In the rest of the world, the change of seasons are marked and obvious. Leaves fall in autumn. Flowers bloom in spring.
In Qatar, things are more prosaic.
One day: “My, we are having a mild winter! It’s a cool 27 degrees!”
A week later: “WTF! It’s 45 degrees! OUCH! The steering wheel!”
For foodies, the change of season signals new menus in the restaurants. When chefs go wild with new produce from afar and experiment.
When the invite came to try the new Spring menu at Hakkasan Doha I knew the seasons were changing.
Consistently one of the top restaurants in the city, this place rarely puts a food wrong and the new menu doesn’t change that fact.
In a city where the dumpling craze has been a slow burn, Hakkasan shows the pretenders how it should be done.These are some of the most intricate and beautifully presented morsels you will encounter.
A surprisingly mild foie gras and mushroom ball is both sweet and earthy, with he red rice coating cutting through the usually powerful foie gras. Meanwhile the smoked Wagyu beef dumpling was steamed to perfection.
The true star of the show, if not the dinner was the simply named “crispy mushroom puff”. Upon presentation at the table, it was clear this had been undersold.
Intricate layers of delicate and flaky potato pastry encasing a wonderfully woody mushroom filling. And yes, it’s a swan. a dumpling. shaped like a swan.
I’m going to leave that with you for a few minutes.
Yep. A dumpling swan.
Not yet. There is more.
Besides dumplings, the new spring menu, encompasses some of the best produce and ingredients you will find.
Stir-fry prawn with asparagus and angelica root had us googling madly. Also known as the Holy Ghost, all parts of Angelica are used, roots, seeds stems and leaves. The roots and stems contain an essential oil that has a licorice like flavor and this was evident in the dish. While this was a triumph in presentation, I was looking for a little more on the flavor front. It was almost too delicate.
Noodles with prawn and squid was another simply written dish that dazzled on the plate. A mess of perfectly cooked prawns and squid tentacles, it’s for diehard seafood lovers.
Over in the meat locker we discovered some special highlights as well. Spicy Wagyu beef salad took a walk on the Middle Eastern side with tart pomegranate playing well against the rich beef.
As always the service at Hakkasan was world class – from the greeting through to the sommelier with his stunning memory and on point (yet reasonable) wine selections. So many places in Qatar get this wrong – the service jars against the good food or the waiter tries to upsell. Not here – it’s discrete, personal and warm.
There are still some favorites on the menu – removing the wagyu rolls or the pepper beef would probably cause a riot – but the new spring additions add a new depth and flair.
I do love a seasonal change.
*Life on the Wedge and her trusty lighting assistant Alicia were guests of Hakkasan Doha.
St Regis Doha
Phone: +974 444 60170