November 18th Street, opposite the Azaiba beachNearby Landmarks
Al MoujAverage Cost
Lunch for three: RO27.6Website
We’re located at November 18th Street, opposite the Azaiba beach. Call in at (+968) 2449-9621
Team Y’s delight in piscatorial pleasures after a hard day’s work is royally skewered hook, line, and sinker.
We like to push the boat out a bit from time to time, and indulge ourselves.
Our ‘catch of the day’ is a slap-up nosh after an arduously long day in the office.
And if we can find an eatery that offers a congenial atmosphere coupled with a talent for the traditional, then that’s for us.
So on this occasion, we are bound for the Manhattan Fish Market.
Nestled in the heart of November 18th Street, some little way down the road from the Al Mouj area, the outlet usually escapes the beady eye of motorists, as is evidenced by the empty seats as we enter the restaurant on a Thursday evening.
Welcomed collectively with a loud chant by about five or six waiters, we’re drawn to a corner where we can catch the chef live through an oil-stained glass window.
The menu itself is quite sizeable, with options ranging from soups such as the clam chowder, which we’d most expect to have on a rainy day in India, to more elaborate platters complete with the fish of your choice.
It doesn’t take us long to pinpoint what we want: a salmon burger, and seafood salmon and ‘Legendary Small Flame’ platters – all dishes that look scrummy on the colourful photos presented on the menu.
We do find the waiter’s attentiveness to our dietary restrictions a bit casual, with him initially trying to swot up on our order before asking us to repeat it for him to take it down on a piece of paper.
Nevertheless, with the order placed, we eye up the rather well-designed interior.
With walls reminiscent of a rustic American fishing town and photo frames displaying motivational quotes, we find the décor to be welcoming; even if the ambience itself is a bit dark at the side we’re sitting at.
In a mere five minutes, our salmon burger arrives.
Presented neatly with fries on the side, we hastily dig into the burger. The fresh aromatic bread coupled with the crunchy iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, the fatty but well-done and seasoned fillet of salmon is well-received. It goes down the hatch fairly speedily, and at 250 grammes, this is no mean achievement.
Next to arrive are the platters – both of which arrive on metal plates and are charred with a blowtorch for a bit of showmanship.
While we admire the efforts of the waiters, we soon find out that the ‘Legendary Small Flame’ platter – which comes with a dory fillet, potato chips, steamed veggies, and grilled prawns – is a huge letdown.
The prelude to the anticlimax is the dory itself, which we find raw and watery from the inside – a trait usually associated with frozen fish.
We ask for it to be redone in the pan but to no avail. Even the final remnants of flavour from the otherwise soft flesh leave behind a sorry-looking dory that’s done-up heavily in batter to save the dish… in vain.
The accompanying veggies are soggy too; much like the fries and the grilled prawns (which aren’t de-veined).
Needless to say, the dish fails miserably and is kept aside.
The seafood salmon platter follows suit too, with the two (overly) oily sear-fried salmon fillets and the fragrant basmati rice taking the cake as the sole standout constituents in the dish.
As for the rest of the platter – the ranch-doused prawns, fries, and calamari – are all a far cry from what one should expect when shelling out RO14 for a dish (!)
Though, even among this mess, we hit a new low when we give the unseasoned, cold and overly-rubbery calamari a try. Inedible to say the least, we’re distraught to learn that customers are served old – and possibly frozen – calamari.
In a bid to cleanse our palette, we then order pudding: a sizzling brownie.
As expected, it arrives not so long after. The tall brownie, decked out with a generous portion of vanilla ice cream is, by a mile, the best sight we’ve had all night. It’s then all brought to life when we slather it with caramel sauce and then garnish it with crushed hazelnut chunks.
The brownie itself is soft and spongy – a bit light on the tummy and perfect for those looking to watch their weight.
But, accompanied with the ice cream and the sizzling sauce, it’s a true masterpiece that the pâtissier can take pride in creating.
Having said that, our experience at the Manhattan Fish Market is one that we’d like to forget. Nothing aside from the burger and pudding stood out or even came close to doing justice to the money we spent for a half-decent meal.
You’ve probably heard the adage, “Satisfaction is a rating. Loyalty is a brand”. Except, here at the Manhattan Fish Market, we’re obliged to say that here there’s neither.
Manhattan Fish Market
November 18th Street, opposite the Azaiba beach
Opening hours: 11:00 a.m. till midnight
Contact: (+968) 2449-9621
Lunch for three: RO27.6
Unreasonably pricey seafood fare that requires a heavy reworking from the management to regain customers left disappointed by unpalatable food.
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