There was a time, in the not so dark and distant past, where the only place you could get a semi-decent cup of coffee was in a hotel lobby or a one of those ubiquitous chain outlets.
Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a coffee snob. I don’t know my Chemex from my Colombian, but I do know what I like. And, being a writer by trade, I am always looking for new places to set up shop with my laptop and my attitude.
We have come a long way from those lobby coffees and in recent months we have seen a raft of new places opening up. Here are three newbies you should be checking out this summer:
I stumbled across the Tornado Tower outpost (there is another at The Pearl Qatar) of this brand while on a visit to the freshly minted Australian Embassy in the same building. With clubby brown leather sofas and attentive staff, it’s an air-conditioned haven.
The menu has a few surprises, including a Bounty milkshake and a latte mint macchiato, but also expect some decent cold press and frappes and of course strong, hot coffee selections. The West Bay location is well located for those on the clock and The Pearl (at Qanat Quartier) is more of a kiosk (not so great in summer).
The Pearl Qatar: Opposite Chateau, Palazzo 3, Qanat Quartier, the Pearl Qatar
West Bay: Ground Floor, Tornado Tower, Dafna, Doha
Perhaps the most romantic (and a little puzzling) cafe name in Doha, they brand themselves as the “coffee enlightenment”. Their main branch is in Falcon Tower (a residential building next to the Four Seasons Doha), is simply decorated and already a hit. As usual, I am behind the curve, when I visited on a lazy Friday, it was busy with families and others just hanging out. The menu is simple – cakes, muffins, wraps and toasted sandwiches. The coffee is more sophisticated. You can try a Gibraltar (a double-shot of espresso and a bit of milk), a Cortado (a Spanish and South American specialty is is basically a miniature latte) or a V60 Handbrew (manually brewed coffee, not through a machine – laborious but worthwhile). Phew – that’s just a sample. Wifi, a bright and airy space with water views and cheerful staff make this the complete experience. Their second venue on Airport Road is closed until September.
Ground Floor, Falcon Tower
3. 42 Cafe
I have such high hopes for this little cafe – mainly because its five minutes from my home and we need places like this in the hood. The lobby of a private clinic may seem like an unlikely place for a hip cafe, but it’s Doha, and frankly anything goes. While there is continual walk-though traffic from the hospital, it’s still a quiet and charming space with fresh flowers on the tables and fun but not overstated decorations. The menu includes a Spanish Latte (with a dash of condensed milk – hellllooo) plus the usual suspects. But it is their cakes that had me hooked.
The Saturday I visited they sere serving a freshly made Victoria Sponge as well as a red velvet cake. This cafe is clearly a labor of love for someone and it shows. A word of advice, they are only in their “soft opening” stage, so service is haphazard at best (I’m pretty sure I got given another person’s order) and hours are 4pm to 10pm. Give it a few days but do visit.
Outpatients Building, Al Emadi Hospital
D Ring Road, Al Hilal
Opening hours: 4pm to 10pm (closed Friday)
There are some new players on the scene I haven’t had a chance to visit yet. Namely the very instagrammable Fleur Et Cafe at The Pearl Qatar and the seemingly delightfully kooky Chemist Cafe at the B Square Mall in Mesaimeer. That’s for another time!
Have you visited any new and interesting cafe in Qatar recently?