For Qatar’s foodies, 2019 has started with a bang – new restaurants, new menus, new dishes and a renewed energy. A lot of love about 2019 on the food scene so let’s get into it!
It’s here people – and it was worth the wait. Located on the top floor of the Ritz Carlton, the space has been transformed from your Grandma’s “good” sitting room, into something beyond impossibly cool. Tables have been replaced with banquettes, the bar area is among the most elaborate in the city and the entire place is geared towards THAT view. With an in-house DJ, engaged staff and creative cocktails (all the mixers are hand made), the party vibe hits you from entry. But the food lives up to the hype. Let’s be clear here – this is a steakhouse and the menu is meat and seafood.
You will find well executed classics like a silky beef carpaccio elevated by a truffle dressing and a soft shell crab fried to perfection encased in a brioche roll.
The steaks are the stars – mostly USDA Prime which should please our American friends. My sizeable 400 gram ribeye was heavily seasoned (so many places miss this) and cooked to medium rare. You have the option to “add extras” to your steak, i choose prawns which enhanced the flavor and were yes, a bit decadent.
The sides are just as impressive – a truffled mac and cheese bringing home the comfort food with an earthy edge and a creamed spinach giving an old school vibe. Prices are competitive with other steakhouses in the city, but this place wins where they all seem to falter – atmosphere. Even half full it has an energy that is rare in this city.
This is a very brave gamble for the Ritz Carlton – one of the older and more traditional properties in the city – and will, in my view, pay off. This and the soon to open B Bar (in the space formerly known as Admirals) will put this hotel back on everyone’s must visit list.
Must order: STK mule cocktail (made with home made ginger beer!), the provoleta asada (fried cheese people!) and any of the USDA Prime steaks. Also, do try the desserts – made for impact as well as taste!
The sign of a good restaurant is the ability of the team to reinvent the menu – bringing in new dishes, incorporating trends and giving diners a new experience. Chef Ben Small at CUT is one of a hand full of chefs in the city who get this and his new menu is a winner. The menu emphasises “sharing” or family style – bringing a communal element to dining. I’ve never been a fan of the “small plates” school of dining – I don’t mind sharing but seriously what s the point of this trend? But at CUT, the plates are definitely not small – they are even called “large format”.
A 1.5kg Tomahawk steak is the star of the show – cooked medium rare and served with a range of sides for QR750. It can easily feed four hungry people and the meat itself is buttery (and honestly doesn’t need the sauces it is served with) and seasoned perfectly. A 1kg plus Canadian lobster cooked with lip tingling sichuan peppers is also served tableside and made for sharing. For those who don’t like to share, the pasta menu has also been given a nudge – a Gulf prawn pasta finished with toasted breadcrumbs is a highlight.
It’s also great to see the return of an old school favorite – the caviar service. Imported caviar served with all the trimmings – a little bit of indulgence! As a food blogger who actually cares about the food rather than “for the gram”, it’s great to see a chef pushing the envelope and trying new things in a market like this.
Must order: Organic mushroom soup – purely vegan made with almond milk, all ingredients are locally sourced. A revelation of a dish.
Yakitori Wednesdays at Nobu Doha
Nobu is another restaurant that doesn’t rest on its laurels. – always looking at new ways to engage a new audience while also keeping faith with their loyal diners. This fun offer sees the rooftop bar of the restaurant become a sizzling yakitori grill every Wednesday, serving up skewered delights including wagyu beef, chicken, lobster, squid and a range of veggie options.
Prices start from QR40 for two skewers and a rage of dipping sauces and are perfect with a cocktail or a cold beer watching the sun set. Order a bunch of skewers and share or keep them for yourself!
Must order: I’m a sucker for grilled squid (geddit?) but the grilled Japanese mushroom is also unique and tasty.
A bit of a bolter for me, I had originally dismissed this place as “Instagram fodder” thanks to its millennial pink interior and cutesy vibe. I’m happy to report my early assessment is far off the mark. The short but flavor-packed menu is big surprise.
A fig and goat cheese toast comes is a sweet/savory sensation – a crumbed and fried wheel of tart cheese still on top. Their sweet potato fries are worth the trip to The Pearl for me. Coffees are serviceable and the location is perfect for the Doha winter.
Must order: The sweet potato fries (the slightly spicy dipping sauce will have you asking for seconds.
It’s winter so that means its fondue time. Unlike a few venues in the city who “bulk up” their fondue with extras to give a creamy texture, the fondue here is the real thing. That means it’s runny enough to cover the morsels you dip into it (I’m a fan of the pear).
The Belgian has done away with its much loved happy hour for the time being but drinks remain at 2018 prices, so it’s a great option for a few drinks and some melted cheese action while the weather remains cool. .The fondue is QR105 and is a gooey, bubbling bowl of gruyere, emmenthal and parmesan
Must order: The fondue (of course) as well as the tartiflette – think potatoes, melted cheese and cream and you get the decadent picture.
*At the time of going live with this post, the much anticipated Novikov Doha had only just opened their doors – keep your eyes peeled for my take on the place. Another special mention to The Pearl Social by Jason Atherton – the opening night party showed some strong potential thanks to bites from the menu and an unrivalled location bayside at The Pearl – can’t wait to report on the wider menu soon.