It’s the sweetest feeling when you find a place that caters to your favourite food. Just be careful not to overindulge, says Kate Ginn
There’s an old saying that you should never work with children or animals, an adage that I’ve often found to be true. For the purposes of this particular Taste Test, however, I needed to take a diner with me who would truly appreciate the food on offer and I knew just the young gourmand who would fit the bill – Y’s managing editor’s 11-year-old daughter, Cia. Now Cia and I have bonded over a love of all things sweet, be it chocolate, waffles or sickly milkshakes and I had an inkling that she would enjoy a café specialising in serving crêpes and all manner of associated food items (think waffles, French toast and pancakes).
I knew I was on to a winner when Cia said the menu looked “awesome”, a description reserved for anything that is or looks like the best thing in the world. The same word is used to describe the boy band One Direction. First launched by French-Australian entreprenerus in Australia in 2001, The Crêpe Café crossed the water to the Middle East in 2007. As with most franchises, you pretty much know what you’re getting and there are no surprises in store, which can be a good and bad thing. In this case though, the menu does apparently vary from country-to-country. The store at The Wave is the second branch in Muscat and can be found along the pedestrian boulevard just down from the marina. You don’t get sea views, but you can eat al fresco. Little madam, opted for inside though, which, being empty when we arrived, was slightly devoid of atmosphere.
Despite the name, The Crêpe Café doesn’t limit itself to the aforementioned food and the choice stretched to omelettes, French sandwiches and salads.
But Cia and I were there to eat crêpes and nothing else would do. After some deliberation we opted for Aussie Sunrise for me (under the Breakfast heading) and the Quesadilla crêpe for Cia (from the Poultry section – there’s also Vegetarian and Beef). I chose mine simply based on a photo from the menu, a sun-like golden fried egg resting atop a crepe framed by two strategically positioned chives. It came minus the chives but was nonetheless excellent, with a creamy cheese and mushroom filling and a bright orange yolk, which slid across the crêpe like eggy lava when broken. The crêpe itself was well cooked and just the right consistency. Mademoiselle across the table was tucking into a mammoth Quesadilla topped with sour cream, guacamole and tomato salsa. Quesadilla’s are one of Cia’s favourite foods, but she struggled with the size of this dish and pronounced it as only “alright”, which is not “awesome”, but isn’t too bad on her ratings scale either. The hot chocolate was better received, described as being like “drinking a chocolate bar”.
The waiters were quick and efficient, if a little underwhelming in the conversation department. You don’t want your server to be your new best friend, but a little bit of chat to pass the time wouldn’t go amiss. The ethos of The Crêpe Café is, according to its website, to be an elegant, fast casual cafe. It’s certainly fast food; we didn’t have to wait long until our sweet crêpes arrived.
To be honest, the dessert part of the meal is the main reason that Cia and I were there, particularly me with my exceptionally sweet tooth. And boy did they have some sweet treats, from plain sugar crêpes to maple syrup and Kinder chocolate to banana caramel, there was something for everyone’s taste. I dithered. Cia dithered. We just couldn’t decide. Cia flitted between the Creme Dessert Crêpe and the Carnival, switching between the two like young girls do with boy bands.
After all that angst her eventual choice, the Creme Dessert, wasn’t available and the Carnival proved a bit of a letdown, or “boring”, being only chopped up strawberries and bananas, vanilla syrup and whipped cream with ice cream. I couldn’t decide either so ended up gong for both the ones I was looking at, purely for research purposes of course. The Nutella Delight was just that, wonderfully over the top with Nutella, hazelnuts, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and ice cream, but the Peanut Butter & Jam was too much even for me. The cloying syrupy taste had my sweetmeter swinging off the scale and I could only manage a few mouthfuls, let alone the extra portion of Nutella I had rather optimistically ordered on the side.
We left full and reasonably happy. The Crêpe Café didn’t blow me away, but it didn’t disappoint either. If I’m hungry and passing by, I would drop in again – though the Peanut Butter & Jam would definitely be off my menu.
Crêpe Café, The Wave, Muscat
Lunch for two plus drinks: RO21.6
7 / 10 Service
7 / 10 Food
7 / 10 Ambience
Flipping nice, but all round average
Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals