Zale Beach Club & Lounge Kempinski Hotel Muscat

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01 Aug 2018 Posted By Y Magazine

Opening Hours 6:00pm to 1:00am

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Al Mouj Muscat

Nearby Landmarks

Average Cost

Dinner for three: RO 35.22



European, Mediterranean

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    We’re located at Al Mouj Muscat. Call in at 24985000

    Sundowner views, creative quenchers, and fusion fare don’t come any better than beachside at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat’s Zale Beach Club & Lounge. Ashlee Starratt arrives at happy hour. 

    With its azure waters and uninterrupted stretches of sandy coastline that underline the stark backdrop of the mountains, it’s surprising there aren’t more seaside sundowner spots clamoring for purchase among Muscat’s faithful eager for a front-row seat to nature’s closing act. And, let’s be fair, a five-star view doesn’t necessarily need five-star surroundings – but it sure doesn’t hurt. 

    Enter Zale Beach Club & Lounge, one of the newest F&B offerings at the even newer Kempinski Hotel Muscat, the luxury resort property that opened its doors in the upscale Al Mouj development back in April. We’d been itching to try this sunset hotspot as we had heard murmurings among Muscat foodies about unbeatable breezy views, a lengthy beverage list, and succulent samplers off their tapas menu. 

    True to its locale, Zale’s sprawling outdoor terrace is fitted out in light wood tones; with canopied and sunken seating areas all facing the sea and cushions in pops of fresh cantaloupe and periwinkle-blue adding to the oceanic colour palette. It’s a theme that carries over into their indoor seating area where raw wood and bamboo beams line the vaulted ceiling, and sinewy coils of coarse ship’s rope hang like pillars throughout the space. A central bar area reminiscent of a ship’s prow dominates the space, while their upstairs loft dining room is slated to open a little later on in the season.

    We grab a bar-style high-chair table near the window where we can look outside at the terrace (it’s a wee bit too humid to dine outdoors on this night…), and also ogle our surroundings inside. The hostess brings us the menu – A4-size booklets mocked up like faux magazines highlighting their ‘Spring/Summer 2018’ culinary collection – complete with real articles on the local art world and fashion profiles. 

    We start with a round of tapas, taking the chef’s recommendation for the King crab tacos and traditional Chinese steamed Gao buns. The small, bite-sized portions of both are more-ish. The crunch of the fried-corn taco is offset by the pack-of-punch from the citrusy-sweet crab meat. Both are balanced with a smoky and silky guacamole and the whole thing is yummy.

    And the Gao buns are even better. Pillowy-soft, they melt in the mouth to reveal gushy morsels of saucy hoisin-braised beef sprinkled with freshly-chopped scallions and coriander leaves for a shot of herbaceous freshness. We wash our entrees down with one of Zale’s signature mocktails – the Passion Fruit Summer Drink. The ultimate hot-weather quencher, it’s a tall glass of fresh muddled ginger and passion fruit, blended with orange, soda, and mint leaves – and it goes down a pucker-y treat. 

    Throughout our meal the service is constant and attentive, the staff friendly and knowledgeable. Be sure to say hello to Timothy their South African bar-man – probably the friendliest member of staff and, if he comes over to take your order, you know you’ve hit it off and are in good hands. Zale also prides itself on sourcing locally and sustainably with much of its seasonal produce coming from just up the road at a certified organic farm in Barka. Good on them, we say – food just tastes better when you know where it’s been. 

    For our mains we tuck into their signature Zale burger and the Catch-of-the-Day – which happens to be seabream. Cooked to the chef’s recommendation, we have to unhinge our jaws to tackle the mammoth Zale burger and its luscious Wagyu patty, topped with comté cheese, delicate Portobello mushroom and a homemade buttery pesto. No talking. Just chewing. Bite-after-bite until it’s no more – juices dribbling down our chin, and arteries be gone!

    After that delicious heart-attack between two buns, the grilled seabream seems an almost misguided attempt at healthy choices. To our surprise it’s fall-off-the-bone and packed with flavour. The lightly crisp skin flakes away at the touch of our forks and each mouthful is sweet and tender. Served with a side of freshly-tossed spinach and what we believe to be taro root, the portion comes with a Mediterranean-style oil dressing for the salad and the fish, filled to the brim with tomato, parsley, and shallots. 

    We ask ourselves, even if the food hadn’t been top-standard – would we come back to Zale Beach Club & Lounge a second time? The ambience and view, coupled with a cold drink in hand – sure we would. This is a place that’s firing on all cylinders and it’s hard to find fault in the quality of its offerings and service we had. Is it happy hour yet?   

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