Buckle up folks! This is the business end of the eating and drinking year. And this is a bumper edition of the Life on the Wedge round up of where to eat and drink in Doha. New openings, new concepts and new menus (and some very strong rumors relating to certain laws being relaxed) as we slide towards 2022 – Doha is is a pretty good place to be right now. So here’s my November must eat and drink list:
El Cedro Tasting Room:
Located in a redesigned space that was once home to the Sharq Village and Spa’s discrete bar, the menu and drinks at this place is a bit of a surprise. With a labrynth of cosy rooms and a couple of shared spaces, the mood is clubby and low key. The food though is anything but, with a series of small plates of dishes like pastrami salmon, a jumbo shrimp cocktail (the prawns are sous vide) and ribeye sliders. Cocktails are also impressive. This is a cigar bar (there is a walk-in humidor), so it’s a little smoky.
Must order: The oysters with chipotle mignonette and any of the cocktails.
Hakkasan Friday Brunch
It’s hard to believe, but the ever-dependable Hakkasan has not changed up their Friday brunch formula for nearly five years. The new offering is sleeker but more generous. Gone is the confusing combination of food and drink packages – they have been replaced with just two. t’s now QR288 for soft drinks and QR458 for alcohol which includes a selection of wine, beer, cocktails and a very decent sparkling option. The food is served at your table – starters are a Peking Duck platter, a selection of hot and cold dumplings and bites. These are the best dumplings in town and hit that perfect balance between pastry and filling. Watch out for the show stopping crispy mooli puff. You choose one main per person – these are meant to share as is the dessert platter. As usual service is attentive but not overbearing and the vibe is relaxed. Happy to see this place back to its best and pushing the boat out.
Must order: They bring all the dumplings so no need to choose, but do check out the surprising steamed grouper with kaffir lime sauce and a hit of pickled ginger.
At first blush you would expect this place to be nestled inside the city’s newest vibing hotel. But, in a true Doha twist, it’s located on a pretty hectic commercial yet suburban street. BAO brings the global cult bao buns to Doha. The dining room is pared back and small, the menu is also short and sharp. A selection of starters like gyoza, tempura and Japanese soups, five bao buns and mains like braised short ribs. The baos are obviously the star of the show – the pastry is on point and the fillings given the chance to shine. At QR35 each they are on the steep side. I hope this is the first of a chain across Doha.
Must order: The sweet/savory fried chicken bao and the chicken katsu bowl which is served with a dreamy curry sauce.
Scandinavian food, with its clean flavors and emphasis on freshness, has swept the world and now finally lands in Doha. And we know this city loves a food trend. Snoull is an fascinating first foray – it’s located at the new and very luxe Al Messila Resort and Spa – and its mission to enable diners to “reconnect with nature”. The menu is a series of small plates with only a few ingredients.
A breakfast dish of cured salmon is served with endive (bitter leaves on the menu) and an anchovy sauce. House baked bread comes with an impossibly airy whipped butter. Oysters are served on the shell with cucumber, parsley and a sinus clearing hit of horseradish. The dining room is light, airy and a little IKEA meets five star hotel but that enables the food and service to shine. This food and concept is like nothing else we have seen in Doha. I’m an unabashed fan but I am keen to see how the market takes it.
Must order: The dehydrated beetroot is one of the most interesting and mouthwatering dishes I have tried this year.
CUT to the Chase at Mondrian Doha
Happy hours are a dime a dozen in this town but very few offer decent food beyond the now ubiquitous truffle fries (the five star version of popcorn chicken). CUT’s new offering – a rotating daily menu of small plates served during happy hour for QR99 for four – is designed to appease foodies and those looking for something more than chips/not quite dinner. Each day has a different theme – Italian, tacos and wagyu (oh yes) and more. Combined with their QR195 all you can drink (including their fabulous cocktails) between 6pm and 8pm, this will soon become your regular hang out.
Must order: the wagyu dumplings in a peppery Sichuan sauce, the prawn and bean gumbo (yeah, everything).
The Pier at Four Seasons Doha
Winter is coming. No! Really it’s coming! The Pier on the marina has reopened (the hotel will be unveiled after it’s huge renovation in January) and is the perfect weekend bolthole. Perfect for couples and bigger groups, the cocktails are fun, the menu is Lebanese-influenced and the shisha some of the best in town. The view of the bay and Doha’s iconic skyline will soothe even the most stressed soul. Happy hours daily from Saturday to Wednesday from 8pm.
Must order: The truffle hummous
Phew – that was quite a list. Still with me? Hold on tight because I think December will be even busier!