Meal for four at less than RO30 at a place that delivers on all fronts. Soup-happy and fish-wise, but Alvin Thomas sounds a bread alert.
The word ‘procrastination’ is one that I hold quite close to my heart. As a matter of fact, if I were to write about myself (which I probably will never do), it would be on the forefront of words that I would use to describe myself. But, of course, something of that sort would be for another day. Pun intended.
Keeping in line with that, I must point out that during one of my outings earlier this year with my friends, I came across a new hotel – Centara. Situated just off the Sultan Qaboos highway (in Ghala), it seemed like the perfect location for a breakfast or a lavish dinner.
But, due to our schedule, we couldn’t quite stop by the restaurant in the hotel. And ever since that day, I had been putting away visiting the restaurant; laziness really did get the better of me… until now.
I headed there – after months of procrastination – for a spot of dinner with my family, last week. The restaurant – Tiptara – which is on the ground floor was our point of interest.
Surprisingly, we were the only ones in the restaurant at that time (6pm) and made ourselves comfortable in one corner.
The waitress then handed us our menus.
The menu itself is quite small, but she promised us that the management was in the process of expanding their menu.
I quickly opted for a portion of the ‘Soup of the Day’, Lentil, and a ‘3 Hour Salmon Steak’. Meanwhile, my parents opted for Italian; a penne arrabiata and a penne carbonnera. My little sister decided to go simple with a ‘Kid’s Meal’ serving of fried chicken.
The attendant first bought us a basket of bread, which consisted of freshly baked bread and buns. It tasted amazing with a dash of Danish butter, but it did fill our tummies to a point we felt we couldn’t gobble anymore food down. So, do
keep in mind to go easy on the bread if you are heading there.
My soup was the next to arrive. I was pleasantly surprised by the serving; it was a large bowl filled up to three-quarters.
It was creamy and with the right amount of flavour. Thankfully, the consistency of the broth was perfect, making it easy to gulp down.
Our main course arrived soon. By now, we were all replete but dug in nonetheless.
My salmon steak, which had been slow-cooked for three hours, was soft, and the skin crispy. It was furthermore garnished with caramelised onions and a few strips of freshly-cut potato fries.
Upon sliding my knife into the meat of the fish, I was able to see the flavours and natural oils gush out ever so slightly, signalling that it was well marinated. The fries that came with the dish were also a welcome touch.
The pasta, my parents declared, was scrumptious but not any different from what you can find in other restaurants of this class. However, I was told that the penne carbonnera was a tad spicy. That must have been because of the chilly flakes that were sprinkled on it.
If spice is all you care about, though, you must try out the Thai food that is on the menu. But the waitress (thankfully) thoroughly warned us about the spice-scale of the food before we had even placed all our orders.
My sister claimed her chicken delectable, but she also seemed to enjoy the pasta. I put that down to the tooth she pulled out recently.
In the end, we washed it all down with glasses of pineapple and lemon-mint juices. As expected, they were refreshing.
Upon finishing up at Tiptara, I realised that it does deliver on all fronts –the ambience, the food and the service. But there was one other reason why I found it to stand out from the sea of other upscale restaurants in the city: the price.
The cost for all our starters, dishes and juices came up to an acceptable RO30. A high-end restaurant with dishes ranging in the price bracket of a food joint in Shatti is beyond belief. Now, if that isn’t a steal, I don’t know what is.
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Tasty gourmet foods at relatively reasonable rates