Alvin Thomas has no problem eating late and enjoys excellent room service and a dinner that doesn’t disappoint despite the hour.
It’s something only a few of us can dream of: a night out dining in the beautiful city of Salalah – a location often touted as “Oman’s best kept secret”.
It’s a “dream” partly because most people procrastinate about visiting the city, before ditching plans and simply heading to Dubai,
and secondly because it’s a long, long way from Muscat.
So, most people wouldn’t dare drive down there for sightseeing… let alone just to have dinner, like I did. Of course, I am not daft enough to have simply driven down to Salalah – a trip that usually takes more than 12 hours – for a spot of dinner.
I was in the city, last week, for the launch of the all-new Audi Q5 (which you shall read of in the coming issue of Y). But, during my time there, I had the opportunity to try out the food at the Salalah Rotana Resort – a five-star hotel – which is in the heart of Salalah.
The resort itself boasts six individual restaurants for visitors. Each restaurant has its own set of perks but because I had reached the hotel at 2am, I had to opt for the only one operating – room service.
Most hotels shut their restaurants after 12am but Salalah Rotana Resort thankfully serves food all-day long. I quickly jumped into the menu to find that there were quite a lot of options.
To start things off, I asked the waiter – a very polite and patient man – for a lemon lentil soup and a basket of bread. For main course, I quickly asked for a platter of Arabic grills and a side of hummus.
Predictably, the soup was the first to arrive. It was thick and flavoursome but with a touch of tanginess thanks to the lemon juice that was added to the soup. It was incredibly refreshing to have after my long day of travelling. The soup was also of the right temperature, and very fresh.
The bread was also soft and spongy, as was characterised by the invariable smell of freshly- baked bread. Without hesitating, I smeared some of the packeted Lurpak butter on it and munched on.
The Arabic grill arrived next. Now, this had to be the most disappointing part of my meal. The grill was a bit cold, almost like it had been prepared first; before the soup and the bread.
The beef was hard and the chicken dry, adding to my disappointment. Thankfully, the accompanying mutton kebab was splendid and masked the shortcomings of the other meats. The mutton was soft and succulent, and the knife effortlessly ran through the meat to split the kebab into two halves.
The hummus was tasty and consistent but was nothing to write home about. I put that down to the time I had ordered the food at. Most chefs prepare hummus in batches and I presumed I was served one that had been prepared in the evening, at the very least.
Meanwhile, I washed down the main course with a glass of orange juice, before deciding to close the meal with a slice of chocolate cake.
The cake slice was massive – the serving was almost half the size of a regular-sized cake. It was cold, which I appreciated, and very creamy. The chocolate was fresh, if a bit too much on the darker side for my liking. The cake, however, was spongy and melt-in-your-mouth soft.
In all, I enjoyed my late-night indulgence before concluding that the cake was definitely worth its price tag.
Above all, though, I was blown away by the level of professionalism exhibited by the chefs and the waiters, despite the (odd) hour I had checked in.
Now, that’s the mark of a hotel that is willing to serve its customers and work towards their satisfaction. That’s precisely why Salalah Rotana Resort earns my mark of approval.
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Excellent service and ambience. Midnight foods needs some working though