Deep in the heart of Muscat is a unique restaurant with an exotic ambience that makes it great for kids, writes Deeba Hasan
Approaching The Jungle restaurant on foot, you begin to hear cries of wild animals and thunder at different intervals. When you step inside, everything comes alive. The Jungle really is a jungle, lit with greens and browns, while a light tropical downpour surprised us a few steps in. We didn’t mind, though; it made a refreshing change to the humidity of Muscat.
Once we had passed through this “jungle”, we entered the dining area, where the theme continues. The surroundings were a mix of earthy textures and Aztec-like patterns that combine to create a distinctively beautiful interior.
A waitress greeted us a few seconds after we entered and settled us at a table for three, promptly providing us with menus. On inspection, I noticed the theme extended to the menu with very jungle-like subheadings such as “Tribal Feast”, “The Hunters”, “The Gatherers” and a “Junior Explorer” menu.
We took our time looking over the menu and eventually decided to go with a paneer tikka to start, The Jungle grill, which is big enough for two, and a pasta dish from the Junior Explorer menu for the mains. The drinks menu was also full of fruity concoctions and we ordered a coconut cooler, pomegranate slush and water.
While we waited for the food to arrive (it took a while) my friend and I further assessed the décor of the restaurant while my little brother ran back to his favourite part, the artificial jungle near the entrance. The theme has been well thought out and infiltrates even the smallest aspects of the restaurant. I noticed that there were quite a few families already dining and another one had just entered. The place was not packed, though, which was a good thing.
Our food came about 20 minutes later, with the paneer tikka served on a plate with three cubes of cottage cheese grilled on a skewer. The cubes were nice and soft and were complemented by three types of chutney, which made for a pleasingly tangy accompaniment. All in all, it was quite delicious.
Just as we were finishing, my brother came back. His clothes were wet and it wasn’t hard to guess what he had been up to. He told me he wanted to have his food in the “jungle” and not in the dining hall, but the arrival of his pasta convinced him otherwise. Our drinks arrived soon after (slightly late) and my coconut cooler was refreshing and delicious, with strong flavours of pineapple, orange and coconut coming through.
While my brother was busy guzzling down his pasta, our grill arrived. There was chicken, lamb and fish on the skewers and it came with some rice and a salad on the side. I served some rice onto my plate and started having it with the chicken. It was only after a while that I realised the rice was a bit hard – perhaps slightly underdone – and so I ignored it from then on. The meat, on the other hand, was tender and well cooked. The lamb was beautifully marinated and the chicken was mildly spiced, although it could’ve done with a pinch more in my opinion. The fish was also nice, but I’m not too keen on seafood.
We ordered the molten chocolate cake for dessert and it was almost too good to be true. It was an amazing melt-in-the-mouth creation, with warm chocolate syrup oozing out and some delicious vanilla ice cream on the side to balance the sweetness of the chocolate. It took the three of us less than two minutes to polish it off.
After we’d finished our meal, my brother wandered off again and returned to tell us how much he liked the restaurant. I think the themed concept of The Jungle makes it a great place for children and families, with an ambience unlike any other on offer in Muscat.
We later asked for the bill, paid and left through the same rainforest we had entered from. This time around, the light showers didn’t surprise us, although they got my hair and clothes slightly wet.
If you have children, or are just looking to eat at an unusual restaurant, The Jungle is definitely worth a try. Everyone who visits should make a point of cherishing the amazing rainforest experience; after all, it’s not every day you get the chance to walk through a jungle in Oman.
8.5 / 10 Service
7 / 10 Food
9 / 10 Ambience
Beautiful ambience, attentive staff, food needs slight improvement
Al Qurum, between Qurum Natural Park and Fun Zone
Tel: +968 9569 0658
Monday to Sunday 11am-11pm
Dinner for two adults, one child: RO23.1
Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals