Have you ever had that feeling when you walk into a café or restaurant and you just know it’s going to be a great, all-round experience? Well, that’s exactly what happened to us on a recent visit to The Crafty Kitchen in MSQ.
Tucked away towards the back of Al Noor Plaza, I have to say that my only regret is that I’d not been there sooner. But better late than never, as they say.
We had a busy Saturday afternoon lined up and not much time to spare for lunch, so as we headed into the café I was a little worried that it might take longer than I’d anticipated, especially as there were quite a few tables already filled.
We were greeted by a very friendly waiter and given a choice of a couple of tables. The menus came shortly after we were seated – one for food, the other for drinks – and turned out to be a feast for the eyes, with a range of dishes jostling for our attention, from eggs Benedict with smoked salmon to delicious sounding salads, an all-day breakfast menu, hand-made pastas and sandwiches, just to name a few. So far, so good.
I was having difficulty deciding between the eggs Benedict and the oak-smoked chicken sandwich, while Miss 12, aka Cia, had her heart set on the French toast. My love of a good sandwich meant that I ended up plumping for the chicken sandwich, which I chose to have grilled. For drinks, I stuck to my usual water and Cia ordered the freshly squeezed green apple juice.
Some of you may think that our choices were a bit boring and unadventurous, but sometimes you have to admit that quality over quantity is an essential element when it comes to a quick bite to eat when there’s half a dozen errands to also run.
Orders taken, we were free to cast our eyes about the fresh, breezy dining space. The quirky pictures on the wall are a fun touch, while there’s a chic mix of vintage and French influences. Tables were quickly filling with the lunch crowd and the room was filled with happy chatter as diners drank their organic coffees, exotic teas and tucked into a delightful array of food, including rich pastries and desserts.
But back to our lunch.
Our drinks came quickly, while our meals followed shortly after. My oak-smoked chicken sandwich came with a sumptuous herb cream, crunchy lettuce and crispy cucumber. On the side was The Crafty Kitchen’s famed rainbow salad, a deliciously earthy combination of beetroot, flat leaf parsley and (I think) pumpkin and a scattering of lentils to add texture.
Cia’s French toast was hit – not too sweet, it was paired with a fresh berry compote and had an arty smattering of syrup and icing sugar around the plate. The two large slices of freshly baked challah bread were light and fluffy, and perfectly cooked. My sandwich was also delicious, with the warm bread intensifying the flavour of the subtly smoked chicken, while the herb cream added a richness to it.
Unfortunately, we are not the biggest eaters around, so pulled out the white flag in surrender just over halfway through our meals. The waitress was so concerned that she asked if we didn’t like it. We assured her that it was delicious and it was only because we were full that we’d stopped eating.
This meant, of course, that there was also no room for dessert – and not even the suggestion of a muffin to take away for later in the afternoon could tempt Cia. But that’s ok. There’s so many tempting choices – both savoury and sweet – not to mention a full afternoon tea, that I know we will be back very soon.
And next time, we’ll keep our afternoon free to ensure that we can linger over our meals and enjoy one of those gorgeous teas.
9 / 10 Service
8 / 10 Food
9/ 10 Ambience
A hidden gem that offers great food and friendly, efficient service
The Crafty Kitchen
Al Noor Plaza – Madinat Sultan Qaboos, Muscat
Tel: 2469 6660
Opening hours: 7am-8pm daily
Lunch and drinks for two: RO8.4
Y Magazine reviews anonymously and pays for its meals