Opening Hours 8:30 a.m. till 11:00 p.m. (Sat-Wed), 8:30 a.m. till 11:30 p.m. (Thurs & Fri)Call Now
A healthier take on comfort food is what makes D’Arcy’s Kitchen in Shatti Al Qurum diner a homestyle favourite.
We all long for a taste of home. Serving an appetite for the familiar, a home-cooked meal is a quintessential part of our shared cultural identity and brings warmth, comfort and satisfaction to the table. You don’t have to speak the same language to understand the language of love, friendship and family that is associated with food.
There’s a reason home food is called ‘soul food’, and it’s a dialect our hearts (and bellies) know well. This applies to every single one of us although expats may seek it out a little more often to connect to their collective culinary memory and the sense of time and place it evokes.
So, it was with high hopes and a raging hunger that we headed to D’Arcy’s kitchen, mid-day on a cloudy Friday to join the casual collection of family and foodies staking out a place on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace – rain, be darned!
Located in Shatti Al Qurum, in the promenade of shops and restaurants directly across from the Oasis By The Sea complex, D’Arcy’s has been a comfort-food staple for years. This, however, was our first sampling of its selection of British-style fare, which has been tarted up for the health-conscious.
The omens are good, as the full patio and small interior dining area are busy while the terraces of its surrounding neighbours remain vacant on the weekend morning. Known for its hearty breakfasts, it’s a popular AM spot. But as we’ve already crossed the threshold into brunch territory with our timing, we opt for some of the lunch-time specials.
With the terrace tables full we head inside and grab a seat at the last available two-seater table, located near the kitchen pass. Decked out to look like your grandmother’s kitchen – a yellow and blue calico colour scheme predominates alongside shelves full of knick-knacks your gran might have picked up at the local bring-and-buy sale. It’s kitsch yet comforting. And the service is prompt, friendly, and fast – given it’s a full house and all hands on deck for the lunch crowd rush.
Our waitress Hellen is quick to take our order and answer our questions about the menu – which ranges from the best of breakfast to classic sandwich platters, hearty burgers, fresh salads and Buddha bowls, and freshly-squeezed juices – with no sugar added.
We opt for a comforting bowl of Molly’s Chicken Soup, and an order of Classic Caesar Salad and a crisp and refreshing blend of fresh carrot and orange juice to get us started. The wait is fleeting, and our salad arrives in short order tossed in a creamy Caesar dressing that doesn’t skimp on the condiment-to-lettuce-leaf ratio, and the bowl of soup is piping-hot.
Always a sucker for Caesar – let’s face it, it’s the comfort food of salad and while probably the least nutritious of all the green options, it’s still healthy enough to justify ordering it, and saucy enough to make the extra calories worth it. Something we’ve noticed since moving to the GCC region is that most restaurants just don’t get their house-made Caesar dressing quite right. Rather than the taut and zingy goodness it should have – pungent with Parmesan and anchovy – most experiences we’ve had have essentially had us spreading what were dollops of mayo on our salad.
Not here. D’Arcy’s, refreshingly and thankfully, gets it right. The same goes for the portion of Molly’s Chicken Soup. A clear broth is made fragrant with chopped scallions and, floating in the hearty stock, with chopped veg and delicate chunks of pulled rotisserie chicken. It’s the perfect starter for a rainy day, and we spend more than a few minutes trying to suss out the mystery spice that lingers on our palate. Nutmeg or cinnamon is the final verdict but either way it adds a surprising richness and depth of flavour that has us diving deep with each spoonful.
Next up we order a portion of their Grilled Chicken Alana and their signature Chef’s Chicken Burger. It’s comfort food without a doubt but guilt-free as we soon find out. This seems to be the trick of the trade that D’Arcy’s hangs it hat on – making flavourful comfort food (diner-style no less!) healthy again.
The burger arrives with a heaping patty made from delicately-herbed chicken mince – not a deep-fried chicken breast as we expected – and served with dollops of D’Arcy’s own homemade special sauce and lightly-melted cheese. Sides of thick-cut chips that have been baked (not fried) and piled up in one corner of the plate are balanced out by a garden green salad on the other. It’s a homely platter we don’t mind devouring in one sitting although the chips are so plentiful we just have to pack them for a takeaway.
Following on the heels of that is the Grilled Chicken Alana. For anyone who goes to a diner and just can’t help but order the chicken fingers and fries – this one’s for you. But instead of greasy, crispy batter; tender strips of chicken are tossed in the lightest flour coating mixed with fresh oregano and rosemary, and Parmesan cheese and then lightly baked to perfection.
You still get that desired crispy element thanks to the perfectly-golden cheese crust, while the herbs’ light flavour evoke memories of a Sunday roast chicken. Served with a fresh side salad and their house-made Thousand Island dressing, the plate gets polished off.
We find friendly service amid a hometown diner ambience with a stellar menu of elevated comfort food favourites? Who is D’Arcy – we’d like to meet her and say thanks for the leftovers.
Shatti Al Qurum, opposite Oasis By The Sea
8:30 a.m. till 11:00 p.m. (Sat-Wed)
8:30 a.m. till 11:30 p.m. (Thurs & Fri)
Contact: (+968) 2460-0234
Lunch for two: RO17.1
Soul food speaks at this family diner serving up healthier takes on British homestyle fare at prices that won’t leave you losing your appetite.
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