Seafood lover Alvin Thomas checks out an eatery that recalls the piscine pleasures of his Keralite upbringing.
There are three reasons why I love Oman: one, the hospitality of the citizens; two, the sheer serenity and tranquility of the landscape; and three, (believe it or not) the availability of good seafood in and around the capital.
You see, while the first two features are exclusive to the Sultanate, the latter is something prevalent across various places – including the state of Kerala, in India, where I hail from.
So, when I say that I’m a good judge of good seafood, I mean it. For long, however – about a year or so now – I had been eager to dine in a worthy seafood restaurant; someplace Y had never been to before.
The inauguration of ‘Bahriyat’ – a maritime-themed seafood eatery – in the Grand Millennium Muscat, in Baushar, this week, was good news to me. So, without any haste, I headed there.
The inside of the restaurant is very much in-line with the poshness of the hotel; it’s very grand and definitely made a charming impression on me.
Various nautical colours (shades of blue and rusted brown) adorn the interior. The colours are also broken up by the bright candles, placed on my table. But, the overall aura of the place is lovely.
Surprisingly, I noticed a 12-seater Captain’s Table in one corner of the restaurant – reminiscent of Jack Sparrow’s chief chair from the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
I thought hard to scooch there but felt it unnecessary since the waiter had already handed me my menu and poured me my drink.
The menu is elaborate with plenty of options for the discerning seafood lover, starting with two soup options, and a wealth of salads and dishes for the main course.
I quickly opted for a serving of harees lobster soup, and a platter of ‘Classic Trio’, which comprises of a kasha salad, dried shark salad and calamari salad, to kick things off.
It only took a few minutes but everything was crispy and fresh: the harees lobster soup was enchanting; the consistency was perfect and the lobster fresh and melt-in-the-mouth tender. The chef had also added a touch of lemon, which escalated the overall taste-factor of the soup.
The salads were nice, too, and the bread that was served along with the salad, fresh. My pick from the lot would be the calamari – it was succulent without being overly pungent.
Next, I opted for a grilled seafood platter and a side of Omani-style salmon.
The dishes arrived in a little over 15-minutes and were delightfully served up in beautiful oyster-shaped plates. I loved the quirky design: it was thoughtful and elegant.
The grilled seafood platter, which I dug into, is perfect for two people (!) as it comes with a serving of tuna, salmon, (monstrous) prawns and cuttlefish.
The star of the day, however, was the prawns, which were grilled and garnished to perfection.
Simple words cannot describe how scrumptious it all was. Meanwhile, the Omani-style salmon was just as good, if not better.
It also came with a side of basmati rice. Pointless, I thought, because the salmon on its own was delightful and flawless.
The fish was tender to the touch, and I had a hard time setting it on my fork. But, it was all worth the effort, as the salmon was doused in flavours.
This is probably what food bloggers intended when they coined the term “foodgasm”.
In the end, I ordered a plate of cheese kunafa – one of my favourite puddings.
Crafted in white cheese, rich semolina pastry and soaked in sweet rosewater syrup, the kunafa – like all dishes I had indulged in – was luscious. But, I was stuffed, and couldn’t have any more. So, I had to end my dinner, replete and fulfilled.
In all, I was very happy with my dining experience at Bahriyat.
It’s something that the setting at Baushar has been missing for a very long time; an affordable, yet classy seafood restaurant that can satisfy the needs of the discerning fish lover.
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Exceptionally tasty seafood and a service to match.