Mamasan has all the key elements to make it an exquisite dining option, says Alvin Thomas. If you can find it, that is.
As a resident of Oman for 12 years, I’ve learned to enjoy the various luxuries provided by the quiet, yet happening small suburb of Azaiba. But, when I was asked to try out Mamasan restaurant in my locality, I was left asking my colleagues about its location. I had no clue as to its whereabouts.
In the end, I had to resort to Google Maps to pinpoint the location. Even that took me 30 minutes.
All I needed now was a dining companion. And volunteering, without much drama, was my brother who had just flown in from Bengaluru, India. I saw it as a good opportunity for some sibling bonding.
Armed with our GPS, we skipped the option of taking a taxi and walked there instead. Twenty minutes later, there it was, hiding behind Costa Coffee at the Al Assalah Towers in Azaiba.
If you didn’t know where it was, you would struggle to find it, which is a problem.
Heading inside, we noticed a large dining space. Almost immediately, we were shown to our seats. The staff were extremely polite and friendly. The waiter even seated us at a table for four because we told him we were planning to indulge ourselves.
The overall ambience was comforting and it’s evident that everything inside was designed to be pleasing on the eye.
There’s even ample space for large families. And if you’re not a fan of Oriental fare, Mamasan’s sister restaurant, Trattoria, will also serve you Italian cuisine at your table.
Mamasan’s menu isn’t cluttered. The options are quite clear. You get a choice of duck, chicken, fish or vegetables. And my younger brother, being who he is, took the upper hand in the selection. Five minutes of squabbling later, we decided on a portion of Cantonese crispy seafood springrolls.
Almost immediately, we were served a plate of prawn crackers with a side of sweet and spicy sauces, on the house. The crackers were very moreish, with just the right amount of flavour. The sauces were delightful, too. But the spicy sauce meant we were soon squirming in our seats.
We decided to wash it all down with glasses of fruit cocktail, which I didn’t really care for; it tasted a bit too orangey. So when our seafood spring rolls arrived, we gorged ourselves.
Wrapped in the rolls were fresh, boiled shrimps, stuffed with carrots and cabbage. They had just the right amount of crispness
We decided to keep our main course simple: stir-fried beef and hammour, with a side of chicken fried rice.
We were served our dishes in less than 15 minutes, which was impressive. My favourite was the hammour. I liked the way the chef captured the flavour of the fish, without dousing it in too much schezwan sauce, like so many others do.
Even the beef, which was dipped in oyster sauce and black pepper, was scrumptious. Garnished with carrots and capsicum, I felt as if I could have had another serving but the portions were generous for two adults.
Our fried rice was also perfectly steamed and cooked. The chicken cubes were melt-in-the-mouth soft and the vegetables were fresh.
However, the waiter told us that the restaurant was famous for its duck and that we should try it on our next visit. Then, we asked him to show us the dessert menu.
In a flash, he had a menu ready for us. But I noticed that the menu wasn’t from Mamasan, but Trattoria. This is because Mamasan does not serve puddings. We quickly got ourselves together and asked if we could head out to the live dessert counter in Trattoria.
Once there, the counter boasted pastries and ice creams. I quickly ordered a strawberry cheesecake and my brother, a slice of chocolate truffle. We were told that our pastries would take a while to be served so we returned to our chairs.
Both the pastries were garnished in chocolate sauce and tasted brilliant. The cheesecake, with its crumbly, crunchy, nutty base and consistent cheese was the winner here. I quickly declared that this was the best cheesecake I had ever had, as my brother looked on in envy.
By now we were stuffed. So, the waiter quickly got our bill ready.
Everything about Mamasan oozes quality, from the engaging staff to the pleasant ambience. But, as they say, “all good things come to an end”. So I thanked the staff and the chef for a delightful evening and promised to be back.
Mamasan isn’t an everyday dining option as it’s where you would go for a treat. But it sure is worth every penny.
For instance, it’s been a few days since I had that cheesecake. And writing this review makes me miss it even more.
Behind Costa, at the Al Assalah Towers (Saud Bahwan Plaza), Al Ghubra.
Tel: 2421 0452 (bookings and takeaways)
Opening Hours: 8.30am – 11pm
Price: RO29.4 (two people)
9 / 10 Service
8 / 10 Food
9 / 10 Ambience
Excellent food with great portions complemented by friendly staff
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