It’s in a great location, but will Rajas Masala’s food and service meet expectations? Deeba Hasan finds out
It’s not often that I walk to dinner. I usually prefer to drive somewhere reasonably nearby but a decent car journey away. This time, however, I decided to try somewhere a little closer to home. We didn’t have to go far to reach Rajas Masala Restaurant & Lounge. Three minutes by gentle stroll to be exact.
With an enviable location in the Central Business District of Ruwi, Rajas Masala should be heaving with trade. When we turned up on a Saturday night at 9.50pm though, there was no one inside, just a lone cashier sitting in a corner of the lounge area. Mind you it was late, so perhaps everyone else had already been and gone.
My friend and I went upstairs to the restaurant area and settled comfortably on a table. It was then that we noticed we were not alone, as a family was dining behind us. We hadn’t been sat down long when the cashier from downstairs appeared to hand us menus. Clearly, he doubles up as the waiter too.
After a good browse, we decided to share a plate of chicken tikka for a starter, opting for the paneer makhni (cubes of cottage cheese cooked in gravy and butter), Mutton Masala and a mixed bread basket with four different breads for mains. Having also made up our mind on dessert, we ordered those too – gajar halwa (a carrot dessert) and gulab jamun (golden brown dumplings in sugar syrup).
Ordering over, I had time to take a good look around. With blue, purple and yellow lights, the restaurant was dimly lit, which suited me just fine. The tables were spaced at a good distance from each other, giving diners privacy and plenty of room to move around.
My thoughts were interrupted when the cashier-come-waiter turned up with chutneys and a plate of salad for our table. I wasn’t greatly impressed with the presentation, but it was decent enough – nothing to complain about.
Our starters came immediately after the family was given their bill by the same waiter, whose name I later learnt was Sarfaraz. I absolutely loved the juicy pieces of chicken tikka, which were cooked to perfection, with the flavour brought out by generous helpings of green chutney, grated carrot and onion.
We quickly finished the starters and waited for the main course, which took around five or six minutes. I enjoyed the paneer makhni, but was a little disappointed because there were very few actual paneer cubes in the thick gravy. The cubes that were present were cooked very well, but a few more would have enhanced it.
I tried some of my friend’s mutton masala, which also seemed fine. I’m not a huge fan of mutton but the gravy was good and it wasn’t too spicy or salty. Though there was nothing exceptional about our meals, we were both enjoying them.
My favourite from the mixed bread basket was the paratha, which actually looked more like butter naan. It was warm, slightly crispy, glazed with butter and tasted great with the mains. It was so good that I could’ve happily munched away on that without anything else.
The chapatti on the other hand wasn’t great. It had a slightly strange smell, and at 300 baisas for a small serving, was overpriced in my view.
After the mains were cleared away, I was still hungry and eager for the next course. Thankfully, Sarfaraz soon returned with our desserts. I expected my gulab jamun to be warm, but they were a little cool, which didn’t matter that much to me. The four small dumplings with the sugar syrup were tasty and not too sweet.
The food was quite good, the service was fine and with plenty of people living nearby, it’s in a good spot. Perhaps Rajas Masala merely suffers from the predisposition of diners to travel further afield for their food.
As for me, I would probably go back sometime soon if I was hungry and didn’t want to drive. I just hope that Sarfaraz, the cashier and/or waiter, has other staff to help when it
8/ 10 Service
7 / 10 Food
7.5 / 10 Ambience
Good service and
ambience, food okay
Rajas Masala Restaurant & Lounge
Central Business District, Ruwi, Muscat
Tel: 2470 7043
Opening Hours: Sun-Thurs:
Fri and Sat: 6pm-11pm
Dinner for two: RO13
Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals