Since coming to Oman I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of restaurants and cafes (well perhaps connoisseur is stretching it a bit). The variety of cuisines available around Muscat means you will never be bored...or hungry. For someone who does most of the cooking at home, there is not much more appealing than dinner outside. During Ramadan particularly, a lot of time and the little energy one has is spent in the kitchen preparing for Iftar and then cleaning up afterwards. The thought of just once in a while having all of this done for you is quite wonderful.
One of my new favourite places to have a treat in Muscat has to be The Chedi, where I spent Iftar recently. For those who haven't been, The Chedi is a modestly luxurious hotel along the beachfront in Boushar. I say modest because the drive leading up to the hotel would not convince you that there is a multi-award winning hotel at the end of it. Anyone who has seen the traditional Omani-inspired architecture and interior of the hotel will agree that it is beautiful.
The restaurant itself is so attractive and has so many interesting features we found ourselves spotting new things we liked about it all night. The service was one of the highlights of the night. And that's not to say the food was bad, just that the service was exceptionally good. Our waiter was attentive to the point where he escorted us to the lobby after our meal and brought us coffee.
The food itself was delicious (well not much isn't after a day of fasting), well presented and well timed. The Iftar set menu included five courses, including a selection of juices at the start. The jallab was my favorite which was a mixture of peach and rose-water. In line with tradition, dates and laban were already on the table ready for the moment of breaking fast. This was followed by a light lentil soup and cold and hot mezze. A much needed pause....then the main. Mixed grill (nice and charcoaled) and hammour fillets. The fish was so good we asked for extra, which of course the waiter happily obliged. Followed by another pause and a breather outside, and then fresh fruit and Arabic sweets for dessert. All of this with the accompaniment of a pianist.
If there was one thing I had to find fault in its the dessert, which seemed a little unimaginative. But to be honest I was so full at that point I couldn't have eaten much anyway.