OMAN Magazine visits the signature modern Omani restaurant in Shatti, Ubhar. The name was inspired by the city of ‘Ubar’ located in the desert of the Empty Quarters in Oman and Ubhar’s brand was created to present this city through a fusion of both modern and traditional concepts of Omani architecture, hospitality and cuisine. After many efforts to unveil traces of this historical city, Ubar was uncovered in 1992 by international scientists.
Ubhar’s brand aims to reflect the significance of this discovery to modern Oman. Ubhar’s menu offers an array of dishes that showcase both new infused Omani cuisine and traditional Omani food served by team of Omani hospitality professionals managed by Sandeep C.K, Restaurant Manager.
We get to know with Executive Chef, Kenza El Alami to find out the secrets of Oman’s most loved local restaurant.
Q: So how did it all start?
It all started in 2008 when the original team opened Ubhar Restaurant, my kitchen is still the same staff, but with better tricks and taste than ever before. Years of practice makes perfect!
Q: What experience do you deliver to your guests?
We believe in giving our guests the full Omani experience where traditional meets modernity. You might have noticed the frankincense is lit ahead of our guest’s arrival and the restaurant is filled with the senses of Oman; it’s smell, decor, enchanting music, ornaments and of course, then comes the food…
Q: For those who have never tried Omani cuisine, which are the must-try signature dishes?
That’s definitely the Shuwa, Shuwa, Shuwa; all of our guests, both new and old, really want the beef shuwa. It’s succulent, juicy and extremely lean. For a varied supper, I would personally recommend starting with the Seeniyat Al Wali, Cheese and mint samosa, katchori with coconut sauce, lemon grass kebabs filo pastry money bags with chicken shawarma filling, served with hummus and Moroccan Tarator, followed by Kabuli Mahshi, Omani beef Shuwa and kabouli rice covered with pastry, and would finish it all off with an Ubhar’s Dream, Traditional Omani halwa in puff pastry served with frankincense ice cream; it’s really a foodies paradise.
Q: So, what’s the secret? How does it taste so good?
Our lips are sealed! But we can tell you that it’s made with a lot of love. People often ask us, ‘which spices are used in the shuwa?, but this has become a sort-of family secret with the staff at Ubhar, who assist Chef Kenza in hand preparing the exotic blend of Omani flavours. Our kitchen prepares everything in house, from handmade rose petal and frankincense ice-cream to the carefully blended spice mixes.