Muscat's got a small-town feel, best expressed in the extreme likelihood of bumping into someone you know, wherever you go; always knowing who to recommend to a friend for any service or product they might need; and my favourite, which is when you walk into a restaurant or cafe and the staff automatically send our your usual. I like it a lot, it feels like an episode of Cheers. You know - sometimes you want to go where everybody knows what you order.
I have this experience in Moorish (where the coal guys start stoking up a lemon mint shisha on my arrival); and at the Intercontinental's Tomato restaurant the ebullient Chef Mario sends out his famous frittelli and pesto when Maurizio and I come in. Amazingly light, fresh-fried strips of pizza dough that puff up and come to the table salted and hot. It's so tasty. It's my favourite way to spoil my appetite.