At times I can be a very bad food blogger. Recently found myself heavily invested in TV show about a group of wannabe starlets and instafamous chicks who worked in a store owned by a family who were famous for being famous. That’s when I knew I had to end my self imposed exile and leave the house.
For reasons of a hibernation nature, I had missed the opening of Indian celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s Signature at the Melia Doha. The Melia, a Spanish brand, has recently entered the Doha market and has some interesting outlets including a very good tapas place.
Finally convinced to leave the evil attractions of the E! and Crime Channels, I accepted an invitation from the hotel to try the restaurant last week. As regular readers may know, I love Indian food from street snacks through to high end cuisine and I am never one to pass up an opportunity.
I have previously eaten in two other Sanjeev Kapoor restaurants – in Doha (now closed) and Muscat so was looking forward to the evening. The restaurant is located on the same floor as the Spanish which can get lively. The same can’t be said of its Indian neighbor. It’s all very, very quiet. This could be because it seemed to be full of local couples and single diner hotel guests.
I’m all about atmosphere and decor enhancing an experience and the fact that I actually can’t remember a single element of the decor says volumes. More thought should probably be given to the decor which is kind of like eating in an airline lounge. I somehow wanted it to be plusher, cosier.
BUT the food and service…well that is a very different story.
I knew we were in for a treat with a tray of condiments and poppadoms arrives. Beautifully presented picked onions, chutneys and raitas were quickly disposed of as was a small amuse bouche of crab.
You learn very quickly that Sanjeev Kapoor is all about presentation. A selection of starters included a tandoori style prawn and a lamb cutlet so tender it literally fell apart on my fork.
Throughout the meal, of which I was a guest of Melia, the service was impeccable and the servers and managers well informed and clearly into the food they are serving. I noticed this attention also extended to other tables.
A velvety lentil soup made me think twice about my ban on soup in a meal (takes up room you see!). The mains are takes on traditional Indian food. A butter chicken comes without the crazy neon orange color we see at many restaurants here. Rather it’s enriched with cashews, giving it a deep nutty texture.
But the winner on the night was a southern style prawn curry. Steeped in coconut milk, it’s actually cooked and served in a coconut shell. Fragrant and unique, it had Rachel and I cooing as they opened the shell.
All was served with a lamb biryani and a creamy black lentil daal which I noticed was popular with the other diners in the restaurant as well.
Despite of what seemed like the silence in the restaurant, at one point we looked around and saw nearly every table was full and enjoying the food. This is flavorful and unique Indian food done with style, flair and thought.
The test is would I return. the answer is, I certainly would.
Unless there is something good on the crime channel, then all bets are off.
*Life on the Wedge and her sidekick were a guest of Melia Doha and did not pay for the meal. However, views are my own (unless Oprah is involved, then I will have what she’s having).
Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor at the Melia Doha
West Bay, Doha, Qatar
Tel: (974) 401 99999
You can follow Melia Doha on Twitter @MeliaDoha and Instagram @meliadoha