Dressed in cool blue hues of the sea and the sky, the picturesque Bahriyat restaurant, at the imposing Grand Millennium Hotel Muscat, is a treat for the eyes – from the façade crested with marine elements to the warm glow inside, rolled out in an eye-catching aquatic theme.
It’s a beachcomber’s paradise, capturing the rich allure of a treasure chest found on the ocean bed. Even little blue lamps on the tables, with jellyfish miniatures hanging in each one, evoke an underwater sequence, giving the soft overhead lights a mystical touch.
Bahriyat, meaning ‘fruits of the sea’, vividly encapsulates the spirit of the sea and its underwater bounty. While remnants of the sea give the walls a picturesque oceanic touch, it is what comes to the table that makes Bahriyat a must-visit seafood restaurant. The flow of diners, even on a weekday, is proof enough of its growing popularity as one of the best seafood restaurants. The dinnerware, emulating seashells in varied incarnations, are crafted to imbue the sea mood on to every aspect of the restaurant.
The restaurant also has an impressive 12-seater ‘Captain’s Table’, which is curtained in thin wire mesh to give it a feel of exclusivity. Diners here get the head chef’s special bespoke menu and exclusive service. But that’s not to deny other guests the taste appeal of Bahriyat, which is contemporary in its approach and very local in its menu – Omani flavours infused with a modern twist in plating and presentation. The menu is crafted to pamper every seafood lover’s palate.
Its visual representation of the marine theme, alongside finger-licking dishes, is seamlessly complemented by the friendly staff, who know just how to make your dining experience special. Our gastronomical sea fare featured a selection of Bahriyat’s signature seafood delights, which, we were told, come straight from the Gulf of Oman. The taste, indeed, lies in its fresh appeal, which, with seafood, is a must to get things right. Having tucked into most of the popular dishes on the menu, we can vouch for the taste factor with the fresh appeal enhancing it.
Our Bahriyat tryst began with the complimentary breadbasket, accompanied with three special dips, rather spreads packed with cashew nuts, dry fish and olives. The cashew nuts spread is rich and the olives are yummy, but the dry fish one requires a cultivated palate. Our amuse-bouche for the evening was salmon maki roll with tomato foam.
Our seafood encounter was just beginning as our table got stocked up with a twosome soup deal – the Harees lobster soup. It is served with the soup in a separate bowl, showcasing the food grandeur of harees and lobster in another. You simply pour the soup on to the harees, accompanied with chilli paste and lemon wedges, to devour the softly cooked harees and the chunks of lobster. And then came the salads – an array of seafood in delightful combinations.
We had Classic Trio – a combination of Kasha Salad, Dried Shark Salad and Calamari Salad; Crab Salad, packed with fresh avocado, green chilli and tomato served with pita bread; and Cuttlefish Salad – Rocca salad, onion, fried cuttlefish with kasha fish dressing. For a seafood lover, there could be nothing more divine than finding ones favourite fish even in a salad. The crab salad is creamy and a melt in the mouth affair, while the cuttlefish variety, with its crispy fried pieces of cuttlefish, is a complete meal in itself. We devoured the salad with the gusto of a hungry diner.
Our mains were as elaborate as the soup and the salads. The Grilled Seafood Platter, a large dish featuring a combination of grilled tuna, salmon, prawns and cuttlefish completely overtook our table and overwhelmed us in its size and variety. And the taste… Amazing. The Kingfish Kabuli Sama looks like an oversized bun as it comes covered in baked dough. When the sheath is sliced, it opens to flavoured basmati rice cooked with kingfish and Omani spices.
We also had a taste of Omani style Salmon – salmon stew and potatoes served with cucumber pickle, coriander, onion and sumac with steamed rice.
Our generous hosts got us to taste their signature desserts – Cheese Kunafa and Um Ali ‘Surprise’. The kunafa featured a base of mild, stretchy white cheese with a topping of rich semolina pastry soaked in sweet rosewater syrup, while the Um Ali, which came in six mini bowls, proved to be an extravaganza of flavours, as each bowl was infused with different flavours – saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, rose-water and vanilla.
To state the obvious, we followed the foodie note – ‘sea food and eat it’.
Burp to that!
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