Returning to Paper Moon by La Spiga is like visiting with an old friend you don’t see very often. The circumstances may have changed, but you can pick up where you left off effortlessly.
While this is within spitting distance of my home, I confess I rarely visit this outpost of the W Doha. A recent weekday lunch time found us in the area and keen for some pasta, so we were reacquainted for old time’s sake.
I have been critical of the W in recent months. I felt it had lost its way in terms of food and service. But it seems out here on Airport Road, they haven’t skipped a beat.
For this occasion, we bypassed their business lunch menu (QR89 for three courses) to try some old and new favorites on the menu.
I always order the burrata when I visit their sister restaurant La Spiga, so this was a walk-up start for me. While it could have used a bit more time outside of the fridge (the cheese was a bit cold and firm), itw as still creamy and I loved the tartness of the trio of tomatoes it sat on. A spinach salad was fresh and clean, given a little oily kick from sundried tomatoes.
We both opted for pastas for mains. I usually plump for a seafood rendition, but the team convinced me to go for something different. Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and basil was deceptively simple on the plate. But the al dente handmade pasta and the sweet cherry tomatoes demonstrated my change of direction paid off.
Still on the simple theme, a fettucine bolognaise was both homely and familiar but also a little surprising thanks to the rich and deep sauce. I appreciate Paper Moon’s restraint when it comes to their sauces – restaurants tend to drown their pastas with the sauce which is frustrating. On both our dishes, the pasta is coated but not overwhelmed.
We veered off message and tried something new, sharing something that on the menu, didn’t sound as appealing as it looked on the plate. An asparagus and cheese flan could have been a disaster, instead it’s an intriguing plate, more a souffle than a flan. The sometimes cloying asparagus flavor saved by the sharpness of the cheese and creamy texture.
I couldn’t leave without trying their cannoli, which for me is the perfect compromise between sweet and savory. I was a little unnerved by the glace cherries (very old school), but the crunchy pastry with the cream enabled me to absolve this minor sin.
A mid-week lunch time saw nearly every one of the tables on the restaurant’s outside terrace taken up.This is a good sign. This place is located on one of the busiest arterials in the city, yet you don’t notice the noise. A restaurant like this not serving alcohol can be a hard sell, but the proximity to large offices and a good value proposition menu-wise has helped. As has the excellent service – which truly harks back to W’s ethos of “wowing” guests.
The Verdict: This is not a place that will impress you with, smoke and mirrors and trick plating. Rather, it’s well executed and honest food served by a team that really cares about your experience. Worth a first, second and third look.
Order: The burrata and the handmade cherry tomato and basil pasta
The Details: Paper Moon by La Spiga
Al Jaidah Building
Al Matar St, Doha.
PS – there is valet parking (trust me – you need it)
*While the desserts were complimentary, this meal was paid for by myself (shocking I know).