I realized a couple of things this week. One is how much I LOVE Greek food and miss it done well here in Doha. And the other is that at age 42 I seem to have forgotten to get married.
One of those outstanding issues was resolved this week. No, there wasn’t a quickie wedding. Rather, the Sharq Village and Spa is hosting Greek Week.
Being Australian kind of makes me half Greek anyway. Melbourne is said to have the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Europe, after Athens and Thessaloniki, Melbourne’s Greek sister city. Even in Sydney’s west where I was brought up, you grow up fluent in Greek swear words and the language of their food.
And I do love the Greeks – their sense of humor and commitment to anarchism especially.
Greek food can sometimes be done very badly. We have all had an over salty taramasalata, tough souvlaki and dodgy Greek salad. Luckily for Sharq Village and thanks to visiting Chef Doxis from Athens, this is far from the truth.
Chef Doxis actually owns a Spanish restaurant in Athens called Cinco which may seen odd but as he explained, “If I was in Melbourne yes I would open a Greek restaurant, but in Athens, everyone has a Greek restaurant”. He also consults to a number of hotels around the world and has been to Doha several times in recent years.
The food itself at Sharq Village is a blend of the familiar and the new. Which reminded me that I really don’t get to this hotel enough.
Think deconstructed Greek salads, grilled lamb and of course seafood. I was beyond happy to see skordalia – the potato and garlic dip from Greece which i have never really found here in Doha.
But there are some twists. Omega Beetroot soup, Cretan Salad made of tomato, cucumber, olives, green peppers, whole wheat rusk and extra virgin olive oil.
The moussaka was a recipe from Naousa, in the northeastern corner of the island of Paros, was made of layers of eggplant, zucchini, potato, minced beef and cheesy cream had a smokiness I have really missed. It’s creamier than most other versions of this classic, but that should play well here in Doha.
Another dish which tasted far better than it looked was Hilopites pasta – a Greek version of seafood pasta with prawns, noodles and topped with feta cheese then baked. Worth breaking my rule of not mixing seafood and cheese. a bit of research informed me that hipolites are small, square egg noodles popular in some Greek dishes including soups. Don’t say I’m not educational.
Of course there is naked lamb served with a gravy as well as chicken seafood and other dishes.
My aversion to sweets is always tested when the blaklava and loukomades are brought out. The baklava was as it should be – layers of flaky pastry and nuts smothered with honey. The other, well, they are fried donuts dusted in sugar. Enough said.
As is the norm in Doha, these are all served buffet style which means you can get a taste of everything and in my case, a bit too much of everything.
So I solved one of my dilemmas this week – the absence of good Greek food. The husband is a work in progress*
The lowdown: Fresh and interesting Greek cuisine that is class above what we have come to expect in Doha. Old Greek favorites sit side by side with some more adventurous offerings.
Where: Al Liwan, Sharq Village and Spa, Ras Abu Aboud Street, Doha.
When: From 25 May to 31. For more information or restaurant reservations call +974 4425 6666.
Note: Life on the Wedge was a guest of Sharq Village and Spa