LPM Doha sits in the middle of the avenue of restaurants on Al Maha Island. While it has been perhaps overshadowed by its more glamorous, and dare I say, louder neighbors, LPM Doha has quietly amassed a legion of very devoted fans.
So much so that when I posted a teaser photo of my visit on social media last week, I was flooded with messages from people who don’t usually send them – all glowing endorsements about the food, the service and the view.
Maybe because I had been steering clear of those restaurants on the “Other Island”, maybe because I don’t vacation in Miami, I was unaware of the Cult of LPM. There are nine locations around the globe from Riyadh to Cyprus and a few in between. It was time to dip my toe into their light French Riviera inspired Mediterranean fare.
LPM Doha’s light and bright dining room is covered in the type of art I would have if I had a vacation home on the French Riviera – colorful, contemporary and a bit cuckoo. I clock the long bar at the front of the room and make a beeline. Usually in Doha you head straight for the table, but LPM’s concept encourages you to linger longer.
Bar manager Eugene is soon taking us through their signature cocktails, including mini martinis and their selection of non-QDC gins. It’s a fun, casual start to the evening. For the record, spirits start from QR35 martinis from QR68 (QR45 for a petit martini) and other cocktails from QR58. They also offer zero alcohol cocktails.
We choose to sit on the air conditioned terrace which has views across to Lusail. Each table is set with three ripe tomatoes, a bottle of olive oil and the shiniest lemon I have seen. The server tells us this is not just a table decoration, rather to make your own salad to start, which is served with fresh, warm bread. I’m not usually much for the interactive dining experience and even less inclined towards using using such a sharp knife after a martini, so I leave this task to one of my dining companions.
With the bread, the “salad” is a fresh and light start to the meal and pairs well with the signature “Tomatini” cocktails that have followed us to the table.
Le Menu Signature
We’re here to try the Menu Signature which at QR495 per person encompasses 11 dishes served family style plus five drinks (the Tomatini, three glasses of wine and a dessert wine). The set menu without drinks is QR345.
Starters kick off with a fresh plate of creamy burrata with cherry tomatoes and basil. I’ve been a bit cynical of burrata lately, it’s everywhere, but this was a return to how it should be served. A yellowtail carpaccio is all the right kinds of fusion – fresh and clean with a zing of citrus.
A plate of just translucent prawns nestled in olive oil grows on your – perfectly seasoned snd subtle. Then, the showstopper and the dish I had been anticipating, the Escargots de Bourgogne, arrived.
Slippery Little Suckers
Six gorgeous shells, covered in garlic and herbs. You need to get yourself a friend like my mate Alicia. One who knows her way around a dining table and was able to use the snail tongs and fork to extract the slippery little suckers from their shells. For the record you need to twist and slide with the fork – words every woman about town should live by.
These little suckers did not disappoint – ignore the texture and bathe in the garlic, herbs and butter.
Le Plats (or mains cos I’m French now), continue to impress. A marinated baby chicken is undersold on the menu – these are butterflied and grilled, the skin rendered perfectly seasoned and just a little crispy. This dish had us craving more.
A platter of almost Flintstones like lamb chops arrived, fresh off the grill and served with a nutty aubergine caviar. a bowl of rigatoni pasta is on the right side of al dente, tossed with an earthy sauce of mushrooms and cream.
The surprise of the night i an evening full of surprises, was an understated filet of sea bass, baked in salt. Topped with artichokes and sweet tomatoes, it was a riot of colors and textures.
Dessert is almost an afterthought at this point given the smorgasbord that has come before it, but it’s worth staying strong for the gorgeously traditional creme brule. To be clear, the Menu Signature (for a minimum of two diners), means you get all the dishes on the menu – the servings are generous and this is a perfect taster of their offering.
Service and Experience
Service throughout was engaged and proactive – our glasses were topped up and each dish came with an explanation and a bit of background. The outside AC also held up well, an occasional warm gust of air was barely noticed, the background music of French pop and reworked classics is the perfect accompaniment.
There are many restaurants in this town that are “loud” about offering the full experience for guests but very few actually do. For me, LPM Doha has joined that very rarefied space – from the drinks to the food, service and atmosphere, it delivers on all. Our experience was almost faultless and judging by the tables full of happy diners and those who slipped into my DMs, this is not a one-off.
For a special occasion, a mid-week dinner and drinks or just to enjoy some very good food and service, this is one for your list.
LPM Doha, Al Maha Island
$$$ to $$$$ but the Le Menu Signature offers great value
Must order: The snails and the salt baked sea bass
Good to know: The outdoor AC terrace actually works!