Last night I went for a ruby murray with Mrs Sythe at the newly renovated Mumtaz Mahal. Now, it's been quite a few years since our last visit to the iconic curry house on the hill. I'm not really sure why we stopped going, I think because it was always full and you needed a reservation, you couldn't just turn up and have dinner.
The new renovations are both outside and inside, and include a canopy structure for the terrace outside, and the removal of the water feature on the inside, opening up the room. The old window slats have been replaced with new wooden blinds as well. The stage is still there but has been moved back a little and a lot of new art has been hung around the room, especially on the "art wall".
The staff all have new outfits, and the table-cloths are gone, with new tables and place mats and cutlery now making an appearance. Seating outside on the terrace (not quite ready yet - probably mid September) will be 10 tables, or up to 40 people, while inside there are tables of varying sizes to seat up to 130 people. Another new addition is the private banquet hall, which is a room which can be split into 2, each side seating 8 people comfortably, or 16 in it's extended format.
Now the pricing, I have to say, I was really surprised at. I had this opinion in my head that it was really expensive, but honestly it's the same price range as Traders or Pavo's or many of the other higher-tier restaurants in town. And it is a unique restaurant in this category - it's the only high-end curry house that I can think of in town.
Starters range from RO 2.200 to 3.400
Seafood mains range from RO 6.900 to 18.000 (lobster)
Lamb mains range from RO 5.500 to 9.000
Chicken mains range from RO 5.000 to 5.500
Vegetarian mains range from RO 2.500 to 3.500
There is also a very extensive (and new) wine list, with some wines available by the glass starting at around RO 4.000, and bottles starting around RO 20.000. Beers are available in draught (Tiger, Heineken and one other I can't remember - RO 3.200 a pint) as well as in bottles (many, but yes, Kingfisher is available).
The food on the menu is not, as is typical here in Muscat, almost all North Indian, there's dishes from all corners of India, including quite a few South Indian dishes (which I was happy to see). The food we ordered was all delicious, I highly recommend the Samosa's to start.
All in all, approximately RO 35.000 including taxes and service charge, 2 starters, 2 mains and a side dish, a shared desert, a couple of beers and a bottle of water for a nice dinner with live music and excellent waiting staff is a price I'm happy to pay again. Yes I could pop down to the local biriyani house and have a tasty curry, but it's not all about taste (although it's important, and there was no problem with the food we had at Mumtaz Mahal), it's about the ambience, the views and the service that make a trip out for a meal special.
You can call Mumtaz Mahal on 2460 5907 for more information and to make a reservation.