Ramadan mubarak everyone! The Holy Month is here again. That means fasting for Muslims during daylight hours, respectful abstention in public by non-Muslims, and come sundown a general atmosphere of happiness and celebration.
Most restaurants have something special going on during Ramadan, and I was super happy to see that Grand Hyatt Muscat's Marjan has been set up for shisha and some seriously delicious traditional foods. I love that place, partly because it's all tucked away and romantic, partly because of its slow-cooked beef stew. I also love its versatility: family poolside joint by day, intimate pan-Asian restaurant by night. I'm a big fan of optimum utilisation - it pleases my commercial instincts and was one of the first things I blogged about here. And now with Marjan's subtly-done tenting and some serious cooling unit tonnage, it's all ready for its third incarnation, a lively Ramadan venue for long-into-the-night lounging with good friends and good food.
We tried the tent pre-Ramadan. (The German-supporting team at the Hyatt had toiled to get it ready in time to test it out on Thursday evening, just in time for the Germany-USA match by an odd coincidence, so we went along for the evening.) It's easily cool enough to spend the evening in, with huge TV screens to showcase the rest of the World Cup (expect a Deutsche-bias), really comfy seating with lots of cushions and a nod towards your majlis-type seating, a million-dollar view of the garden, pool and beach; and the food was fabulous. Just tasty and moreish, with lots of local favourites like hummus and stuffed vine leaves, a grill selection cooked to perfection, and sweet, melting baklava. The shisha's great too; the pipe barely left my hand all night. I love what they've done with the place.