I was a big fan of Riyasat at the St Regis Doha and was curious what had changed since its recent “rebrand” as Rivaaj. With the dissolution of Al Fardan Hospitality, this was one of the high-profile changes. Rivaaj has now moved under the umbrella of their landlords St Regis.
The other notable change has been neighboring BIBO moving to we presume, Marsa Malaz Kempinski where sister restaurant Lobito De Mar is located. As a side note – I have lauded what was done in the complex that once housed a moribund ballroom at the Al Gassar Resort. The addition of interesting and popular venues and a gallery was a big step but sadly didn’t work for all concepts.
What’s new about Rivaaj?
As for Riyasat/Rivaaj – the engaged and well-trained team are the same; the décor the same. While the main menu has been and will be further tweaked, their special offers are intact. And of course, the much-loved Chef Surat Singh aka Chef Jolly remains as the culinary creative force.
The Streets of India
I recently checked out their Streets of India Tuesday night promotion, which deep dives into megacity Delhi’s famed street food. The street food in Delhi transcends the simplicity of tastebuds and appetites, feeding millions of workers, shoppers, students and more every day. In my experience it’s complex, the flavors rich and delicious.
I applaud the nation of India’s commitment to snacking – this is unrivalled and has produced some incredible food and flavors.
Rivaaj offers a set menu of 16 (small but shareable) dishes, some recognizable to Indian food fans, others maybe a bit more unusual. Proceedings at Rivaaj kick off with the Delhi version of pani puri/gol gappe – semolina shells stuffed with curried chickpeas and topped with shots of chili mint and tamarind.
The take on samosa chaat, flaky savory pastries with spice tempered potato, yoghurt and date chutney, is a riot of sweet/sour/crunchy textures and flavors. A new dish of purple yam is accented with jaggery and tomato chili. Another addition is raj kachori, also known as the “king of chaat” – the kachori is made from fine sooji/semolina and filled with potato and topped with curd and chutneys. At Rivaaj this is all constructed theatrically tableside.
A tender and slightly gamey mutton boti kebab is balanced nicely with pickled onions and lime. I was pleased to see the popular “Old Delhi” butter chicken remain from the old menu meanwhile the minced lamb liver was challenging but well executed.
What can be improved?
As Rivaaj settles into its new name and brand, I would love to see some of these classics refreshed and perhaps a lighter veggie dish or salad added into the mix. While this may not be entirely in keeping with Delhi’s true street food canon, these are intense flavors and textures and would be good to break it up.
The menu is QR155 per person and is offered every Tuesday from 5pm. A drinks package of QR145 for two hours of cocktails, wine or beer makes this a nice mid-week treat.
So, what has changed for Riyasat/Rivaaj in the reshuffle? The answer is, not much And…this is a good thing.
Streets of India promotion at Rivaaj, St Regis Doha.
Every Tuesday from 5pm
QR155 per person; QR145 for alcohol drinks package per person
*we paid for ourselves.