It was the best of times…it was the…not so best of times. It’s fair to say that in dining terms, 2017 didn’t have the extreme wow factor of previous Doha dining years but we still had a lot to like.
But 2018 beckons and it’s time to peruse what it has in store for foodies in Qatar – and the line-up looks solid.
Walima: Mondrian Doha was one of the shining lights of 2017 – thanks to some inventive restaurants and attitude to match. Walima is their greatly anticipated Qatari restaurant and if the interiors are anything to go by, this will be a high watermark. Add in the stunning shisha terrace (which unlike Walima will be licensed), and I might just move in.
Heads up expect a big splash for the opening of their nightclub Black Orchid. I left my clubbing days sometime back in the early 2000s, but this may drag me out of retirement.
Nusr-et: So as of going to print this was in its “soft opening” at the Sheraton Doha and reviews were sparse. Home of the “Salt Bae’ aka turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, it is essentially a steakhouse with personality. While Doha probably doesn’t need another steakhouse, this is a “celebrity” concept so will go down a treat. Personally I’m not quite sure about my steak being handled like that, but I’m funny like that.
Ritz Carlton revamp: Earlier this year the Ritz Carlton unveiled its stunning new rooms and Club Lounge and now it’s time for their food and beverage offering to undergo a similar facelift. What to expect? A branch of the world’s favorite lounge the Buddha Bar as well as a couple of other big brand names to keep things on that side of town classy and interesting. Bring it on! Watch out too for some changes at Four Seasons Doha and their culinary line-up. The Grand Old Ladies of Doha’s hotel scene are going to cause a stir soon.
Jamie’s Italian:Adding to an increasingly impressive foodie line-up at Doha Festival City, the cheeky Brit boy brings his signature casual restaurant to town. I hope they bring the prawn linguine with them.
Bouchon Bakery:Speaking of Festival City, the hits keep coming but this one comes with some of the ultimate foodie cred and a genuine food hero is attached to it. While I hate the word, this place makes proper “artisan” bread and pastry as well as cafe-style favorites. The brainchild of one of the fathers of modern American cuisine, Thomas Keller, this is worth the drive and the carb load.
Mainland China:If this restaurant was a boyfriend, you could accuse it of ghosting us. It burst onto the scene, seduced us with their dumplings and excellent food, then…disappeared. We’ve heard rumors of it returning at a new location. this is one bad boyfriend I would take back in a heartbeat.
Texas De Brazil: Again at Festival City (should I just move into one of the IKEA bedroom displays?), this US-born Brazilian churrascaria comes with a lot of buzz. Salads, never-ending meat sweats and very family friendly. Will be interesting to see how this one performs given the quality South American offerings we have here.
This is just a quick look at what we have to look forward to in 2018. Have I missed any?