Skimpy menu, just a few items on it were available and some of the servings tasted prosaic. A bit cheesed off, but Alvin Thomas is positive about tasty days ahead
Lebanese restaurants are a harbinger of good food. I’ve never really come across a Lebanese eatery that has failed to satisfy my taste buds – they definitely are a class apart when compared with others in the region.
So, when I walked into the Karaz Lebanese Restaurant in the Azaiba Gardens at… well, you guessed it… Azaiba, I had no doubt that I would walk out of there with a smile on my face.
The restaurant is unlike any other Lebanese restaurant in Oman, though. The insides are spacious – a bit overly so – but there’s limited seating. It almost looked like the management decided to spread the chairs and sofas as far apart as they could to keep the privacy levels high.
The lighting is strong and the chairs and tables are all finished in wood. It definitely would make sense as an American burger chain – but that’s not the case here.
Nonetheless, our kind waitress quickly pointed out that only a few items on the menu – which only has slim pickings in it to start with – were available. This meant that Ninad (who was accompanying me on my trip) and I were limited to the grills and Lebanese burgers.
So, we ordered both. To start off, though, we asked for a plate of Rakakat Cheese, hummus and a glass of carrot and mango juice.
The starters arrived first. The juices were splendid, and Ninad particularly appreciated the fact that his mango juice was made of pure puree and not water and concentrate.
We were soon in for the shock of our lives as the Rakakat Cheese was unbearably salty. We took a couple of bites to make sure that it wasn’t an illusion, but it seemed the chef had dumped all the salt he could lay his hands on in the appetiser. We loathed it and didn’t take another bite. As polite customers, we hesitated from sending it back to the kitchen immediately – but would wait until the end to raise the issue.
Next to arrive were our burgers – a ‘special burger’ for me and a chicken burger for Ninad.
This definitely turned things around. The chicken burger – despite its small patty – was flavoursome and succulent, said Ninad. He also enjoyed the garlic mayonnaise (or paste) and the sliced pickles that were added to it.
Much of this continued with my beef burger too. The patty had a very strong Arabic flavour – and that was the highlight of the burger. The mayonnaise and the pickles added to the overall aura of the dish. We were also happy with the size of the two burgers – it would definitely
In a few moments, the chicken kafta and mixed grill were presented to us. Both dishes were above average but not worth writing home about. The presentation, on the other hand, was splendid and it added to the overall allure of the dish.
The beef in my mixed grill, to an extent, was a saving grace and the hummus was fresh, thick and rich in consistency.
After this, the waitress asked for the dishes to be packed and that’s when we told her about the salty appetiser. She immediately took it to the manager to ask him about it but he simply proceeded to tell her that it was prepared and that it couldn’t
Bothered by that we told him that we were happy with the dishes except for the Rakakat cheese. He immediately replied that it was the characteristic of feta cheese to be “overly salty”. We simply nodded and asked for it to be included in the bill.
Our experience at the Karaz Lebanese Restaurant was mixed, and inching towards the negative side – thereby tarnishing my good run with Lebanese restaurants across the capital.
Still, it must be noted that this restaurant has just opened doors, so it could very well be a
few months before everything is up and
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