Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Restaurant Review: Wasabi Sushi

We told you before about our love for sushi. We were happy, therefore, to find Wasabi Sushi, a relative newcomer in the Muscat dining scene. It's located in the Bareeq al Shatti Mall, and has been open for some two months.

The small, trendy looking restaurant specialises in sushi rolls. Next to that it offers some sashimi, a couple of salads and miso soup. That's all. The choice in sushi rolls is quite big though, and we don't mind a limited menu. In fact, we prefer it to those 'a little bit of everything' menu's such as the one at Japengo.

The food at Wasabi Sushi looks as trendy as the interior. And it's not bad. The tiger roll hoso maki is a tasty roll with tempura prawn as main ingredient. Tuna sashimi is served on ice. A nice touch, although the fish needed a bit of warming up on the plate to let its flavour come out. There are also some less succesful creations. The california roll tastes rather bland and the nigiri's (rice lumps with a piece of fish on top) are made with too much rice, as a cause of which the taste of the fish gets lost.

The quality of the fish is good, but there is hardly a local fish to be found on the menu. Tuna being the exception. Many of the dishes are made with eel (which is nearly extinct and should be avoided altogether), salmon, prawns and surimi (listed on the menu as 'crab'). It would have been so much better to see fish like hammour and kingfish on the list. A missed opportunity in our opinion. A last critical note: for a restaurant that carries wasabi in its name, they supplied us with precious little bits of the stuff. Granted, we like our food a bit spicy, but we can't recall that we ever needed to ask for three extra portions in any other sushi restaurant.

But even if we take all this into account, we're still quite positive about Wasabi Sushi. Overall, the food is quite tasty. Not mindblowing, and it doesn't come close to the quality of Tokyo Taro, but it's a nice place to eat if you fancy a bite in between shopping or on your way to some place. Sushi never comes dead cheap, but with a bill of 27.000 OMR for two, including one drink each, Wasabi Sushi is relatively affordable. The restaurant isn't licensed. We hope it survives, the night we visited there were more waiters around than guests. It deserves better.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

A grain of salt...

We just returned from a long (and we like to think well deserved) holiday. Our usual practise is to bring back as many items as we can, that are difficult to find in Muscat. A few bottles of special wine are always included, but olive oil, (balsamic) vinegar, cheese and sausages are also favourites.

This time we filled our bags with foie gras (we are well aware of the controversial nature of this, but we can't stop eating it), different kinds of dried mushrooms, truffle oil and salt. Salt? Yes, salt. Fleur de Sel to be precise. This is the salt that is gained from salt pans. While the sea water dampens in those pans, a thin crust forms on top. This layer is hand harvested. It has a very fine structure, and is said to be the most delicate of all salts. Sounds snobbish to you? It might be, but we really like the taste of this salt. And because it is notoriously difficult to find here, we thought it would be a good idea to bring back a small stock.

On a short visit to the Qurum Carrefour we noticed a large stack of.... yes you guessed it, fleur de sel. Slightly grumpy, because we could have used valuable baggage space for something else, we loaded some more into our cart. You never know how long stock lasts. So if you want to try this special salt, hurry to Carrefour and buy some. But do us a favour please. Use it where you can taste it, and don't waste it on boiling your potatoes!