Thursday, 9 April 2015

Eating Out: SemSom

New restaurants are always exciting, and after reading some great reviews of Semsom, which is located in Muscat Grand Mall, I wanted to check it out.

Described as Lebanese with a twist, I didn't really know what to expect. I, wrongly, dump a lot of Arabic cuisine into the same category. There is a lot of crossover in my defence.

Let's start with the obvious. I had to order the pink hummus, the twist is clear, rather than the traditional chickpea and tahini mix there is the addition of summac, which gives the colour, and thyme, which gives it a tartness. The best part is picking it up with the fresh, hot bread that is served to the table regularly.

I made the ammateur mistake on filling up on the bread though: good bread is hard to come by and it's hard to not help yourself to just "one more bite". I couldn't finish my main, which was the marinated steak. The choice was mainly because everything else on the menu was a bit of a mystery. With no descriptives of the food and pictures that weren't that helpful in a lot of cases I didn't want to make a choice blind. Although from what I could see being served to other tables everything looked delicious.

The marinated steak was tender and juicy, and wrapped in flatbread with gherkins, other veg and sauce. The portion size was generous and I could barely finish the two sides you choose to come with it, in my case chips (always good) and an aubergine dish.

I did decide to go a bit more adventurous with my drink choice and ordered the Gellab, which turned out to be a date drink with nuts and raisins. It was very good, although the Ayran (yoghurt drink) probably would have complemented the food better.

A dinner for four (one side, four mains, and four drinks) cost around 30OMR, so not bad value for money. It is also worth noting that, unlike many other restaurants, the staff are really on top of the service, which adds to the pleasant experience.

I've noticed that a new Lebanese restaurant has opened in The Wave so my plan is to visit that next and see what Lebanese without a twist is meant to taste like.