Juicy burgers and fancy mocktails? Check. Upbeat bangers and live music? Check. Flamboyant ambiance and jolly waiters? Check and check. The new Bistro 64 is on-point across the board.
What more could artsy youngsters and the young-at-heart ask for from a new Muscat dining destination? I had been anxiously anticipating the opening after spying the colourful graphics gracing the windows of the Jawharat Al Shatti storefront. I pictured the diner as one of those places that hit you with a jazzy, playful vibe, serving up unusual food and playing good music. Thankfully, my instincts were right.
A few weeks after the opening, I arrived at the restaurant. Upon entering, I was welcomed by a set of hand-drawn Archangel wings painted on a large black canvas behind a photo booth. As my waiter escorted me to a rounded corner table, I took in the dreamy, whimsical ambiance. A colourful ecosystem, everything from the seats, to the plates to the coffee mugs, tissues, and toothpicks are comprised of an electric rainbow of harsh greens, blues, yellows, and reds. Exotic, graphic art adorns the colourful walls and table tops. Rather than chaos, these striking visuals lend a “good-vibes-only” retro sensation to the place. Near the drinks counter, a little stage is set for open-mic sessions with a guitar tuned and ready to play if any guests start feeling a jam session coming on. But what about the food?
Bistro 64’s menu is quite extensive, featuring what they call “classic American and Italian bites with a twist”. I selected a few dishes and asked the waiter to surprise me with a few more, and soon, a parade of colourful plates started rolling out.
With a veritable feast before me, I scanned the table, trying to decide what to taste first. My love for cookies is endless, so I went straight for the beautifully presented “biscky shake”, a thick, creamy shake made of vanilla ice cream blended with lotus biscuits and finished with a sprinkle of crushed cookie crumbs, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and a cute lotus biscuit stuck on top. It was all the creamy-cookie-goodness I had hoped it would be. It did, however, it made me thirsty, so I reached for the “Green Lantern”, a lime-green detox-inspired juice that turned out to be a sweet, refreshing combination of apple and cucumber.
Cookie fix sated and thirst quenched, I started to dig in to the culinary offerings, starting with “the gunpowder”, Bistro 64’s version of the famous French-Canadian dish, poutine. The gigantic plate of crispy, fresh-cut potato wedges comes topped with beef chili con carne, cheddar cheese, and a bit of jalapeño, finished off with their fiery, “secret gunpowder” mayonnaise. Spicy, cheesy, totally delicious. Turning to the mains, a parade of steaks and pastas, the classic grilled rib eye steak stood out as it was perfectly cooked and slathered in tamarind sauce. It is worth noting that the portions are huge. I sampled and sipped until I came upon the real star of the show, the homemade “Wellington Burger Off”.
A plate stacked with crisp-fried rounds drizzled in a salty-sweet Chinese hoisin sauce arrived. I picked one up and took a bite. I was confused. I couldn’t quite grasp what I was tasting. I took another bite, savoured the slightly sweet pastry that crunched, giving way to a juicy, tender beef patty within. The subtle Chinese flavours, coupled with the amazing blend of textures, made it one of the most unfamiliar, entertaining, and delicious dishes I’ve had in recent memory.
Bistro 64 has a fantastic, trendy ambiance. It has live bands and plays killer jams. The restaurant serves colourful mocktails and surprising, playful food. It does all this amid a psychedelic kaleidoscope of colours in one of the most popular areas of town. In short, Bistro 64 is a party. And it’s a good one. —[email protected]
Jawharat Al Shatti, Qurum
+968 2460 1343
Facebook & Instagram: @bistro64oman
Hours: 10AM - 11PM
Burger Off - OMR4.2
Biscky shake - OmR2.5
Gunpowder - OMR2.8
Big MissSteak (rib eye) - OMR8.5