The Waiter Attitude Adjustment Team
When the waiters give you no respect.. give us a call.
We'll give em hell, or we'll cause one hell of a scene.
TWAAT started in January 98. In Ramadhan people go out and spend most of their time in outdoor coffeeshops. It was in these coffeeshops that the spark that launched TWAAT was ignited. We started out by reviewing coffeeshops, but that's not all what we are about. Soon we will have reports on all establishments that offend us with their lack of respect for their customers. We also want to hear from you about your experiences. If you there is any place u want us to write about, or any experience you want us to publish please email us .
Holiday Inn have put up a big tent in their parking lot. Last year it was supposedly the place to be at, except last year was a sheesha free year in Muscat. This year with all the competition the Holiday Inn has been lost in the shuffle. When we visited it was quite empty but the waiter promised that the people start coming in after 11:30.
Briefly: The place was dead. Other than singing along with Fairuz and smoking a sheesha there was nothing. No people watching factor to add in. This place actually has a cover charge of two rials per table. Well they don't call it a cover charge but they bring u three plates of chick peas and other beans and u have no choice but pay for them. It's like "these come with the table, but they're not complementary." The price of a sheesha is 1 rial only, but guess what? You have to take two. Well the way they do it is bring you the sheesha with a spare head already packed and put aside. The food was disappointing. On the plus side: you get endless free refills on tea. The deceptive pricing is unnecessary and makes the whole experience something we don't want to repeat.
Kargeen in MQ is the most unique of all our cafés. The café itself appears to be completely furnished with antique and scrap material. Inside it is small and cozy. It is family owned and the owner and his wife are always there helping and chatting with the customers.
Kargeen have always had a problem with their service. It used to be that the blame was put on the fact that they were forced to employ fresh Omanis from the National Hospitality Institute. I believe that the new labor and Omanization laws do not allow anyone to hire non-omanis when it comes to new recruitment. Service was bad but it was excused because the guys were new and still getting used to the work. Well now it is 3 months later and it's Ramadhan, Kargeen have taken half of the yard infront of them in the square behind the MQ shops and put a tent on one corner and split the remaining area into family and non-family sections. They have a grill and serve grilled and traditional arabic foods.
Kargeen is probably the second most popular place this Ramadhan, especially for the twenty-somethings and non-arabs. The prices are a bit in the high end and they were deliberately priced that way to make it a more "choice" place. However if you were paying 2 rials for a sheesha and 1 rial for tea, don't you expect to get service that matches the price? We we first went to Kargeen in the beginning or Ramadhan and decided to hold our final opinion on the place. The service was bad and the seesha was so bad that it was unredeamable. Now it is just about three weeks into Ramadhan, the place deserves a second chance. We started out as a group of four but soon there were 7 on our table. Sheesha was good and so was the tea. We didn't order any food. Service however is still as bad as it ever was. We were on the second table outside the café's door and still we were having trouble finding someone to take our order and when we did we still had to wait unbelievably long periods for orders to come. One of our group ordered a sheesha and waited close to fourty minutes. The sheesha kept dying out and trying to get someone to change the coal is quite an experience.
We like Kargeen's style atmosphere. We keep hearing that their food is good though we've never tried it ourselves. But it is not acceptable to have to keep calling the waiter to remind him of your order. It is not acceptable when you ask for a drink and an hour later it's still not there. Guy's you need to get your act together.
The newly renamed Gulf Forum Hotel was the first hotel in Oman to do a Ramadhan tent two years ago. That year it was the only public place in Muscat to be allowed to have sheeshas. Two years onward every café serves sheesha, so what has Gulf Hotel done to stand out?
Gulf Hotel is the only hotel in Oman with its own vantage point. It is located on a hilltop in the exclusive Qurm area. From Gulf Hotel's pool side you can see as far as away as Ghubrah and even further. All of Madinat Al-A3lam and MSQ is there for you to see, as well as Sarooj with the Muscat Intercontinental, Hyatt Regency, and the Sheraton Beach Resort. It is the most beautiful view in Oman. The hotel is one of the oldest in Oman but it is currently undergoing a complete renovation. A new extension is underway and the management has now been taken over by Forum Hotels (an Intercontinental company).
This year Gulf Hotel doesn't have a tent. Sheesha and arabic food are served by the pool. We were surprised by how empty it was. Despite the amazing view and the good weather, there were only three other tables occupied. An immediate minus was recorded for the terrible egyptian pop music that was playing. When we asked for the music changed we were baffled by the choice of the Theme from Layali Al-7ilmiya. However sanity soon prevailed and our beloved Um Kalthoum was soon on singing Anta 3umri. We ordered sheesha and mint tea as soon as we were seated. Tea was soon on our table and we discovered that it was regular tea, no mint. As if anyone ever orders regular tea these days?! No big thing, though, we found a waiter who actually speaks English and elaborately explained to him the boring mechanics of making mint tea. We used simple words and small, easy to follow steps. Mint tea was served. Sheesha was blah for lack of a better word. The food was just plain bland. If not for the view and the fact that we TWAATers give give each other good company, we would have left no more than half an hour after entering. However we were in a good mood, and the view was good so we stayed.
It is sad in a way to see Gulf Hotel suffering in this way, but we just can't recommend it.
Yesterday two thirds of TWAAT made an unscheduled stop at 3asfoor plaza. no attitude adjustments were planned for the evening as one third of the team was absent. however we were tempted by the tent inside the plaza and decided to give it a try.
Atmosphere: not your usual sheesha joint. This might be the first ever arabic sheesha cafe located in a french cafe. The location is in the middle of the shopping district, and the fact that the tent is actually located inside the building letting you see shoppers come and go as you bubble away makes for an interesting night out. The place is quiet and the music of Um Kulthoum is in the air.. This is definitely a relaxing place to be...
Sheesha: we give Le Rendezvous our highest sheesha score thus far. The sheesha was tended to very promptly, the coal was always replaced in time.. very high on the sheesha expertise. compliments to the sheesha master.
Taste: m3assal was of the finest variety.. it seemed to burn forever.. we had our fill in an hour and the sheesha was still going. The coal was changed 3 times in that hour.
Food: Well, perhaps a bit of a down here. No real food, only biscuits, cakes and assorted pastries, as well as some french sandwiches. However the date cookies are a must. Have a cup of mint tea with some cookies. Sheesha and tea, must there be more?
Conclusion: If you wanna get away from where all the rush... if you wanna lay back against some cushions under a tent, having a great sheesha, listening to great music and watching the shoppers pass by with the occasional glance from the users at the cybercafe across the floor... we highly recommend Le Rendezvous. It may not be where all the happening people are, but apparently the happening people ain't that happening...
Saturday Jan 10, 98
Tonight TWAAT (The Waiter Attitude Adjustment Team) will be heading to Gulf Forum Hotel for random attitude tests and adjustments. Standbye for a full report.
Please do not betray our confidence by informing the party involved of our imminent arrival. Sheesha and attitude should be tested in as close to their natural state as possible.
Thank You for your Co-operation
TWAAT REPORT, Saturday Jan 10, 97:
Because of the possibility of rain, Gulf Forum Hotel's Ramadhan Tent was closed. TWAAT visited Kargeen Cafe in MQ for re-evaluation, no score given yet.. Sources informed us of a new arabic cafe in Muscat Intercontinental Hotel (MIH) that started today.. for the sake of public information, TWAAT was on premises and presents the following report..
Opening hours are till midnight which leaves something to be desired. Since this was day one and unadvertised, in addition to the rain scare, no one was there other than the TWAAT team and two guests of ours... this left a waiter to customer ratio higher than 1:1.. service, as expected from MIH was excellent. Food was very good.. Prices extremely reasonable. Cheaper than Kargeen and Sheraton Beach Resort..
Sheesha? let us say they are a little inexperienced. however the sheesha itself was of the highest quality we've seen at any coffee shop yet... i'd give it extra points on looks only. Taste was good, but the coal was too much, and the pipe was new and had to be cleaned... Another plus is the availability of Bahraini m3assal... on the whole we hope that they improve the sheesha and maybe add some Um Kolthoum music to get a top rating-- TWAAT
What started it all..
God allowed this travesty of a café for one reason only: to ignite the chain reaction that is TWAAT
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