InterContinental Muscat is ready to dish out German taste blended with an Arabian touch at Oktoberfest. Alvin Thomas takes a peek into what’s cooking.
It’s that time of year, folks! Several world festivals have come to an end. Just this week, the Indian festival of lights, Diwali, came to a close, and several people around the Sultanate are now looking for a means to celebrate.
But, fret not, for the Germans are here to the rescue with what is arguably their largest and most prominent festival: Oktoberfest. Of course, the words “October” and “fest” might sound all too literal, but there’s more to it than just celebrating horse races and reaping the benefits of their lands – as was the case with the festival back in the days.
Today it aims to bring people closer to one another and showcase German traditions. People – along with their counterparts – also indulge in a lot of… err… hydration, good food and music.
And as part of InterContinental Muscat’s ongoing tradition of celebrating this momentous festival on their grounds, we were given a sneak peek into the good stuff – the food that is going to be on show at the festival slated to take place on the 26th of October.
During our taste test, the Chef, Thusitha, not only gave us a chance to indulge in some of the finest foods, but also a peek into what goes into the makings of these delicious chows.
The first on the menu was the Bavarian meatballs, followed by chicken marinated with Arabian spices, and rib-eye roast beef with mushroom sauce. All of the dishes were served with a side of sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.
I found the Bavarian meatballs to be authentically coarse and tremendously flavoursome. The ground beef still retained its moisture, which made the meatballs naturally aromatic and soft on the inside, albeit the sauce gave it a tangy, but moderately spicy palate. Arguably, this had to be the most sought-after dish during the course of my dinner.
Next in my line of favourites was the roast beef garnished with mushroom sauce. My oh my! It was splendid. My opinion may stem from my love for mushroom sauce, but the overall aura and presentation of the dish is sufficient to bowl anyone over.
The rib-eye – which is often touted as the ‘tastiest cut on the cow’ – was done well. Since, it was slow roasted, the beef had also adsorbed (not absorb) the mushroom sauce, ever so slightly. The dryness of the skin was definitely not evident in the dish. The insides were still juicy and the beef appetising to the touch of my fork and knife.
Last but not the least, we had the chicken marinated with Arabian spices. It was the first time I had ever indulged in Arabian chicken as much as I had on the day.
It seemed to be slow-cooked, which meant the meat was soft to the touch, and the steam from the natural oils locked within the outer crust of the chicken.
The spices, again, were gleefully garnished over the chicken; but it was the side dishes that gave the chicken its life – the mashed potatoes were smoother and softer than butter, and the light essence of olive oil and other spices were evident in every bite.
If you want to experience what I just did, you can register yourself for the Oktoberfest at the InterContinental Muscat. But if you cannot make it, we’re giving you an exclusive recipe of a dish you can replicate at home. Try this braised beef with mustard, and let us know of your thoughts.
Braised Beef with Mustard
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1.3 kg piece beef rib eye
- 6 shallots (150g), chopped finely
- 1 stalk celery (150g), trimmed, chopped finely
- 1 medium piece carrot (120g), chopped finely
- 2 garlic, crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp water
- 400g button mushrooms, halved
- 1/3 cup pouring cream
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- Heat half the oil in large frying pan; cook beef until browned all over. Transfer to a 4.5-litre (18-cup) slow cooker.
- Heat remaining oil in same pan. Cook shallot, celery and carrot, stirring until softened. Add garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Transfer to cooker with stock; mix well.
- Cook, covered, on low for 2 hours. Remove beef from cooker; cover with foil. Stand 15 minutes before slicing.
- Meanwhile, strain liquid into large jug; discard solids. Blend flour with the water in small bowl until smooth. Return cooking liquid to cooker with flour mixture and mushrooms. Cook, uncovered, on high, about 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in cream and mustard; season to taste.
- Serve sliced beef with sauce.