Team Y tucks into a taste of the deep at an upmarket seafood night that’s sure to catch on.
If there’s one thing foodies in Muscat have in aces, it’s appetite. And Oman answers this call by capitalizing on what nature has blessed it with in spades – rich, abundant seafood. From the deep maritime roots of its seafaring history, the Sultanate has long offered up its bounty to the region and beyond.
And, more often than not, that bounty makes its way onto the plates of Muscat eateries, prepared to perfection. Such was the case at the OMNY Brasserie’s new Ocean Treasure Night. Located on the lower level of the Hormuz Grand Muscat – A Radisson Collection Hotel, the restaurant has a lush ambiance with a plush indoor seating area that gives way to the outdoor terrace where tables are set up around the water garden.
Inside, the colour palette is redolent of the sand and sea with lush upholstery and table settings in rich shades of gold and teal. There’s a secluded private dining room at the back of the restaurant, while taking pride of central place is an open-air kitchen where tonight’s fresh catch is laid out on display, ready to be cooked à la minute.
As we’re shown to our cozy table near the terrace door, Executive Chef Thierry Quintric is making the rounds, greeting diners and explaining the concept of their Ocean Treasure Night, which they host every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. Guests can select their choice of seafood cooked fresh at market price, and will receive an entrée of lobster bisque and a dessert along with it.
Our eyes bigger than our better judgment, our group orders up a sizeable selection – a selection of grilled prawns and calamari, lobster tail, and baked sea bream. Quick to arrive first is the warming bowl of lobster bisque – served piping-hot and topped with a garlic crouton crisp. The flavour is deep and briny without overpowering the delicate tomato broth and is the perfect way to whet our appetite for what’s to come.
Up next is a sampler platter of grilled prawns and calamari, marinated in a variety of ways. There are the delicate tandoori-style shrimps, redolent with rich Indian spices, classic crispy calamari that goes down a treat with their house-made tartar sauce, and plump lemon-skewered Omani prawns, the puckering marinade off-setting their sweetness perfectly. But the standout from this platter was the pesto calamari – delicate rings of squid, tossed in a gorgeous homestyle pesto and grilled to perfection – toothsome without the added chewiness that we found in the larger-sized Asian-style calamari served along with it.
For our mains, the two Omani lobster tails arrive in quick succession – one a classic grilled version, the sweet meat balanced with an earthy char from the grill; the other is marinated with Indian spices and is the hands-down star of the two. Both come served with delicate beurre blanc sauces – one classic, the other curried, and both sublime.
Last to arrive is the grilled whole sea bream, served with delicate cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, a side of earthy mushroom risotto, and a small portion of hand-cut chips. Our waiter gently filets the bream – which is fall-off-the-bone fork-tender. The flavour is light and lush, with the beurre blanc bringing out new depths of flavour to the filets.
As we finish our maritime feast, we can’t help but feel as though we’ve done a complete go-round of all that Oman has to offer from its waters. All items were cooked fresh à la minute with simple yet elegant presentation that allowed the core ingredients to be hero-ed.
We cap off our meal with steaming cups of jasmine tea and a delicate selection of petit-fours – miniature lemon tarts, espresso chocolate cake, and a coconut cake with lemon cream. We find it hard to fault what’s been an exceptional dining experience, taking the best of Oman’s bounty and making it shine.
Lower level, Hormuz Grand Muscat, Airport Heights/Seeb
Opening hours: Noon till midnight, daily
Contact: (+968) 2435-0506
Seafood standouts with five-star preparation and restraint in presentation that lets the flavour of Oman’s maritime bounty speak for itself.
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