The new Countdown Sports Lounge at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat isn’t your average sports den – and we sit down with Head Chef Nicolas Madueno to prove it!
The words ‘sports lounge’, side-by-side, carry a certain connotation all their own. For some, it’s a den of boisterous cheer, big screens all round and free-flowing bevvies. A raucous place, a loud place and, sometime, a place where not everyone may feel as though they fit in – even if they’re really, really, craving a heaping helping of loaded nachos.
The Countdown Sports Lounge at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat is about to shake things up. This soon-to-open contemporary 260-seat lounge complete with outdoor terrace is offerings sports fans in the capital a place to catch a piece of the big-screen action – in a setting that also caters to families and fans of sports lounge fare.
Set to be one of the largest new outlets of its kind in Muscat, come hungry and often! Their vast menu features a tantalizing array of signature dishes served family-style – meant to be shared – but we promise you you’ll be fighting over the last chicken wing!
All crafted under the tasteful eye and unique culinary touch of their Peruvian Head Chef Nicolas Madueno, we’re coming back for the Fire Wings, Loaded Tacos, Flamed Steak, Countdown Burger, and Succulent BBQ Ribs.
Lip-smacking flavour and nail-biting sporting action? Our (and yours!) Thursday night is sorted!
We sat down with Head Chef Nicolas to find out what more hungry foodies can look forward to as The Countdown is on – plus bring you a sample of goodful recipes from their new menu!
Y: Hi Nicolas! Tell us a bit about yourself and the unique culinary touch you’re bringing to The Countdown Sports Lounge here at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat?
NM: Well, I am a chef with a passion for food, sports, and travel. I’ve been around the world and worked as a chef in South America, Europe, and the Middle East. When it comes to food, I love bringing cultures together through their flavours.
Y: As a concept, what makes The Countdown stand out from other sports-themed lounges here in the capital?
NM: The setup; it will be the house of sports in Muscat. The food menu and the vibe will make it one-of-a-kind.
Y: Is it a place where families can come too?
NM: Yes, families can enjoy watching their favourite team play while eating good and fun food.
Y: You’re from Peru and we understand you’ll be bringing some culinary infusions from your home country to The Countdown. Tell us what your ideal menu would look like?
NM: This menu is food that you find in different parts of the world turned into bar food – and there’s something for everyone.
Y: What are some of the more unique items on the menu and how do they pair with your signature line of beverages?
NM: We have classics like onion rings and fish and chips, to dishes like waffled chicken with maple syrup and sour cream. And then there are the heavy ones – like our own two-kilo BBQ Ribs and monster sandwiches like the Countdown Burger. Healthy options will be part of the experience too, along with crazy desserts like fried Snickers bars – the perfect food to have with a mocktail, a smoothie, or a milkshake.
Y: Tell us about some of The Countdown’s upcoming theme nights or promotions that customers can look forward to.
NM: We will have a variety of surprises and promotions coming soon – both sports- and food-related.
Y: What chefs do you admire most and why?
NM: Chefs that take risks and create something completely new. A great one is [Peruvian chef] Virgilio Martinez – he changed the game.
Y: What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?
NM: All types of chilis.
Y: What’s your go-to meal that you whip up at home after a long day in the kitchen?
NM: A good pizza.
Y: In your opinion, what’s the best recent food trend – and do you plan on incorporating it into your menu at The Countdown?
NM: Always fusion – and I will play soon with different promotions and styles.
Says Chef Nicolas: “To break the stigma that bar food should always be fatty and messy, we feel happy to provide healthy options. As a sports lounge we have options for the athletes too – and this salad is easy to make at home, very tasty and, most important, good for your body.”
• Red quinoa
• Sweet corn
• Feta cheese
• Olive oil
• Cook the quinoa in boiling water for 12 minutes.
• Cut the tomatoes, feta cheese, and avocado into small squares.
• Mix in a bowl the quinoa, kale leaves, tomato, feta cheese, corn, and avocado.
• Make a honey-mustard dressing by mixing one spoon of mustard, two of honey, and adding olive oil, a little bit of white vinegar, salt, and pepper.
• Mix the dressing with your salad, serve, and enjoy!
“Here’s how to make the best Green Stadium smoothie!” says Chef Nicolas. “It’s a simple green smoothie that’s healthy, tastes amazing, and is made with four ingredients in less than five minutes – plus, a few of my tips on meal-prepping smoothies!”
• 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
• 2 cups spinach, frozen
• 1 medium banana, frozen
• 1 cup mango and pineapple
• ½ cup-size food storage containers
• Put ingredients into the container of the blender in the order listed above.
• Start blending on low speed and increase to high.
• Blend on high speed for 50-60 seconds until mixture is smooth.
• Pour into two glasses, garnish with an unpeeled pineapple slice and enjoy!
My favourite fruit combination is a half-cup of mango and a half-cup of frozen pineapple – but feel free to use your favourite fruits such as apples, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, etc.!”