract the lunch-time crowd. Good Move? Already long overdue.

*Prices mentioned are inclusive of taxes

*Location: Gallery Muscat Mall, Near American British School, Al Khuwair.


Location: Near City Cinema, Shatti Al Qurum

After having driven passed Chatime a couple of times, my bestie and I finally made it to this new Tea joint in town. Today, I completely understand how my non-food adventure seeking Hubster feels when I push, pull, tug and drag him for a food experiment. This feeling of being completely unaware of what I  got myself into engulfed me. First off, my brain refused to accept the concept of cold milk tea (I am Indian, I drink piping hot tea ONLY), secondly, exotic (borderline scary) sounding ingredients that I have never heard of, third they had no FOOD in this joint (no food, really?). But before I make you think this is going to be a negative review, let me tell you that I enjoyed this curiosiTEA filled experience at the newest Taiwanese Tea place in town.


Chatime has a unique Tea concept dedicated to make Tea a healthier, refreshing and fun alternative to Coffee. This trendsetter from Taiwan has close to 1000 outlets in 80 cities across four continents.(info courtesy a quick google search)

funky flavours

For a change, it was my girlfriend who asked about the food and not me. But the concept of this tea place is such that each drink is a mini snack in itself. You can pick your choice of tea, hot / cold or smoothie and add to it the toppings of your choice. By toppings I mean really bizarre but delicious stuff. If you are anything like me, you will be curiously confused at first. But I have done the homework for you. Look at the menu at the counter. They have marked it out. Look for the yellow stars, which are the best sellers (that’s how I decided what I wanted). The ‘Cold Drinks’, ‘Stronger Tea’ and ‘Upcoming Drinks’ are also marked out.


They also have non-tea based juices and smoothies and those are really good. I think the guy behind the counter sensed my curious and confused expression and gave me a shot of their grape apple smoothie. We raised a smoothie toast, post which, I was confident enough to place my order.

a toast

I called for a Pearl Milk Tea Smoothie. The pearls are squishy, black tapioca balls and I also asked for an extra topping of Coconut Jelly. (RO 2.3).  I loved the squishy balls and the coconut jelly [though its called toppings, it sinks to the bottom 😉 ]. I did not however get the distinct tea taste. But I enjoyed the drink.


My friend, who has this fetish for flower based tea, and for some crazy reasons pays a bomb for it every time, stuck to her strategy and ordered ‘Chrysantemum Pu Erh Tea’ (yeah you find it hard to read, just think how hard it was to type) from Chatime’s Oriental Pop Tea Section (RO 2.4). She loved it and said it’s the perfect drink for summer. And she is right. Chatime is the perfect way to beat the onslaught of this heat wave that’s so stubbornly embracing us here in Muscat.

No offence to my favourite Mocha Hazelnut Frappuccino at Starbucks, but this place has some really healthier yet tasty options. You get to control the amount of sugar that goes into your drink and there are plenty of non-milk based drinks as well.

Do give it a try and let me know what you think. (my brother thinks that I only write about the positives, so help me prove him wrong)

Deccan Darbar, Muscat, Can’t wait to share kind of love

Just got back from lunch and so excited to write about my date with yumminess. So let me dive right into it… coz ‘SHARING IS CARING’ 😉

Location: Deccan Darbar is located just off Ruwi high street. The lane opposite Raymonds showroom. (Thanks Fazal for the directions.)into picapproach

Our Thursday Lunch Group – We have rules: 1] we don’t share our food, 2] we don’t talk while we eat, 3] we think highly of food pairing… ALAS! we forget about all the rules as soon as we see food.

Word of Caution: Not a glitzy place, but you won’t regret a second.

What to Have: If you are going there for the first time then these are the must try dishes.

Mutton Fry: (RO 2) Heard of cooked to perfection, falling off the bone, melt in your mouth etc? Well the Mutton Fry at Deccan Darbar is all that and more. We always order an extra plate because we know one is not going to be enough.The mutton pieces are cooked perfectly, which makes it so much easy to eat. Its a bit spicy for me as I do not have a high tolerance level for green chilli. Paratha:(100 baiza 1.no) Perfect accompaniment with the Mutton Fry.



Chicken Hyderabadi: (RO1.6) For some of us, an Indian meal is not complete without curry. This is the best one to try. Cooked in true Hyderabadi style with a smoke infused flavour this rich chicken gravy is sensational.


Biryani: Tender chicken and the hidden boiled egg with perfectly dum cooked rice makes this biryani a must try.


Try it! and let me know what you think.

Contact: 24831451 / 99600291 / 95374827

Celebrating Our Sultan’s Return – A sense of belonging kind of love.

The Sultanate of Oman has given me so much. When I came to this country 3 years ago I didn’t know what to expect. My mind was blank but this beautiful country has managed to turn a blank  canvas into a colorful collage and Oman is Oman because of our Sultan, the visionary and compassionate leader His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. This post is a tribute to him, a celebration of his safe return. He is back in the country after an absence of eight months (as he was under medical care in Germany)

This morning (at work) we walked into a celebration. the nation is celebrating our Sultan’s return in many different ways and we joined the festivities with songs, speeches and of course food.




For a change food was not the hero… His Majesty Sultan Qaboos was and rightfully so. No marketing campaign, no 360 degree activation, no PR brigade… We salute the ‘father of modern Oman’, whose 45 years of reign is a living testimony to what leadership should be; what a leader should truly be!

2 States, 2 Weddings & Endless Food – A whirlwind kind of love

Trying to think of excuses as I type… Why haven’t I blogged since January?

  • I was squashed under pre-vacation work load.
  • I was busy traveling to and in India.
  • I did not always have good internet connectivity… or
  • I was so engulfed by family and extended family drama and stress, that I couldn’t even think of EATING. The last reason will and can never fly… because no matter how stressed I am, I EAT.  I eat when I am happy, I eat when I am sad and I eat because that’s what I do.

So no excuses and given the number of people who read my blog, I am sure an explanation is not due. What have I been up to? I was on a whirlwind of a vacation to India. Hopping between states and cultures in the land of diversity. Travelled from the laidback Southern part of India to the loud and colourful North. I spent a week in Kerala; devouring my mom’s yummy treats, prepared specially for me and only me (I can safely claim that as I was the only one in the house), walking down memory lane in my ancestral home, exploring my uncle’s vegetable garden and spending time with cousins at Kentucky Fried Chicken – clear sign of how easy it is for food to break cultural barriers. And not to mention attended the coming together of a beautiful bride and the most compatible groom at a family wedding and feasted on the true Kerala feast – Sadhya. mom's yummy treats

Early morning veggie hunt at my Uncle's Backyard
Early morning veggie hunt at my Uncle’s Backyard

KFC wedding south I knew I was heading to the northern part of India, when Mr. Hubster came with ‘Idlis in a Cup’. Yeah heard of Cup Noodles… well now its Cup Idlis. Tasted pretty good though for airport food. idli in a cup

Landed in Chandigarh. Was amazed at how polite and well-spoken the taxi drivers there are. And not to anyone’s surprise, while Mr. Hubster enquired about the great French architect, the mastermind behind the planned city Chandigarh, I cut in with the most pertinent question “WHATS THE BEST PLACE TO GO FOR AUTHENTIC PUNJABI FOOD”. He asked us to go to Pal Dhaba. He said, “It doesn’t have the glitz n glam of a shiny five star restaurant but the food is the best in the land”. Exactly my kind of place.

Paal Dhaba

It was just the two of us, so we ordered half butter chicken, a dish which can most definitely be called the brand ambassador of Punjab or even India. Wasn’t prepared for what arrived. The portion sizes in this land matches the heart of its people. The half portion was equivalent to two full portions elsewhere. The taste – can never have butter chicken outside Punjab again. I am ruined! And the tandoori roti, just reminiscing about it right now makes me crave for it. BUTTER CHICKEN In Punjab, and how can I say no to dessert. Headed to Gopal Sweets for Moong dal Halwa and Gulab Jammun. After quiet literally supping up all the richness of Chandigarh we went into snooze mode. DESSERT I wrapped up my trip at a big, fat Punjabi wedding. My bestie was tying the knot, post which she will be relocating from Muscat. I was welling up with the sheer thought of having to part with her and my sole solace was the juicy tangadi kebab (tandoori chicken drumstick) and the endless mouth-watering dishes on display. My friends and I without a doubt devoured every bite wedding food

The North Indian Wedding
The North Indian Wedding

Qureshi Restaurant Muscat – Melting into Submission kind of love.

The radio, the newspaper and the social media channels have been abuzz about this new restaurant Qureshi Bab al Hind, located in Muscat, Oman. My friend has been pestering me to go there but I never took the initiative as Indian restaurants tend to easily disappoint me… That’s probably because I know the flavour profiles so well.


Nevertheless we were there last night! This restaurant is actually housed inside the hotel Homruz Grand, located a few meters away from the glorious Bank Muscat building at Airport Heights, Seeb. It is on-route to the resident/labour card renewal ROP office.


As soon as I entered the porch, the high ceiling, larger than life columns and doors, the immaculate interiors, tastefully selected cutlery, velvet & leather couch, and the mesmerizing courtyard pool view, established that  I was in for a fine-dining experience; did a quick math and made peace with the fact that its going to be an over the budget dinner. Hoping and praying that it doesn’t disappoint and makes it a worthwhile experience.



We started our meal with Masala Lassi (buttermilk) and it was just perfect, not overpowering with condiments, herbs or salt. It was fresh and woke up our taste buds for the coming onslaught of complex yet divine flavours. The beverage list at Qureshi is truly special, wanted to try the Thandai but there is only this much a girl can eat 😉


The appetizer, though not fancy looking, scored high in taste. The Murgh Peshawari (chicken kebabs) were A] tandoored to perfection and B] were coated with creamy layer of  smokey marinade. The dish prepared in desi ghee (clarified butter) added oodles of richness to the soft and moist chicken. The pickled onions, carrots and veggies (a staple in most homes in Uttar Pradesh, India) as garnish was an accompaniment that elevated the dish to a whole new level.  A MUST TRY!


The Koh-e-Awadh (lamb shank) RO 11.5  made me want to cry out of joy – for it introduced me to the simple yet soulful flavours emanating from a slow-cooked dish. Famous celebrity chefs keep emphasizing the merits of a slow cooked dish, but last night I got to live it. This dish is cooked for 6 hours and this process brings out the true character of the meat. I wiped the dish clean. Don’t be deceived by the looks, this one dish can be shared between 3, even 4 if you order other stuff from the menu.


We also sampled the Warqi paratha (layered bread dressed with desi ghee). Perfect match. Most dishes here follow the authentic recipe, hence they are richly laden with butter and spices.

Please do not equate spices with spicy, as the spices played the role of the supporting cast and allowed the key ingredient to shine.

My Verdict: Splurging justified!Dinner for two with one appetizer, two refreshing drinks, one hearty main course with bread, cost us around RO 34. When you are able to gauge the quality of the food presented in front of you with just a whiff then you know you are at the right place.

Word of Caution: The restaurant is in its debut phase, thus don’t expect the service to roll out like a well-oiled machine – but like me, you will forget that and melt into submission after devouring the dishes that represent the passion of the chefs and the soul of Awadhi cuisine.


Semsom Restaurant, Muscat – Expect the Unexpected Kind of Love


Semsom is the newest addition to the Sultanate’s restaurant scene with a promise of delivering “Lebanese Cuisine with a Twist”. So I visited this restaurant to explore the offerings; And… did it live up to its promise? A HUNDRED PERCENT!

Don’t you just love it when restaurants can walk the talk… the promised twist, was not only delivered but it was done in excitingly unexpected ways. The magic of Semsom lies in its ability to surprise your senses like never before! It is about doing a hundred little things right. Its about truly taking us on a culinary voyage.

Semsom Interiors

The Hummus Trio

When the notoriously famous pink hummus (RO 2.1) was placed in front of me; my eyes instantaneously started feasting; followed shortly by my taste buds that went on a merry discovery ride. The tanginess from the sumac powder (tart red berries) and the freshness from the zaatar (thyme) blended in perfect unison with the creamy chickpeas. Drizzle some Olive oil (imported from Lebanon) over the hummus if you find the dip a bit too tart. (please note: I have been told tart n tangy are the predominant flavours in Lebanese cuisine)

Hummus Trio

 The olive & sesame hummus (RO 2.1) was another personal favourite. Do sample this one and enjoy the delicate flavour profiles. It Is a must try.

Next on the menu was the hot appetizer chicken liver. I honestly liked this dish. It was hearty, tasty, packed with flavour and a richness, which I was not expecting at all. It’s not a dish you would find everywhere and it definitely is not a dish that everyone can get right. But Semsom does. They Nailed It!

Chicken Liver

Moving on… the Lamb Bread (Lahm b’Ajine RO 2.3)… I ate not one, not two but three slices… Do I need to say more???? The pastry was soft, the meat succulent and packed with oodles of fresh-burst in your mouth flavours.


The next dish is one of the Semsom favourites Fish Kebbeh (RO 2.9) – Apt for fish lovers and the not so enthusiastic seafood diners. Put your cutlery down, scoop up the mini parcels, bite into it and sup up the oozing sensationally juicy caramelized onions. For a second you might think there is nothing fishy about this dish, you are not hit by the clichéd ‘taste of the sea’. The flavours are masked and you unlayer it as you work your way through the crust, which is a dough made with fish and burgol mixture. Expected? Nah…totally Unexpected!

Fish Pockets

Now comes the big daddy of grills. Mixed Grills (RO 6.5) This was a true treat, a peek-a-boo kind of dish, as the succulent chicken grills were kept hidden by the colourful and tempting bread. Once the veil of bread was lifted, our curiosity was rendered speechless with the sheer sight of lined rows of grilled meat and chicken. Needless to say, I broke into an invisible happy dance. Grilled to Perfection.


It’s Dessert Time!

I generally brace myself as desserts are really hard for any restaurant. You either get it right or you don’t. There is no midway here. Just look at the pictures below, I am sure it speaks for itself. If it doesn’t speak to you, then read the captions.

Lebanese Pannacotta – Mhallabieh

Only legends can come up with something as yummy as this. This dish is special, as it is the owner’s grandma’s recipe. Cannot get more authentic than that. Do you know what orange blossom water tastes like? If not you don’t know what you are missing! And now you know where to find it.

dessert 1
Strawberry Pannacotta – Mhallabieh (R0 2.2)

dessert 2
Apricot Pannacotta – Mhallabieh Apricot (RO2.2)

Desserts are incomplete without a whiff of chocolate for some, hence this version of chocolate ice-cream with crispy flavoured vermicelli will truly leave you in a choco trance.


dessert tray

I nearly forgot, and that would have been a crime! Jelab – try this drink, it is a must, must must… (did I mention MUST) try… I think this could possibly  be the drink of the Lebanese Gods! The floating pistachio and pine nuts make for excellent munchies after you slurp up the sweet, rose water flavoured ambrosia.



My verdict: A must try, leave all  food prejudices aside and surrender yourself to the Semsom kitchen. The passionate owner Christine has made sure that you will be taken care of just as if you were a guest in her own home.

As they say in Lebanon 1000 Sahtein!

Semsom Restaurant, Location: Level 1, Muscat Grand Mall, Website, Facebook

collage semson