And so the Summer has arrived – temperatures are soaring, days seem longer and well things a little slower. But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well! Here’s my combined, bumper edition, list of where to drink and dine in Doha this Summer:
Mosaic at Mandarin Oriental Doha
It’s finally open. Doha’s newest hotel took a gamble and delayed the opening of their all day dining restaurant to ensure they got the offering right. And it’s worth the wait. With views across the city and the Baharat Square of Msheirib, the menu is firmly planted in the Silk Route. Asian, Indian and Arabic flavors are among the strongest, players on the menu.
But I loved the handmade dumplings and the Indian curries and Arabic grills. Prices are hotel-standard but it is also licensed. This one was worth waiting for.
Must order: Sushi and sashimi made to order and any of the Indian curries
Le Colonial at Al Wadi Hotel
It’s a brave hotel restaurant that confines itself to one part of the day. But Le Colonial might just be the bolter of the year. With a breakfast only menu spanning five or more pages, this place has impressed me each time I have visited (three times and counting). Expect the usual suspects like eggs, pancakes and French toast but with an amped up delivery. Their savory crepes are things of beauty. Open from 6am to 3pm, they do have other, less breakfasty items on their menu (sandwiches and a burger), but my advice is stick to their specialties and go breakfast for lunch. The restaurant has views across the souq and is decorated with memories of Qatar’s first post office (check the cushions with historic stamps). Great and proactive service rounds out this excellent addition to the dining scene in Doha.
Must order: the salmon savory crepes and the eggs benedict with truffle
Patissez at Doha Festival City
When this opened it made me feel a little patriotic and yes maybe a little homesick – there are few Australian themed places in this city. And for the record I do not include the overrated and underwhelming Jones the Grocer in this company. Anyway, Patissez hails from Australia’s capital Canberra and is the original home of the “freakshake”. You know them, the fantastical milkshake creations that can include everything from cakes to biscuits to everything sweet in between. But the menu also spans comfort food favorites like waffles, pancakes and egg dishes. Special mention must go to the Australian-roasted St Ali coffee which is probably some of the best you will try here.
Must order: Smashed avo with feta and the decadent berry babe French toast.
Sel et Miel
You have to hand it to the Ritz Carlton Doha, they have taken a once moribund food and beverage offering and creating something truly different. With the opening of STK Doha and soon B Lounge, Sel et Miel is the latest addition to their roster. And what a revelation it is. Simply prepared, real French brasserie favorites served in a transformed space. The menu encompasses all the French favorites – a rich and deep beef bourguignon, light and flavorful Dover sole, fresh seafood and oysters. Service is discrete and knowledgeable yet always with the “Ritz Carlton touch”. This could be Stockholm syndrome but prices were reasonable and they have also started a Saturday brunch.
If you try one new place to eat and drink in Doha this summer, make it this one – even my French friends love it.
Must order: the garlic butter snails (yep, the snails) and the pasta tossed with Roquefort cream and walnuts (trust me on this one).
Yes, I know what you think. ANOTHER coffee shop. True. But this one has really impressed me. Hidden away in the Palm Towers (the one with Monoprix), its coffee offerings are starndard for the city – the V60 poured over ice though was rich and deep and gave me a jolt to get on with my writing. they also have some interesting food on offer including almost authentic Portuguese egg tarts. A cute little bolthole in the sweltering city.
Must order: Well, the coffee!
I used to be a regular here but it seemed to lose its way for a while – an unwieldly menu and lack of focus. But on a recent impromptu visit I found a new direction, a cull and refresh of the dishes and basically, a better product. A great example is their wasabi prawns, which were previously a gloopy, deep fried mess. Now they are served simply grilled with a fresh, slightly sweet salsa and a sauce on the side. You can still get your sushi fix and the cult status crispy asparagus remains, but be sure to check out the rest of the menu. Despite its fine dining pretensions, the prices are reasonable and they are on a range of discount sites like The Entertainer.
Must order: The buttery Angus beef teriyaki and the wasabi prawns for old time’s sake.
So that’s it folks – my list of where to drink and dine in Doha this Summer. that’s not to say I’m signing off for some R&R (although there will be plenty of that!), as I have lots of amazing content planned in coming weeks! Stay tuned!
Paper Moon by La Spiga
Still in the mould of “everything old is new again”…I’ve fallen back in love with Papermoon. While it’s mothership restaurant La Spiga at the W has been hit and miss, this place continues to bloom. and pack in the happy diners. A weekday recent lunch there so most tables full – many West Bay veterans would be jealous! The menu still has all of the old favorites – the calamari and zucchini is always a favorite. A four cheese ravioli sinfully lush. I ordered the lobster pasta and was stunned when the chef came to the table to serve it – ample enough for two and including a whole lobster! Service is spot on and frankly, the food always delivers. Great for a lazy summer lunch or something a little bit special in the evenings.
Must order: The lobster spaghetti – it’s a theatrical experience!