Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Restaurant Review - The Beach Restaurant

It is quite possibly Muscat's most beautiful hotel: The Chedi. Understated, luxurious, with an overwhelming sense of serenity and exclusivity. And while it lacks the dramatic setting of the Barr al Jissah Resort and Al Bustan Hotel, the location of The Beach Restaurant -smack on the beach- isn't too fussy either.

This isn't our first visit to The Beach Restaurant, we've been before and liked it better than The Restaurant, the flagship restaurant of the hotel, where we found the level of cooking to be very variable. Our previous visit to The Beach was in January. It was a little disappointing to see that the menu hadn't changed since.

The amuse, a delicate small bisque of scampi, was full of flavour and well-made. A good start. Mrs. R chose a starter of grilled cuttlefish, fresh citrus fruit and coriander, a dish that looked and tasted like it came straight out of a Jamie Oliver book. Nothing wrong with that, but you'd expect a bit more from a restaurant at this level. Mr. R's lobster risotto, with slices of vacuum cooked lobster tail was very nice. The risotto could have done with slightly less cream, but other than that it was a treat. As mains we chose steamed turbot and lobster ravioli, served with preserved lemon and fresh tomatoes and line caught seabass with seared foie gras. The seabass was slightly overcooked, which made it just a tad dry. A pity, because in its essence it was a fine dish. Beautiful, flavourful fish, accompanied by the slightly bitter foie gras and a creamy, fresh sauce that added a touch of acidity. Mrs. R's turbot could also have done with a minute less in the pan. Again a very nice combination. Fresh, with the lobster adding some body to the dish.

Our choice of wine was a bottle of Chateau Musar White Wine 1999 from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon (38.000 OMR from the wine list). A very a-typical white wine, golden in colour, with tones of dried citrus, butter, nuts, cookie dough and spices (star aniseed, cloves, bay leave). We'll pay some more attention to the wines of Musar in a seperate topic, as they surely deserve that.

Nothing from the dessert list made our mouths water, so we decided to skip that.

Pricing is somewhat more friendly than Barr al Jissah's Sultanah. You could do three courses with a glass of house wine for about 35.000 OMR. In terms of quality we felt it wasn't that much below Sultanah. Well made dishes that won't be competing for a Michelin star, but will give you a good deal of pleasure. And an after dinner walk through the Chedi garden is absolutely priceless.

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