One lunchtime, Team Oman Magazine decided to visit Lino’s Oman; an intimate franchise cafe promising an authentic Italian experience, so who better to take with us than an Italian pasta-fanatic? And so, in came the cavalry…
Lino’s Cafe in Muscat presents black painted walls, full length images of olive trees and coffee beans and an impressive collection of typewriters, horns, trumpets and a gramophone. The cafe eludes to an owner who holds a candle for Italy; its cuisine and its warm culture. Much like the people of Oman, Italians like to deliver authentic hospitality and generosity. Such traits are true of the dishes served at Linos; just look at the portion sizes.
We started with a Chicken Caesar Salad to sample; well-cooked chicken breast served on a bed of well-dressed salad. There was no artificial dressing to be found, just a pleasant rounded flavour.
For mains, we moved onto the Chicken & Mushroom Alfredo Pasta and Penne Arrabbiata. Now, for those of you that don’t know, Alfredo was a term created in 1914 by a man named Alfredo di Lelio who was trying to cook something to please his pregnant wife. He created a sauce made from parmesan cheese and butter and poured it over some fettuccine. In today’s modern and international world, the dish has seen fusion and is often served with cream (as it is in Lino’s Oman). Despite this not being a traditional Italian service-style, only the purists would turn their noses. Lino’s serves a delicious and comforting Alfredo Fettuccine with thick ribbons of egg pasta, succulent champignons and plenty of black pepper. Heavy? Yes. But aren’t all dishes with cream intended to be?
Now, moving onto the Penne Arrabbiata. This vegetarian tomato-based dish had balanced flavours, beautifully pan-fried aubergines, zucchini, black olive and mixed veggies. Our only qualm was that the pasta could have been cooked for a minute or two less. Giving us that ‘al dente’ bite in every mouthful.
Sadly, we were unable to manage a dessert on this occasion, but can vouch that the thick indulgent Italian Hot Chocolate and Cappuccino to-go, were a perfect ending to a satisfying lunch. With excellent pricing and relaxing music to match, Lino’s is the ideal spot for a casual breakfast, lunch or early dinner.