Muscat: If you are looking to immerse yourself in rich Omani heritage and culture, there is no better way than to go through the food route, and the newly opened Al Loomie helps you do just that.
Stepping into the Al Loomie, which means “The Dried Lemon” restaurant, you will find yourself in a little village surrounded with mini fort like structures. It feels like a traditional Omani village, only this village offers everything ‘Omani’ with an exciting twist.
Located in the plush premises of the Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz Carlton Hotel, this unique Omani eatery promises to be a gastronomic delight for all its diners, whether it’s with their great mix of delicious beverages, appetisers, main course, soups and desserts or just the pleasing ambience, everything forms a part of the culinary experience.
The brainchild of celebrated Chef Salim Al Kalbani and Amal al Khabouri, an Omani husband and wife team that love to cook with passion, the restaurant boasts independent forts as dining areas, where 65 diners can sit and enjoy Omani food in privacy. All the forts are named after areas in the country—Muscat, Khabourah, Rustaq, and Salalah among others.
It all starts from when visitors step into the restaurant village, where they get a generous Omani welcome, and are taken into a lovely waiting lounge, and offered a selection of the day’s welcome drink.
Right from the start to finish, all tasks are done by the restaurant’s 100 per cent Omani staff, all of which are handpicked by Chef Salim and Amal. Although a majority of them have no prior experience in Omani cuisine, they were recruited by the duo with the belief that young Omanis can be taught and will eventually do wonders.
Amal and Salim were confronted with people asking them to hire expats, who would be more cost effective, however they decided otherwise.
To give the diners a truly Omani experience, the owners have also dedicated one of the forts to a display of handicrafts made by local craftsmen. Some of the works are also display in all of the dining areas and every art, craft, silver or gold piece you see on the walls is for sale.
Chef Salim was part of the Milan Expo 2015, where he represented Oman with its food for a whole week. There was one chef from every country and Chef Salim was the only one from Oman. He was also on the the same platform as the Food Network and Michelin Star chefs.
On his engagement with food and the concept behind Al Loomie, Chef Salim says, “We try to do things differently, and I don’t try to steer away from the flavours of food, but the way its presented. I try to make a lot of fusions of food but staying true to the flavours, our presentationsare different, not something you see everyday.”
“Everybody who tries our food says that it tastes like home cooked food, it triggers a memory from something that their mothers had cooked or grandmothers had made, something they have had back home,” said Amal.
Although Al Loomie is only open for dinner from 6pm onwards, they are also open for group lunches which need to be pre-booked. The restaurant usually welcomes walk-ins, however if you had any food specifications to mention, it is better to call them in advance. Call +968 9097 6666 to book a place today.