Many years ago, in what seems like another lifetime in a galaxy far, far away, I was a newspaper editor.
This was pre-Instagram and pre-Snapchat (yes Virginia, there wasn’t always a Whatsapp).
Actually it was 2008 and I remember putting on the front page a story that the famous Nobu restaurant would open in Doha within the next 12 months. Well, as is the way with anything you really want, we were made to wait. And wait. And wait…
Finally, in a blaze of glory, Nobu has opened its doors in Doha and I have to say, it was worth the very long wait. Almost as long as it took me to write this review.
Let me be upfront about this I have been several times now and been a guest of Four Seasons Doha however this review is based on the food.
The restaurant itself is a marvel of smooth lines and curves and has what is possibly one of the best views in the city from the rooftop.
The venue has 134-seat interior dining area, two private dining rooms, a 10-seat sushi counter, two inside bars and a 38-seat rooftop lounge that encompasses both indoor and outdoor seating options. The main dining area is a little too bright and lacking in atmosphere for me, however this may improve when the restaurant is full.
Service wise, as I said, I was there as a guest each time. But I found the staff knowledgeable and passionate about the concept and the food itself. That can make all the difference.
Now…the food. As is the case with Nobu, Japanese fusion is the “genre” – fresh, clean flavors.
Apologies for the blurry photo – lighting was a challenge. Highlights from the starters include Nobu Stye Tacos with a range of fillings including wagyu beef or lobster which are mini tacos with an asian bent as well as Nobu Wagyu Beef Sliders, which uses a spongy tofu bun instead of bread.
My standout dishes from each visit also included what Nobu does best – sashimi. Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño and a Whitefish Sashimi with Dry Miso both taking the diner on a rollercoaster of flavor with the silkiness of the fish and the citrus ending in the case of the yellow tail.
Hands down the best dish for me was perhaps the most inventive. Lobster and Artichoke Salad with Dry Miso was a tangle of noodles and flavors.
Other highlights included the traditional tempura which was light, clean and the batter crunchy. And of course the world famous miso black cod which is served with lettuce and should please even the most aggressively gluten free amongst us.
The seafood shy amongst us (I have one in my life) will be well served by the selection of Wagyu beef. I always think that Wagyu is a bit overrated and over priced (sacrilege for a food blogger I know) as I find it too rich, but two dishes – Wagyu Anticucho (with a Peruvian smoky chilli powder) and flambe style may go some way to change my mind.
Those who know me know I am no dessert fiend. I did try them (the cheesecake being a stand out) but the true heart of the meal was the starters, which showed the most inventive and interesting flavors.
As a dining experience, Nobu will set new standards.
The sense of arrival you get from literally driving the entrance through to the cocktail bar and then the food were excellent. I have heard reports about people waiting a long time for food – the place has only been open a matter of weeks so I expect this will be ironed out (although as someone pointed out they have had seven years to practice).
In my eight years in this country I have seen fine dining evolve from a hotel buffet through to more sophisticated offerings like Hakkasan Doha, La Mer at the Ritz Carlton, The Anvil Rooms and others. We waited a long time for Nobu to open. It’s early days but so far it seems it was worth the wait.
Four Seasons Doha
Open daily for dinner and lunch
Reservations: Tel.(974) 4494 8888
*Life on the Wedge was a guest of Four Seasons Doha but this review is based on personal opinion and experience.