Oman dining: How about a delicious Pakistani buffet at Haveli this weekend?

T-Mag Wednesday 11/January/2017 17:28 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman dining: How about a delicious Pakistani buffet at Haveli this weekend?

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Pakistani cuisine is fragrant biryani, thick, dense flavourful curries, and oil-brushed (sometimes stuffed) breads. This is a nation that takes their rice, breads, and meats seriously. I can relate, as we Arabs take our meat-and-rice lunches pretty seriously, too.

What I had never though of in terms of Pakistan food before, however, was breakfast. So, when I heard about Haveli, an authentic Pakistani joint in Ghubra, who were said to have a fantastic weekend brunch, I was eager to check it out.

Located in Al Ghubra, near Ghala’s Oman Oil station, just opposite Bank Muscat and Pizza Hut, Haveli wasn’t too difficult to find, thanks in large part to the massive signboard bearing the restaurant’s name. As I stepped inside, I was hit with the familiar aroma of chicken biryani. At that moment, I knew I’d found a very happy place.

The place is quite spacious with a perfectly shaded interior adorned with purple, blood maroon, and wooden accents on the walls and sofas. Though it has a massive seating area, the whole space has a cosy, family diner feel.

I found a table and learned that in addition to daily buffet lunches and dinners and an ala carte menu, the restaurant offered a weekend brunch each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10am-3pm. I was glad to have made it on the weekend, as the spread looked nothing short of lavish.

I rolled my dishdasha sleeves and headed for the buffet line where I found rices, Pakistani curries, mutton, chicken, grilled platters, fresh breads, and, of course, traditional sweets and desserts.
For my first plate, I couldn’t resist a generous scoop of chicken biryani, cooked the traditional way with Haveli’s own specialty masala blend and topped with crispy, caramelised onions and mint. I enjoyed every bite of the flavourful rice, which was only moderately spiced. I quickly went in for round two, going a little cuckoo with the curries.

We all know how Pakistanis rock their curries, so with a little help from the friendly waiters, I selected their three signature stews. The paya curry was a light, soup broth simmered with mutton bone, ginger, lemon, and green chillies. The flavours were impeccable, reminding me of my mother’s coconut bone soup. The chicken kurma, was a dense yoghurt curry made with smashed onions and topped with aromatic cardamom pods, a rich, delicate curry in which the flavours of cardamom and the other spices mingled perfectly. Finally, I tasted Nihari, which I learned was one of the most beloved dishes in Pakistan, and a breakfast favourite.

The famed dish consists of a thick tomato-based stew made by slowly simmering beef and bones overnight. The next morning, the stew is served with fresh naan and garnished with fresh ginger, sliced chilli, and a wedge of lime. It was heavenly. Soft bread soaking up all the meaty flavours of the broth, and the pieces of meat so tender that they melted in the mouth, and all the richness cut by the sharp, fresh slivers of ginger, and the citric pop of lime. With my feast I was able to sample a range of breads, including thin, crispy, light-as-air poori; taftan bread, a clay-oven-baked flatbread flavoured with saffron, a bit cardamom, and brushed with oil before being sprinkled with seeds; and my favourite, sheermal naan, a sweet, saffron-flavoured flatbread.

If you haven’t tried Pakistani food, you would be wise to indulge as soon as possible, as these distinctive dishes offer a true culinary adventure of flavours. And if you do, the homey ambiance, comfortingly rich foods, and amazing variety at Haveli might just be the perfect introduction to home-style Pakistani cooking in Muscat. [email protected]

Go for a pakistani brunch
Haveli Restaurant
Al Ghubra Street, Athaiba
(Next to Royal Hospital)
+968 2459 5288/ +968 9176 4210

Brunch Thursday to Saturday, 10am-3pm
Price: OMR4.200, all-inclusive