In a galaxy far, far away, when I first arrived in Doha, believe it or not there were only a handful of five star hotels and dining options were more limited. I used to spend a lot of time at Ritz Carlton Doha.
But you know how it is, as new properties opened and Doha’s traffic started to define Carmageddon, I visited less often in recent times.
So when I was invited by the hotel to try an old favorite, their Italian restaurant Porcini, it was a bit like catching up with an old friend after so many years and picking up where you left off.
That is not to say Porcini hasn’t changed. It has a new chef and a new menu and this was the reason for the visit.
First things first, the team at Porcini set the tone with a glass of Prosecco and something I can only describe as crack – warmed crumbed and fried olives. My dining companion Brooke and I inhaled a couple of bowls of these and I started to fret that my clutch bag wasn’t big enough to snaffle more. I restrained myself.
To say that Porcini is an old school hotel restaurant is an under statement – it’s very clubby with high backed chairs and well trained waiters and managers including Felix. It is literally like stepping back in time and I honestly think with all of the open kitchen casual dining trends we lose a little of this. But you can see the kitchen from the dining room which I love – it’s a little bit of voyeurism for a foodie.
Our menu was curated by Porcini’s Chef Moreno Miotto which is perhaps the most Italian name ever and he had obviously been briefed about my cheese fetish, serving us ricotta gnudi. I love an opportunity to get nude, especially when ricotta and spinach is involved. This dish inc
I love an opportunity to get nude, especially when ricotta and spinach is involved. Gnudi is a ricotta and spinach dumpling and this was served with a black truffle cream sauce. Delicate and light, it was a great start and it was clear the ricotta was freshly made.
Carpaccio di manzo con panzanella was our other starter which was wafer thin sliced tenderloin and Tuscan and tomato bread salad. Salty and crunchy, this is how all my meals should start.
Our pasta course was where the assured cooking of the chef really shone.
A gnocci with a sweet and creamy tomato sauce was pillowy soft but the rich duck ragu with hand made pasta brought me to silence.
Probably one of the best dishes I have eaten this year, it was rich and moreish. If my meal had ended there I would have been happy. It’s currently not on the menu but I hope it is added in the near future as I haven’t tasted anything like this in Doha in recent memory.
Our main meals of roasted beef fillet and spinach with a peppercorn sauce was a little heavy for me. And a pan fried sea bass with potatoes and olives was also dependable but honestly for me, the duck ragu stole the show and my heart.
I am not much of a dessert fiend, but special mention must be made of the semi frozen hazelnut parfait which was served with chocolate ganache and a very surprising Earl Grey tea syrup and crumble of hazelnut. Just sweet enough for me.
But I was still thinking of the duck ragu which I would return for in a heartbeat (yes this is a blatant ploy to have it added to the menu).
I said earlier, dining at Porcini was like catching up with an old friend – a friend who had been traveling in Italy for some time and came back with some amazing new stories and dishes.
*Life on the Wedge and my sidekick and “Plus One” Brooke were both guests of Ritz Carlton Doha. The meal was complimentary but we paid for alcoholic beverages. All views are my own, unless it’s what Oprah said. then it’s most definitely hers because that’s how I roll.
Porcini The Ritz Carlton Doha
West Bay Lagoon Qatar