The rush of pleasure that overtakes you when you think of Oman is something cognizant of every individual living in this breathtaking beauty. A tapestry woven with history, nature and hospitality that never fails. Oman, the land of wonder, the land of rugged mountains and the land of generosity that ensures a smile and a steaming cup of Arabic coffee — no matter where you go.
Such is the poetry of our home, and with this abundance comes the very delicious food. Omani cuisine has no pretence, it plays havoc on your senses with earthy flavours derived from the ingredients themselves. No gimmicks, just food you can share with family and friends any time of the day.
Giving the same vibes is a little café tucked away in Ghubra — Dukanah. You walk in and you’ve entered another era. The era that ruminates on our ancestors living a simple life. Packed mud walls, sturdy wooden furniture laid with colourful tapestry and artefacts from the past, Dukanah sets the mood for a hearty meal. We picked 2 appetisers, 2 mains and a dessert, all served with a whole lot of love.
HE SAID: Our appetisers included 3 different types of Samboosas that you can order by the piece. We loved the meat and chicken immensely; the cheese was great as well. These were served with a delectable Omani style tamarind sauce. On the other hand, the beetroot salad was delicious though it had simple ingredients such as Rocca leaves, shredded beetroot, baby tomato, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses.
SHE SAID: The idea of Samboosas by the piece works wonderfully, you order more of what you like! Unfortunately, they ran out of the meat and chicken ones too soon. Mildly spiced stuffing of shredded meat and chicken, these were out of the world, not heavy, and the sour tamarind on the side only served to enhance the flavours. The beetroot salad we picked as our second starter was light, crisp and super fresh. The earthy ingredients laced with the molasses sauce cleansed our palates and made way for our mains.
HE SAID: Our mains were Harees and the Dukanah Meal. Harees is a dish made of wheat and chicken cooked with fragrant spices for a long period. It was served in a bowl and topped with a generous amount of ghee. While it had the authentic Omani essence, the dish was not beaten enough so that the wheat turns to a thick purée and the chicken turns to fine threads (harees means purée). The Dukanah Meal is the true meaning of celebrations — all the famous dishes, eaten on Eid, in one platter. The Mishkak and Qaliyah (Omani version of kebab skewers and meat stew) were cooked to perfection and served with honey, tamarind sauce, diced tomato, thin slices of onion and two types of Omani breads. Well done to the chef as she has mastered the true Omani taste.
SHE SAID: Harees — my one true love. They’ve elevated it to another level but adding actual chunks of chicken. He prefers it more mashed up but for me, it was an absolute delight. Served with fragrant Ghee, fried onions and date molasses, this dish is every bit flavourful yet not overpowering, filling but not killing! The Dukanah Meal on the other hand ticks every box is known to foodies. Three different types of meat — the meat and chicken Mishkak along with Qaliyah (fried meat) were super soft and the condiments really drove the point home. Do dip your Qaliyah in honey before you take a bite and see those tastebuds roll.
HE SAID: We had Khabisa (very similar to Porridge), a simple dessert made of flour, sugar and ghee, flavoured with saffron, cardamom and rose water. Dukanah had its own twist to the dish and made it extremely soft. It had a balance of sweetness and was not overpowered by saffron, cardamom and rose water. The addition of condensed milk was remarkable.
SHE SAID: I haven’t had the pleasure of trying many Omani desserts, so this was a fun experience. We picked Khabisa — a flour-based dessert cooked with milk, honey, and butter. It felt like a cross between a rice pudding and custard with an almost caramelised aftertaste which was absolutely mind-blowing. I may have to sneak back when he’s not looking!
WE SAID: Dukanah is a journey, an even more impressive one when you realise that the chef is from the Philippines and cooks with the heart of an Omani. A mid-range restaurant that has great ambience and awesome service. Would we go back? Oooh yes!
Taste of food: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
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