We’re located at Al Safat Street, Opposite Gift Emirates Market, Ghubra. Call in at (+968) 9396-0530
Team Y finds an eatery serving hearty fare that’s nautical but nice, and options that are well above board.
A seafood-themed restaurant named Pirates – you see the cliché there, don’t you?
Thankfully, the disappointment ends there. For, despite its hackneyed name and unorthodox location, the Pirates Restaurant delivers on most fronts.
Perched deep inside the heart of Ghubra, a few kilometres inside the town and away from the prying eyes of passers-by, Pirates Restaurant seems to rely solely on word-of-mouth and social media marketing to get by.
Has it worked? By a mile, it seems.
The eatery was packed during our visit at 8pm on a Sunday. It’s the first time we’d encountered such crowds – and there were a good eight to 10 families benched for supper; a few even warily working their fingers around crab and lobster shells.
It didn’t take us long to get seated. There was a spot in the middle waiting for us that we instantly sprang towards, in case we lost it to someone else.
All the waiters were buzzing around but had forgotten to hand us our menu. It did arrive a few minutes later, and not before we had stopped to ask for it.
But no harm done. It gave us a few moments to admire the décor.
Set to imitate dining at a seaside eatery from somewhere in Europe – complete with nautical elements such as a ship’s wheel, anchors mounted on walls, and tungsten bulbs hung on help ropes – there’s no lacking of character, with plenty to look at while waiting for your food.
The menu is quite cramped but with a selection of marine-themed food, starting from enticing-looking seafood grills, individualised salads and pastas.
Given that our hunger was off the roof, we immediately ordered two portions of Submarine Soup and a plate of Deviled Buffalo Shrimps sliders for starters; an Ocean Lobster Burger and Chargrilled Salmon Fillet for our main course; and a glass of sparkling water and passion fruit mojito to wash it all down.
Then the wait began.
It must have been 20 minutes before our starters – the soup and the sliders – arrived. A long wait, yes, but one that we thought was worth every second.
The Thai-inspired soup – which is a stew of mussels, shrimps, celery and carrots, and doused in what seems to be sriracha hot chili sauce – was truly phenomenal and possibly even the best we’d had in a long time.
It came across as a tad fiery for us but was still easy to down with the freshly-steamed seafood, which was only beginning to soak in the zing.
Our sliders were the next to arrive. And as messy and muddled as it looked, it also tasted great with just the right amount and blend of mayonnaise and Sri Lankan deviled sauce and crunchy grilled shrimps. The accompanying crinkle-cut fries were a great touch too but they had lost their crispiness having sat out for a while as the soup was being prepared, we thought.
Meanwhile, our waiter also served us our drinks. The passion fruit mojito was delightfully refreshing despite being a bit too strong on the tang and sweet front. Don’t get us wrong: it wasn’t as off-putting as what we’d experienced in some of the local shacks around.
Another five minutes was all it took for our main course to arrive. It was immediately clear that the salmon was the star of the night.
Done well and cooked until golden brown (which we thought was odd), the salmon was soft on the inside and mildly crispy on the outside, with the skin taking a thorough treatment from the grill.
Accompanied with buttery mashed potatoes served in a fancy potato boat, asparagus sprinkled with mozzarella cheese for that added fast food effect, and the garlic lemon sauce; the meal was filling, to say the least.
The salmon and mashed potato combo was one we enjoyed, much like the surprising addition of mozzarella to the mix. Perhaps it was the freshness of the salmon and the mashed potatoes but the dish didn’t last too long on our plates; and was demolished completely before our burgers arrived.
Having satiated ourselves, we took the burgers rather slowly. It’s a shame that we couldn’t enjoy them as much as we’d hoped to – as they were two of the better ones we’d had in a while.
The sizeable grilled lobster meat sitting inside the sweet buns, dripping with layers of cheese and mayonnaise was a masterpiece. Not only was the fresh and soft bread a treat to bite into but the sweet and tender lobster also added to the effect.
Our only concern was the thick layer of cheese and mayonnaise, which any typical fast food outlet would serve.
And that’s what makes the Pirates Restaurant special when compared with its direct competitors. It doesn’t try hard to be something it’s not: it’s an eatery that serves seafood, burgers, a few other grills and pastas; and nothing more.
There are no gaudy dishes with pretentious names to set things apart from a flurry of similar restaurants. We think it’s the closest we’ve ever come to soul food – and that’s high
Seafood with a continental twist – all served up with just the right flavours and zing to appease Omani crowds.
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