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’.

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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.

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

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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.

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salad

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

us
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.

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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.

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

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Try it! and let me know what you think.

Contact: 24831451 / 99600291 / 95374827

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

Semsom Restaurant, Muscat – Expect the Unexpected Kind of Love

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

jelab
Jelab

 

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

Merry Christmas with Buffalo Wings and Rings, Muscat

HO HO HO said a happy me after a merry meal at the cathedral for chicken wings in Muscat – Buffalo Wings and Rings is a must must must try.

Location: Al Saruj, opposite Fat Burger or Al Masa Mall. Facebook Page For Reservation contact: +968 9393 1931

Bufallo Wings and Rings Menu

I love places that have wacky, word play and colourful interiors… and if the quality of the food matches with the word play then nothing like it… This eating joint has got it right.

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We ordered the traditional wings in sweet barbecue sauce and another order of the same in mid-hot sauce. To my palate mild, wasn’t spicy at all, I enjoyed it though… so the spice adventurists out there… totally accept the restaurant’s ‘atomic sauce’ dare.

ACCORDING TO THE RESTAURANT “Table Manners are strongly discouraged” SO JUST DIVE IN!

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Traditional Wings barbecue sauce
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Traditional Wings Mild Hot Sauce
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Hand Breaded Onion Rings

Great food served by great people makes the experience thoroughly enjoyably. The staff is friendly and very well trained.

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Do respect the tradition called buffalo wings… Do not expect an Indian fiesta, Omani hearty dinner or Italian glitz as Buffalo wings is about sitting down and devouring saucy pieces of fried, crunchy, juicy  and bite-size goodness.

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The restaurants ‘CROWD CONTROL’ offering is perfect for large groups of (6-10, 12-16, 18-24). But only concern is their drink ratio doesn’t match. We went in for the 6-10 option but got only 4 glasses of coal. Probably something the restaurant should look into. Or probably I got my math wrong because of the wingy trance I was in.

Image stolen from BWR Menu
Image stolen from BWR Menu

The restaurant’s menu does boast of some other hits such as the Nachos Supreme – a dish packed with melted cheddar cheese, a spalsh of sour cream and stuffed with tex-mex chili olives and what not.

Nachos Supreme
Nachos Supreme
Veggie Quesadilla
Veggie Quesadilla
happy pics
Photo Courtesy: Food wingman and Happy trooper Fazal Mohammed Ajmal

Bon Appetit and let me know what you think!

Omanis love their BBQ & I love them for that!

I simply adore the outdoors and with places like Wadi Al Arabieen, Oman has casts a hypnotic spell on me… Fine… I confess, it is hypnotic because good food is part of every experience here.

Nothing in Oman is complete without food and that’s just the way I like it.

During the most recent long weekend, my friends and I decided to go back to the basics. We went camping to this place called Wadi Al Arabieen to enjoy the sights and devour the meat(z). I love going camping with my local friends as they are so adept with the ways of enjoying and making the most out of the outdoors and available resources.

Step 1: Preparing for the trip, which meant shopping for supplies (charcoal, lighting fuel, grills, skewers and of course an arsenal full of meat, veggies and more food)

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Step 2: Stopping for Ice (food has to be kept fresh no matter what)

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They... hard at work!
They… hard at work!

Step 3: Getting to Wadi Al Arabieen

On the way to Sur,  take the right turn where the road sign says Wadi Al Arabieen. For more details and visual treats of the location visit the Oman Tripper website, For tummy treats continue reading.

Step 4: Scan the scene and take in the vistas

Step 5: Now comes the fun part. Start the food prep.

I guess you are wondering, where the hell are the food pics… I want to insert them right away… please do wait a bit more.

First we dig the hole place the coal and collect from dried grass and then start the fire!
First we dig the hole, then place the coal and collect dried grass and then start the fire! – Only if it was as simple as that!

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corn and onion
corn and onion

Last Step: Sit together and enjoy the meat, flavored with a dash of fresh air and a sprinkle of nature. Look at the food shots below, don’t they look restaurant quality and believe me, the bbq chicken tastes so much better than what we get served at some of the restaurants.

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AND I HAVE TO MENTION THIS. LOVE FOOD BUT RESPECT NATURE. 

Cleaning up.. helps burn off the extra calories as well
Cleaning up.. helps burn off the extra calories as well

Please do not forget to clean up before leaving. There is something magical about unspoiled beauty.  Let the explorers and food nerds after you enjoy the space as much as you did.

List of inspiring must watch movies for food lovers

This space – ‘foodishlyinlove’, that I call my own, is probably the first step that I have taken on a journey towards an unclear yet exciting destination 😉

Successful people… correction, Happy People, generally tell us that the secret lies in following your heart and doing what you love. I understand that but the question is how do you know what is it that you love? And when you do know, how do you turn your love into a successful action?

Does the answer lie in finding the INSPIRATION? 

So this is what I have been up to the past 2 days of my 4 day, ‘Oman National Day Long Weekend’.

I believe these are the must watch movies for food lovers.
These movies are compelling enough to silence the critical thinker in you and wake up the doer. I have watched some of them earlier, but just like an interesting book, some scenes, some dialogues, some exchanges resonates more now than ever before.

Eat. Pray. Love

Takeaway from the movie:

Simplicity might sound simple but sometimes comes packed in a box of complications.

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Image licensed under creative commons Fab738

I love this movie because it is real, transitional and does not show the protagonist as the symbol of perfection. We all make mistakes but the society is hellbent on professing perfection, which according to me is a major detriment for those who are like me – Reactive yet clueless. When great minds Director Rayn Murphy, Producer Brad Pitt et al. collaborate with great artists Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem we get sometime like Eat. Pray. Love.

Julie and Julia 

Takeaway from the movie:

Find your inspiration yourself.

Julie and Julia
Image licensed under creative commons Kaleb Fulgham

We all need to find out inspiration to be happy in life. I have met so many achievers growing up. Most of them were self driven, I for one never found my drive. So for people like me, we have to consciously go around looking for the one thing that inspires us enough to get off our asses and do something.

Next on the list:

Chocolat

Chef – Director Jon Favreu, Actor – Robert Downery Jr.

The Lunchbox (An India movie)

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Iran (not a movie, but reality)

Oman’s love affair with Karak Chai

Many a times I have driven past these hole-in-the-wall eating joints with ‘Karak Chai’ written in bold, never to be missed font size. From past experience, I know for a fact that these places tend to be a treasure trove of flavours.

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Another Tea joint in Al Khuwair, Muscat, Oman
Another Tea joint in Al Khuwair, Muscat, Oman

I always start my weekends with a hot cup of tea, true Indian style. Not doing so depresses me to the core.

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My friends and I stayed over at my Omani friends place on one of the weekend and I was craving for my morning cup of chai. That’s when they introduced to me the world of Karak Chai.

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A hole-in-the-wall store that serves more than 10 different types of tea, made with tea leaves and flavouring of our choice. Saffron tea, mint tea, ginger tea, cardamom tea so on and so forth.

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‘Karak chai’ is derived from the Indian chai called ‘Kadak Chai’. The latter is very different from the English tea and tastes splendid and has an international fan following. It came to Oman from India and is yet another example of the historic camaraderie between the two nations. Omanis, fondly rechristened it as Karak.

Enough of the history. Next time you visit Oman, or if you live here and drive past this joint. Stop and enjoy the tea of your choice. You also get a tasty snack here that goes by the Omani name Rakhel and is a crepe like snack. It also resembles the south Indian delight Dosa.

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with honey & cheeese

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with egg and cheese
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with Oman Potato Chips & Cheese

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5 Must try dishes in oman

It’s not necessary to love everything about everyone we meet, right? Similarly when we go to a restaurant we need not like all of it. It might Be a tantalising main course or an absolutely glutinous dish that catches your fancy.

Here is a list of dishes found in muscat restaurants that are a must try according to me.

Murgh Musallam @ Fusion restaurant
MBD Area Ruwi

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Patthar Ghost (lamb) Shalimar Restaurant
Al Khuwair, Backside of KFC, opp Al Amal Medical

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Vegetarian Cannoli Darcy’s Kitchen
MQ , Jawharat Shatti

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Labneh and honey fatayer – Turkish House Al Khuwair

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Karak Saffron Chai, Tea House Al Khuwair

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Let me know if anything entices you enough that it makes you want to know the direction