Soaked in music, stars

HOW about a true Omani hospitality under the stars? It’s a scene straight from the Arabian nights with celebration of food, music, stars, culture including fashion, arts and crafts.
Welcome to Bedouin-style camp at the Al Bandar beach at Shangri La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, where guests get to experience the authentic traditions of the Sultanate.
Styled ‘Qanadeel’, the Arabic word for lantern, the special night provides an ideal opportunity for people to experience an exciting dining experience along with traditional live entertainment.
The camp comes to life every Friday evening at sunset when the open sandpit fire is lit and vintage lanterns are placed in the sand to decorate the beach. Hence the term ‘Qanadeel’ aptly fits the mood.
Guests are greeted cheerfully by hostesses, Tahra al Jabri and Fatima Fayad. They make the guests indulge in the festivities and brief the significance of cultural heritage. They introduce the guests to the ritual of ‘Qahwa’ coffee and henna painting.
Lahiya al Quraini from Suwaiq, a local artisan, who works on handicrafts at the camp, is happy that her work gets ample exposure. She has been making bags, mats, cotton rolls, pillows, bracelets and basket weaving since long. Guests and European tourists evince keen interest in her intricate work. Food is served on the beach with Omani folkloric music.
You can also see artisans work on handicrafts while local retailers display traditional goods and authentic artefacts ranging from jewellery, rugs, frankincense and rose water which guests can purchase as souvenirs to remember the beauty and culture of the Sultanate.
Guests are also greeted by Bushra and Ameena, the pair of camels at the entrance.
For Marielle and Jeroen family from The Netherlands, the experience was truly mind blowing. They came to Oman with three of their little daughters Philine, Victoire and Fauve for a short vacation to escape the extreme winter. Marielle, founder-cum-owner of Zaamen, says their dinner amidst Omani music with bagpipes among moon-lit stars was something totally new which will make them remember their visit for long and appreciated the Omani hospitality.
Marco Syrbe, Executive Assistant Manager of Food and Beverage, Shangri La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, the brain behind the concept, says it marks a paradigm shift of working closer towards culture and heritage of Oman.
While coming up with the concept, Marco says they took into consideration all things that make Oman unique ranging from music, to fashion and cuisine and how best to showcase these elements. “Our Omani colleagues were instrumental and extremely passionate about making Qanadeel happen, recommending and suggesting the essential features of traditional Omani life that are important to include so that visitors experience Omani hospitality.”
“Qanadeel not only is a pop-up restaurant serving Omani cuisine, but it is much more,” explains Caitriona Gaffney, Director of Communications. “The initial inspiration for Qanadeel was to culturally connect guests to Oman and pay homage to Sultanate with an authentic experience,” she says. “The set-up represents a traditional Bedouin camp and an ideal opportunity for hotel guests, tourists and even residents of Muscat to experience true Omani hospitality first-hand.”
Sharif Khan from Kashmir, India, sells traditional Omani jewels at the stall and informs the big demand for traditional silver jewels especially for ‘stone of love’ and quartz, both precious and semi-precious ones. He also sells silver jewellery, gem stones, handicrafts, hand-made papier-mâché and gift boxes made in Kashmir.
The menu is an exquisite selection of exotic dishes from the talented culinary team which includes halwa, shuwaa, fresh seafood, kebbeh with garlic sauce, Shorbat Adas (lentil soup), Dijaj Mashwi (grilled chicken) and shawarma rolls, falafels and many more.
Live cooking stations include Omani bread making by Azza, hammour carving, Omani shuwaa and Char grill station. Stone baked in the ground for 48-hours, the Omani shuwaa (traditionally cooked whole lamb served with Omani rice) is a specialty.
Qanadeel is a celebration of Oman’s food and music. Launched in October 2017, Qandeel is open all Fridays till May end.