It takes a mammoth effort to drag me of the couch on a Tuesday night with a head of cold and a full evening of TV viewing on the Crime Channel ahead.
But when Four Seasons Doha calls and offers you an exclusive opportunity to try their Black Truffle Month menu, I managed to summons up courage, clarity and commitment to attend.
It’s Black Truffle Month and this means that hotels across town snap up as many of the morsels as they can freight.
Tuber melanosporum, called the black truffle, Périgord truffle or French black truffle, is a species of truffle native to Southern Europe. It is one of the most expensive edible mushrooms in the world. these bad boys will set you back around QR2000 a kilo and have to be transported with care and stored in a dry place.
Il Teatro’s black truffle menu is as lush as it is exhaustive. You can choose a la carte or a degustration menu for QR650 which gives you a taste of all the dishes.
Some people find truffles a little overpowering or too “earthy” to be palatable. For me, it’s the opposite. Chef Marco’s menu both highlighted the richness of the black truffles with the deftness of his own cooking skills.
Truffles and eggs are a match mad in heaven. The degustation menu starts with a 69 degree egg with asparagus and home made ricotta. There is a lot of different textures going on in this dish, yet it melded perfectly. A 69 degree egg is a curious thing. Most of us think about eggs as a quick and simply prepared food. But the preparation of things is long and slow.
This is a style of cooking known as “sous-vide,” which involves heating things in a vacuum (or for eggs, in the shell) at relatively low temperatures.
A Parmesan risotto with taleggio cream and generous shavings of truffle could have been overpowering. But it was creamy, al dente and lush.
Also a great success was a perfectly medium rare beef tenderloin with porcini mushrooms, creamed potatoes and of course, truffles. With two earthy ingredient – the mushrooms and the truffles – This could have quite easily have been a dish too rich to enjoy, but again the flavors were balanced and complimented the beef.
Less successful for me was a fillet of Branzino with roasted potato cream and spinach. ?Branzino ios also known as European sea bass. The meatiness of this dish was a bit of a surprise after the beef, and a little flat. This is not to say it wasn’t good, because it was. Rather, the beef and pastas shine so brightly.
I don’t usually associate actual truffles with dessert, but a hand made vanilla bean icecream with truffle cream and shaved apple made me reassess my bias. You read right, shaved apple. There was something about how the sharpness of the apple played against the earthiness of the truffle that clicked for this otherwise surprising dish.also, it has creme anglais. That’s a winner for me always.
Il Teatro, the fine dining Italian venue at the Four Seasons has a bit of a unwarranted reputation as a “special occasion” restaurant – one of those places you go to once a year on your anniversary.
This is no longer the case, a small refresh has seen white tablecloths return, some softer lighting and a revisiting of the menu prices. Even the music has changed. Gone is the funeral music and replaced by some more contemporary Italian jazz. A table of cheeses under glass domes and wines which are offered by the glass welcomes visitors. The changes are subtle but noticeable. It’s now competitive with other Italian restaurants around town like La Spiga at W Doha.
When I get an opportunity to try a menu like this, I am reminded about how the Four Seasons Doha, always manages to both surprise and delight with its restaurant offerings. In a city as competitive for a dining dollar as Doha, this ability is rare.
With some truly special highlights like the beef fillet, it was a privilege to be invited to try this menu. For a special occasion, the degustation is perfect. But for those who love well executed Italian food with a luscious flair, you can pick and choose from an innovative yet accessible menu.
Black Truffle Month at Four Seasons Doha
Running until the end of October
Il Teatro, Four Seasons Doha
Phone: 4494 8888
Twitter and Instagram: @FSDoha
*Life on the Wedge was a willing and able guest of the Four Seasons on this occasion. As we bloggers always say, views are my own. Especially in this case. The food was seriously delicious.