Monthly Archives: January 2013

Exquisite Omani Specialties at the Grand Hyatt

grand hyatt muscat

Last night (Wednesday, Jan. 30th) was the first night of a monthy specialty at Mokha Cafe’s buffet called “Exquisite Omani Specialties“. In celebration of Muscat Festival (which also started yesterday!), from January 30th to February 28th, the buffet, in addition to its regular buffet, will feature Omani items prepared by their local and talented Omani chefs.  Here’s the ad:Omani Specialties  buffet

If you can’t read the writing well, the buffet is 18 OR +17%.looking down at Mokha Cafe

Plenty of space in Mokha Cafe, both indoors and out.outdoors

chef and main chef

Chef Majid and Head Chef Jayson with Nicole Bassitt (Marketing & Communications Manager) at the Grand Hyatt, showing us Omani dishes that are part of the Mokha Cafe buffet this month. Thanks so much for the invitation, Nicole! 🙂 We had a fabulous time. My wife can’t get enough of the Mokha Cafe buffet and is always “looking for an excuse” to go there. 😉chefs, General Manager and Director of Food and Beverage

Chef Jayson, Chef Majid, General Manager, Garry Friend, Chef Ali, and the Grand Hyatt’s Director of Food and Beverage, Dirk Holscher.  It was an honor to meet the Grand Hyatt’s new General Manager, Garry Friend, who has been in Oman about two weeks now.  He comes with over 25 years of experience working with Hyatt. Click here to read more about him in this article that just came out in The Week.  While I was speaking briefly with Mr. Friend he remarked, “Isn’t it interesting how bloggers are considered more and more important today?”  Interesting indeed! 🙂omani dishes

Those who are interested in trying out some great Omani dishes (as well as other amazing dishes from around the world!) are encouraged to come down during this month’s specialty buffet. People sometimes send me emails or comments asking where they can get some authentic Omani cuisine in Muscat.  Well, here’s your chance! 🙂showing one of the dishes

a few arabic dishes

Of course, besides the Omani dishes there are the standard delicious Arabic dishes that are also a regular part of Mokha Cafe’s buffet. (Hummus, Mutabel and Fattoush just to name a few)lokaimat

Presenting a delicious traditional Omani dessert called “lokaimat“!chef sameer

Chef Sammer always has time for a big smile as he prepares more “lokaimat” for guests. (As a side note, you really should try the Peach/Nectarine Frangipane Puff pictured directly in front of him! MMM!)prawns

In addition to prawns (as you see here), other Omani grilled seafood at the buffet include: lobster, king fish and tuna.  There are so many choices at this buffet!cooking away

Chef Hood “in the hood”! Ready to grill up whatever you desire! (But there’s usually no need to wait as there’s often plenty cooked up, ready for your plate.)a few of us at the hyatt

L to R: Nickyta Ray (Assistant Features Editor for Muscat Daily), Cem (prounced “Jem”!!!) Dogan (Sales Manager at the Hyatt for Groups and Corporate), wifey and me – It was a great evening on Mokha Cafe outdoor terrace with great food and great company.  Just wish I had a complete group pic taken…buffet area

Buffet starts at 7pm daily, so what are you waiting for?buffet desserts

I love the desserts available at Mokha Cafe. (These aren’t all the desserts; I just couldn’t get them all in one pic.)all the chefs

The talented Mokha Cafe chefs (L to R): Chefs Ali, Majid Chef Jayson (head chef), Harry, Zahir and Sameer

If you plan on enjoying this special monthly buffet, make sure to call ahead and make a reservation. Tel: +968-2464-1234.  You can also keep up to date with the latest pics and events from the Grand Hyatt on their facebook page: or their main website:

Barka Fort, Southern Batinah Region

Barka Fort

Barka Fort is located about 80 kms from Muscat in the Walayat (like district) of Barka in the region (like state or province) of Al Batinah.fort and cannon

Cannon looks pretty impressive from the front till you see it from the side…graffiti on cannon

I wonder what the local punks have written on this cannon. What a shame!fort front door

Like 99% of all forts I visit in Oman, this one was closed as well!  Are they really taking tourism seriously when so many of these places of interest are constantly closed?!zoom in looking up

black and white of tower

fort flag and old gentleman

flag in the wind

look wayyyy up

wider shot of fort


from side tower

fort is right along the ocean

birds on beach looking north

It’s nice that the fort is right along the beach, but I wouldn’t recommend swimming here (especially the ladies) as it’s a conservative small town.  Another reason I wouldn’t recommend it is that there were several local young men that kept paying my sister-in-law far too much attention as we walked around the fort and one guy was even parked there for the longest time is his heavily tinted windows just gawking. Creepy!beach looking south

bird over beach

Barka Map

As you can see from the map here, other places of interest in Barka include: Al Sawadi Coast, Bait Al Naaman Castle, and Al Falaij Fort.  Barka Fort isn’t the most exciting place in the Sultanate so I wouldn’t recommend coming here unless you plan (going to/coming from) another destination.

Seems that some Barka local residents and citizens are directly or directly involved in human trafficking- Read this article from Gulf News!

Royal Opera House Muscat – A Cultural Beacon of Light

ROHM night photography

“To love beauty is to see light.” (Victor Hugo)darkness night shot of ROHM

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” (Plato)

Curry in Hurry, Muscat Grand Mall

curry in hurry logo

Curry has ubiquitous appeal, and is a favoured food for the Omani and expatriate, young and old, alike.  Indeed it is one of the fastest growing retail food categories in the World, principally because it offers consumers an authentic alternative to international fast food brands.  Our mission is to contemporise the Indian classics, by offering consumers convenient curry dishes, prepared and cooked to very high standards using locally sourced, high quality ingredients for people who have appetite, but are on the go: hence our brand name – Curry in Hurry.” (from Entertainer Oman 2013 description)counter at food court

Curry in Hurry is in the food court of MGM, between Szechwan Wok and McDonald’s.2 chicken combos

What do you think we paid for these 2 Chicken Combos? Would you believe only 2.6 rials for both?! (about $6.75 US!)  Well, it shoud have been 2.6 each but we got 2 for the price of one thanks to this…curry in hurry coupon

All 3 coupons for Curry in Hurry are for “buy 2 for the price of 1 Chicken Combos”. The combos come in 3 sizes: small (2.2 OR) , medium (2.4 OR) , and large (2.6 OR). I wonder why the coupons are all for “chicken” and they don’t offer the choice of the mutton or fish combos?!

A closer look at what you get for 2.6 rials:large chicken combo

A pretty decent meal and for under 3 rials! (Drink included!)  I’m not normally a curry-kind-of-guy but I was in the mood to try it out.  Glad I gave this spot a try!  This combo meal was SO good!!!wall menu

More of the menu found on the wall

Here is their entire menu which is found on the counter.Menu 1

Menu 2

The gents at the counter said they’ll have these menus available for customers to take away in about 15 days. For now, there are 2 menus bolted together behind 2 sheets of glass available at the counter.  They hope to have delivery service in the near future.  Check our “Curry in Hurry” on facebook at: or you can check out their main website at:  Tel: (+968)-2200-9696, 2200-9700.

So, any of you readers out there try “Curry in Hurry“? (If we want to get tecnical, it should actually be called “Curry in a Hurry”! 🙂 )  If so, did you enjoy it as much as I did? Let a comment and let us know!

“The Treasure”, Muttrah Souq

entrance to muttrah souq

Another trip to Muttrah Souq! When my sister-in-law, Janice, flew all the way from Singapore to visit us here in Oman for 9 days, there were certain places that we just had to take her to during her short stay.  Muttrah Souq was a definite must-see!muttrah souq entrance

I wonder what’s the story behind the broken stained glass window at the entrance of Muttrah Souq?! Punks no doubt. I wonder how long it will take them to repair it or if anyone will even bother to…shop front

We bought most of her souvenirs in this shop, Treasure Mandos, which is located just a few shops short of the centre of Muttrah Souq.  Anyone who has been to Muttrah at “the wrong time of day” might know this shop as it’s one of the few that remain open throughout the entire day. The majority of the shops in Muttrah are open from 9am to 1pm or 1:15pm and then open up late from 4 to 9pm.centre of Muttrah Souq

“The Centre of Muttrah Souq” – Notice shops closing down as it’s just before 1pm.beautiful lamps

These beautiful lamps are great for the home and cost about 20 rials per lamp.khanjars for sale

Plenty of Omani khanjars and Syrian daggers for sale.camels 1

These cute camel souvenirs some in all sizes and range from 1 rial up to 7.5 rials. Most of them open up (like the ones pictured above and below with a opening on their saddle) and can hold very tiny objects inside.camels 2

silver items for sale

Of course there are all kinds of silver objects for sale in the Muttrah Souq like these ancient Omani scroll in muttrah

There’s something for everyone at Muttrah Souq!elephant design

old items for sale

The shop we visited reads “Treasure Mandos” on their sign, but the business card they gave me calls the shop “The Treasure“-“Sale of Handicrafts, Omani Khanjar, Omani Jewellery, Silver Articles, Gem Stones & Pshimina (Kashmiri Shawls). Tel:+968-2471-2917, GSM: +968-9229-7091, email: