Re-thinking Michelin Stars

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I don’t know if you've been to Duqm. Even if you have, you might not have registered the fact, or even repressed the memory. It’s halfway between here and Salalah; you drive seven hours through frontier towns and post-apocalyptic, scrubby plateau. The landscape is broken up by the occasional Bedouin camp, each featuring palm-and-tarpaulin shades, camels, and at least one Lexus.

We drove there last week. Just as we were flagging, tired from the drive and unable to agree on the rules of Animal Alphabet, which I’d initiated to pass the time (judge rules 'Ammer'ead shark is NOT valid for A, nor Bear, Polar for B), we stopped to fuel up at one of the mirage-like Shell stations that shimmer into view every now and then, and went to the Pakistani restaurant next door for lunch.

For OMR 2 (that’s including a 20% tip), we both enjoyed a bellyful of daal, chapati, makboos and fried chicken. I’ve never had such a good deal, or daal. Each lentil was discernable, and the colour was vibrant, but somehow it tasted creamier than any I’ve tasted. The fried chicken was rippably tasty and tender and the chapatti hot and fresh. Totally restorative. And surprisingly, not at all heavy. Perfect for the road in fact, which made me think of the Michelin-starred food I've enjoyed since starting this blog, and how far removed those über-fancy meals are from the original recommendations by the Michelin Guide - so-called because it was sponsored by Michelin to direct French truckers to the bistros on their routes where they could find the most nourishing, tasty and filling foods. If, for the rest of my life, I only ate superlative creations by celebrated chefs, and rustic roadside rotis, I'd be fully content.

I don't have the address (or co-ordinates) of this place - it's a couple of hours before Duqm. On the right. Below you can see pictures of the restaurant, and I've included at the top one of the view from out outside the place, to help you locate it.

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