The dynamites and the machine guns will fire up the taste buds, but you might chicken out on the main course and beef about why it’s not worth its salt. Alvin Thomas isn’t COY about asking questions
I have questions; so many questions. Firstly, why is the restaurant called the ‘Culture of Youth’? and, secondly, its abbreviation ‘COY’ roughly translates to “a pretence of shyness”; didn’t they think of that? It really breaks all the conventional naming stereotypes associated with restaurants based in malls.
In any case, set all those questions aside and what you’re left with is a place that offers you a decent dining experience and darn good food. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
It was the weekend, and my brother Allen and friend Jijin were both parched from work and wanted to sit down for a late lunch session. Our immediate decision was to head to one of the restaurants at the Oman Avenues Mall in Baushar.
While at the food court, we noticed that there was one restaurant that we had kept glossing over for the last six months or so – the Culture of Youth. So, we went straight in.
The ambience was superb – even though it was on the darker side – for an eatery based in a mall. There’s enough seating, too.
The polite waitress handed us our menus and immediately showed us to our seats. Looking at the menu, we realised that the options available for foods were limited, nevertheless those that were in it looked appetising.
We started with a serving of dynamite fries with machine gun chicken (yes, that’s what it is called) and hot chicken wings. As for main course, we chose the beef sizzling sisig, COY super supreme pizza and chicken alfredo pizza.
The dynamite fries were the first to arrive – in five minutes or so – and boy, it was splendid. The three of us dug into it in no time; the plate was empty within a minute or so. But don’t get me wrong: the portions are splendid.
The spicy sauce and the jalapenos gave the fries their hotness, while the fries, kidney beans and the caramelised onions and tomatoes mellowed the heat to a minimum. All of it was then topped up with a generous serving of cheese, mayonnaise and ranch sauce. It was a concoction of flavours and we (collectively) loved it.
The hot chicken wings were magnificent. Again – as is the trend – we dug in, making a mess of our plates. The chicken was luscious and the spices devilish – it will appeal to spice lovers and those with a cast-iron stomach. Next to arrive was the main course.
Allen quickly adjudged his beef to be a revelation, although he felt it too similar to what we would find in our hometown of Kerala. A few minutes later, though, he revoked his earlier remarks. The saltiness of the dish, he said, completely morphed over his initial impressions.
“The beef is nice and soft and the gravy very similar to what you will find in parts of Kochi. But I think it is too salty and tangy. I can’t finish the dish,” said Allen, before he dug into my pizza.
The pizza was a miss: the crust was too dry, and the toppings cold. All was not lost, though. The chef was generous with the toppings and the pepperoni was soft and succulent. I also admired the unstinting serving of delightful mozzarella cheese on top. Still, much to my dismay, I had to send the pizza back to the chef to be re-heated.
After that debacle, all our eyes were on Jijin’s pasta. In his own words, the pasta is “creamy with a nice and consistent sauce base”. Unlike the pizza, the pasta was fresh, thereby saving the day.
To end things, we chose the strawberry cheese loaded and kitty caramel loaded (milkshakes), and a blue frozen (virgin) margarita. The milkshakes were delightful, to say the least. The presentation was outstanding, and we couldn’t help but click photos of it and post it online.
Jijin’s “margarita”, meanwhile, was tangy and exactly how he had perceived it would be. He took it slow, as it was predominantly flavoured shaved ice and soda.
In the end, COY left us with a mixed experience: the service was top-class, and much of the food wonderful. But, iron out our main course debacle and you’re left with a diner that offers you decent food in a quality setting. I still don’t get why it’s called the Culture of Youth, though.
Culture of Youth
Second Floor, Oman Avenues Mall,
Dinner for four: RO26.670
Stick with the starters and you’ll be left with a happy tummy.
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