Kargeen means 'the little wooden cottage' in ancient Omani, the restaurant is a blend of the east with some classical western elements, creating a welcoming space of tranquility. A large place with two distinct dining spaces and a terrace.
A dim space with high ceiling painted in white, a grey concrete floor and large black tables topped with glass. High sofas that are not too relaxing and lots of cushions with one big chandelier rounding out the place. Lounge music plays in the background.
We arrived at 4pm, people were still having lunch, tables were left dirty from guests who left earlier. We sat and were given the menus.
My friend tells me Kargeen is one of the country's best restaurants so we came here for traditional food. It's a fancy restaurant with high standards, flowers decorate the tables, a buzzer for the waiters and a huge menu wrapped with leather... Open it to live the deception.
It's more of a book not a menu, 54 pages printed on black, black paper with italic white letters that are difficult to read. It has anything one could dream of having in a restaurant. From breakfast to pasta, pizza, starters, an Arabic corner, Arabic breads, soups, salads, main courses, barbecue, Omani food, Arabic food, shawarma, crepes, sweets, beverages and drinks.
The menu is a disaster, a big deception from such a restaurant. The book, filled with ads, is pathetic. I've rarely if ever seen a restaurant menu with ads. 54 pages of everything! How can a chef prepare everything? How can the food be fresh? The world is specializing into things and there are still restaurants who pretend to master the art of everything? Anyway, let's taste and see.
We ordered two local specialties. Ghoozy and shuwa. Shuwa is lamb meat wrapped in banana leaf, spiced with local mixes and cooked for 24 hours. Served with chutney and margarine. Ghoozy is rice mixed with lamb and nuts wrapped in bread and aromatized with rose water.
A bread envelope, stuffed with rice that's too dry for my taste and meat chunks which are tender and tasty reminding me of our rizz 3a djeij. It surely needs some sauce, because two bites were enough to block my appetite. It's too dry and hard to swallow.
The Shuwa is interesting. Strongly spiced, the meat is extremely tender, spicy and strong in flavor, as if all your palatial buds are going off at once. It leaves a long lasting after note and a good last impression. The rice is tender and the sauce well balanced.
What I like most is the water, "SNO" sparkling water imported from Iceland, strongly fizzy and clear water. I had been drinking sparkling water since the morning and this one is by far the best. Better than San Pellegrino or Perrier or even Badoit.
Service: Extremely slow
Not my kind of place: overrated.