‘Authentic Middle Eastern Cuisine’

If you’re in Muscat, for whatever reason, make a beeline for Hitam, a new Arabic restaurant that has quickly begun to wow the Omani capital with big, delicious flavours sourced from throughout the GCC region, each dish carrying an authentic hallmark of proper Middle Eastern cooking – peppy spices, fragrant herbs, and breathtaking flavours in every mouthful.

A fusion of different regional cuisines, Hitam is the brainchild of Chef Issa Lamki, a culinary magician with vast experience who is committed to freshness and innovation, which goes a long way to explaining why this new venture has become an instant success. “It has gone well in the first week or two; better than expected,” explains Chef Lamki. “Being one of the oldest traditional types of cooking in the world, Arabic fare allows us to present bold flavours, colours and spices in new and creative ways, whilst still staying true to the authenticity of the cuisine.”

Although with room for around 100 covers, Chef Lamki has brought the final number down to 64, as he didn’t want to just pack people in, preferring diners to be charmed by the traditional warmth and generosity the region is famous for. “Sharing, generosity and hospitality are the hallmarks of Middle Eastern culture. Food is a celebration of life: infinite varieties and thrilling tastes,” he says.

Chef Lamki is equally enthusiastic about the company that designed, supplied and installed the kitchen at Hitam, Al Halabi. “I have been with Al Halabi since 2008; in fact, I was their first ever customer in Oman. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. The service and the equipment are second-to-none. And they are always available, so no matter what the query or challenge Al Halabi respond quickly with practical, cost-effective solutions. You could say that I’ve become a kind of brand ambassador for the company in Oman, as I really respect them and what they do.”

Looking to the future, Chef Lamki has big plans in the pipeline, including, of course, making Hitam one of Muscat’s most popular and respected restaurants, helped by a gorgeous outdoor terrace where diners have already started to congregate regularly for ‘high tea’. He is also looking further afield too, concluding: “I will be opening a restaurant in the UK, in London to be more precise. There are now so many GCC citizens both visiting and living in London that another high quality Arabic restaurant is a really attractive proposition. I am really excited by this opportunity.”

After experiencing Hitam for ourselves, all we can say is “lucky London!”

  • By Bilal Al Halabi, Al Halabi Ref. & Kitchen Equipment www.al-halabi.com


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