At a meeting last week I was waxing lyrical (as I am wont to do even when sober) about the “dining scene” in Doha in 2007 when I first arrived. We had a handful of five star hotels which featured mainly buffets and stuffy linen tablecloth outlets, the outliers like Layali and Shabestan, then the more down with the peeps establishments like Turkey Central.
The W took a while to find its’ feet – the funky design and vibe was a stretch to far for some, even me. But one thing was always the case – they set the trend for the best food and beverage offerings in the city. And they still do.
Excellent, personalized service underlines their ability to continually reinvent themselves.
So when asked my favorite restaurant in Doha, it’s a pretty clear favorite – Spice Market.
The first “celebrity chef” restaurant in the country, the menu has evolved over the past seven years depending on the chef in charge. Each incarnation you can see their touch on the menu, while being unmistakably part of the Jean George Vongerichten empire.
It’s South Asian street food with a fashionable twist served in one of the sexiest dining rooms in Doha.
The current Chef Liu has transformed the menu into something truly special. Bringing his international experience to his dishes but always staying firm with his Chinese heritage.
His new menu unveiled recently is challenging yet also on the right side of comfort food.
I’ve said previously that this is some of the best food this restaurant has ever served and I stand by that.
The new menu at Spice Market features a chive rice so tasty that won’t be forgotten easily and a braised mutton that made me reassess my previously negative views on mutton.
The generously portioned lobster with Japanese citrus yuzu was tender and has the right hit of sour to keep it honest.
And a veal cutlet done Asian style with an almost creamy red pepper sauce gave me many comfort food feels.
There is something that the W does that many other hotels and restaurants fail to grasp. they win you from the moment you enter – the welcome, the interior, the personalized service.
By the time you are seated, ordered a drink and handed a menu, half the battle is won. The food…that’s another experience.
I’ve celebrated my last two birthdays in this restaurant. It’s my go-to when I feel the need for some comfort food and a little TLC. If it seems like I am a cheerleader for it, the fact it has won several awards in this year alone should prove its authenticity beyond my loyalty.
*I was a guest of W Doha to try the new Spice Market menu
**This is part of the Qatar Blogger Network link-up
Spice Market in the W Doha