Bahriyat: The Mediterranean Muse of Muscat

If you’re on the lookout for a Mediterranean restaurant that puts the focus on seafood, then drop your anchor at Bahriyat, and meet Cluster Executive Chef Vito Fornelli who turns your water dwellers into succulent dishes, serving up coastal favourites from the brine, right in the heart of the city.

Bahriyat is a seafood restaurant with a modern twist and has recently relaunched an exciting new Mediterranean menu, crafted by the Italian Chef himself to incorporate new flavours from both sea and kitchen.

While some seafood restaurants attempt to create a refined dining experience in a formal setting, Bahriyat, on the other hand, aims for a casual, homely experience for the whole family.

The juxtaposition of sea-inspired, whimsical ambience and contemporary decor serves a unique atmosphere that takes the diners into an underwater wonderland. With ornamental touches such as candle replicas and shells.

Upon arrival, I was familiarly greeted and shown to my seat; one that was facing a creative wall designed to depict an exposed aquarium. I sat down to explore the new menu, an edited selection of contemporary seafood dishes, fire-kissed grills, and even a seafood Biryani. Undecided on what to order, I asked the waiter to surprise me with a few dishes.

The seafood items at Bahriyat are hand-picked every morning from the fish market, by the restaurant’s connoisseur roster of chefs, offering a clean, palatable experience full of oceanic aromas. The dining experience began with a petite salmon hors d’oeuvre covered in sesame seeds as a welcoming bite.  After a few minutes, the starter plates were served, with the first being a Peruvian delicacy infused with Mediterranean spices: Ceviche. The plate presented thinly sliced sea bream, bathed in a lemon chili dressing, garnished with coriander leaves and semi-dried cherry tomatoes. The dish was packed with mildly zesty flavours with both a delicate texture and finish.

Lobster ravioli encircled with colourful citrus carrot cream, and topped with fragrant coriander leaves was the second dish. This Italian favourite came beautifully presented. The blend of homemade pasta and lobster with carrot cream served an interesting flavor. Folks who love creamy, slightly sweet purees will love this dish.

The following plate was a squid ink dish. It’s been ages since I had an aesthetically-black dish, so this was particularly exciting to try. The black risotto base had grilled calamari and semi-dried tomatoes gently perched on top of the glistening mound, and it tasted amazing. Visually, black-hues may not be for everyone, but the taste is impeccably delicious.

After demolishing the risotto, I dived into roasted halibut with its crispy olive crust, served with tomatoes, smoky eggplant, and a bunch of herbs. The fish tasted superb, and the eggplant was a nice addition, but the highlight here was the olive crust. It added such a strong, distinct flavour to the dish. Just perfect.

To finish the symphony of main courses, I tried the sea bream fillet, cooked with a crispy skin, and served with cherry tomatoes, young fennels, and baby beetroots. This dish, for me, was the star of the show. The marriage of succulent fish, root flavours and a delicate sweetness from the tomato, delivered this pièce de résistance dish. Would I order this again? You bet.

For dessert, I enjoyed a creamy hazelnut praline mousse. Showcasing a smooth, nutty aroma with lashings of chocolate goodness ; quite possible the sweetest way to end a dining experience at Bahriyat.

As I finished the supper, Chef Vito greeted his guests and explained the dishes sampled. “I noticed that the plating is quite simple and clean, and the flavours are carefully selected? Is this the theme of the restaurant?” I asked. “Yes definitely, it’s more about simplicity and making sure that what we put on the plate looks good and tastes good. Nowadays in the kitchen, there is a big revolution with molecular cuisine. Personally, I prefer simplicity, taste and great presentation.” said the chef.

I truly had an quality-seafood experience, and I would recommend lovers of all-things-sea to stop by and try their new menu, it’s worth every bite. And, for those picky eaters who are not a fan of seafood, they can order dishes such as vegetarian homemade ricotta ravioli, baked chicken or a succulent tenderloin of beef.

Bahriyat brings to Muscat a new food destination for the seafood lovers. Homemade dishes from the heart of the family, presented with a soft sophistication and a warm soul. All served with the freshest seafood flavours trawled from the coast of Oman.

Experience Bahriyat and be transported to the Mediterranean; you can thank me later.