From the outside, 1947 looks like quite a fancy dining spot thanks to a chic black-and-white logo, wooden carvings and lighting that helps to liven up the ambience.
Inside, I found that the black theme continues with dark blinds, black wooden benches and walls painted in a similarly dark shade. To break the monotony, there are pictures of some Indian freedom fighters on the wall as well as newspapers from August 15, 1947, the day India gained independence from British rule.
With a name like 1947, this strong independence theme was expected, but what did surpise me was the number of people in the restaurant. Almost all the tables were full, but thankfully we were able to locate a vacant space. We quickly settled ourselves down and I couldn’t help but notice that a large line formed in barely any time at all.
Looking around, I soon noticed that this was a south Indian restaurant, which I hadn’t previously known. I was able to tell this by a quick glance at the kind of food being served up at the different tables and a look at the clientele, who were mostly from the south of India.
Our waiter was a friendly youngster who was dressed in a black shirt and white skinny trousers, topped with a white cap. He reminded me a little of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister.
After browsing through the menu, we settled on the “chicken 65” and fish tikka for the starters, and chicken tikka masala and paneer qorma for our mains.
After the orders were placed, the anticipation began. Both my dining partner and I were both incredibly hungry and looking forward to the food we had selected.
Everything took quite a while to arrive and we both got a little bored, our eyes wandering to the various photos on display around the restaurant, which offered an insight into India’s past. From where I was sitting I could see Dr B R Ambedkar, a well-known social reformer, and Sarojini Naidu, an independence activist known as “The Nightingale of India”.
I then looked at the tablecloths, which had the newspapers from August 15, 1947, printed on them. It was a unique way to decorate a restaurant, but it failed to inspire my patriotism, perhaps down to the heavy use of dark shades throughout. Ater all, independence is supposed to be a happy event.
The arrival of our food interupted my thoughts and at first glance, everything looked good. I started with the chicken 65 and my friend started with her fish tikka. While I was munching on the tiny pieces of fried chicken, I figured they were nice and tender, but was surprised with a little bone that I felt while biting one piece. The flavour of the chicken was distinctive, but the whole dish used more oil than I am usually accustomed to. My friend, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy her fish tikka and said it was nice.
We soon moved to the mains and although I initially liked the flavour of the chicken tikka masala, I couldn’t eat much, again because of the oil, which made the dish no more appetising than the starter.
Unfortunately, the same fate befell the paneer qorma. Although I initially liked it, I became increasingly put off because of the oil content. I must admit that both were cooked well, but didn’t particularly suit my taste.
Towards the end of our meal, we ordered gajar ka halwa (carrot halwa) for dessert and really enjoyed it. Cooked to perfection, it was bursting with deliciously sweet flavours.
If I go back again, I would like to see a more diverse menu and a more cheerful setting that better reflects the feelings and emotions that surround our Independence Day. I also wouldn’t mind some patriotic Indian songs to create an even better mood.
Nice idea, but the food needs work.
Al Ghubra, behind Oman Arab Bank HQ
Tel: 9224 1112
Opening Hours: Daily from 12.30pm-3pm (lunch) 7pm-12am (dinner)
Dinner for two: RO11.2