It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Apologies for borrowing shamelessly from the classics, but really 2015 saw highs and many lows.
It was the year I lost my mother but found love in the unlikeliest of places. I haven’t traveled as widely as I did in previous years, but sometimes we need to stand still to appreciate what we have. I haven’t been the most regular blogger. I found I needed more headspace this year.
But enough of the sentimentality.
My fellow blogger A to Zataar asked my top three dishes for 2015 and she reminded me that this post was formulating for some weeks. So with thanks to her reminder, here is my almost definitive list:
Hyderabad Biryani at Park Hyatt Hyderabad was perhaps the reason we ended up in this incredible city. Tender chicken thighs and a melange of spices, it was an aromatic adventure.
As a food blogger I get to sample many great, good and no so good so it’s sometimes hard to narrow down the best. What I learned this year is that it’s not always the five star places that deliver the best taste and experience.
This meal is memorable for many reasons – first the company of my funny and fun fellow blogger Gerald Tan. Second the delicious taste of everything from the devilled prawns to the almost creamy daal. Finally the price – a veritable feast for QR30.
Back in five star territory – the biggest and newest outpost of Nobu Doha opened this year and it was in many ways worth the wait. Clean flavors and spectacular views add to the experience. The black miso cod is everything you read about and more – a umami explosion.
This is where the competition gets very fierce. Only two slots left. I couldn’t let this pass without mentioning my regular haunt – Spice Market Doha. Hard to pick a bad dish on this menu and I also have many favorite but my most loved is their braised short rib. The meat is almost silky and the saucy the right side of sticky.However, my best dish from here this year is not on the menu but one made for me for my birthday by Chef Liu. The chive rice blew my mind – so simple yet complex.
Before we get to the main event, I want to make some honorable mentions.The sticky lobster paella at El Faro at Marsa Malasz Kempinksiand the humble but mighty sausage rolls and potato scallops at Doha’s BBaba are standouts. Special mention must also go to the amazing meal I had with friends in Goa at Chula at Grand Hyatt Goa. I also can’t forget the seafood feast I had with my friend Kim by the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
Another highly commended to this spicy shrimp at the Nozomi Doha and another short rib flavor explosion from the new menu Market Doha.
But perhaps the biggest surprise for me and perhaps the best thing I ate this year was courtesy of an old favorite Porcini at Ritz Carlton Doha.
I revisited the restaurant after some time and was blown away by this duck ragu with hand cute pasta. Unctuous and moreish and yes a little heavy, it was a real surprise and honestly one of the best in a year of great eats. I keep coming back to it when asked my favorite dish in Doha.
This was quite a year. Good, bad and all the emotions in between. I know 2016 will bring more love, laughter and great eats. I wish the same for you.
Ha! I feel honored that I was with you for a few of these. Love ya, Rach — happy new year!
I do hope we share a meal in your top 5 or 10 next year! Thank you for continuing to share all your wonderful experiences with us.
Oh my word — I’m such a cornball. I read this with great delight a few weeks back and forgot… RUDELY… to say how very honoured I am to have made it onto your top five eats of 2015, my friend. The chances of that was at least one in a thousand… considering the gorgeous meals you have. So the resolution this year… is to make it way harder to decide which of our meals make the leaderboard xx