Sweet September is here and it’s time to get out and about and see what’s new, hot and just reviewed (by me) restaurants and bars in Doha this month.
There’s a lot to catch up on – new places, new menus and some old favorites.
I’m here for the emerging gastropub scene in Doha, especially those outside the West Bay/Pearl Vortex. Tucked away inside the Abesq Hotel on C ring, expect amped bar food, fun cocktails and a laid back vibe. And, it’s smoke free (there is a smoking terrace where you will be required to wear a smoking jacket…just jokes).
The offering includes bottled and craft beer, wine and some very well made cocktails (the smoked Negronis for QR85 are a thing of beauty) as well as a menu of snacks and more substantial offerings. The food was a surprise. I maybe breaking some kind of food writer code but the onion rings (QR45) – are moreish and crisp.
Mushroom truffle croquettes (QR60) could have done with a bigger hit of truffle but were perfect for soaking up the Negronis. A real treat was a grilled lamb gyros (QR95) – tender morsels of lamb with a spicy harissa yoghurt.
Must order: the onion rings and house smoked salmon.
Speaking of trends, there are now no less than three steak and sushi offers around town.
For QR210 they are offering a platter of eight kinds of maki and sushi plus a fillet of wagyu steak with two sides and a sauce. Servings are generous. The steak was great quality and done as I requested.
As for the sushi – this included the o-toro nigiri aka fatty tuna. This is one of the prime sushi cuts and didn’t disappoint. Drinks aren’t included but there is a good selection of cocktails (QR80) and wines by the glass. This is a nice way to ease yourself out of the weekend or just a Saturday treat. I’m a big fan of Chotto Matte – the food is great quality and the service some of the most engaged in the city.
Must order: the well, that’s obvious but the cocktails are also excellent.
Another trend…phew! It’s located inside Printemps (with an outside door) so you can get some late stage capitalism with your turmeric latte.
The tacos were an actual treat (QR70 for three) – stuffed with a moreish mixture of shiitake mushroom, red beans and avocado, a dusting of sumac adding a citrussy tang. The serving of three is surprisingly generous, and a riot of flavors and textures. This skeptic was impressed. The blueberry scone (QR40), made with gluten free flour, was a little dense but the lush cashew cream on the side was finished far to fast for my liking!
The interiors are lush snd green and the service friendly.
Must order: Any of the plant based lattes and the tacos!
Shirvan Metisse at The Pearl Qatar as it turns out, is a bit of an open secret. Located next to Al Majed jewelers at The Pearl, you would almost miss the entrance. Inside, the dining room is spacious and there is an outdoor terrace with AC. Interiors reflect the DNA of the restaurant – the Silk Route. The brunch itself is a small but very focused buffet centered around the open kitchen offering of cold and hot starters, mains and a sizeable dessert station.
Cold starters range from a chicken salad with feta, platters of smoked salmon and a dedicated pickle station (you heard me). The mains kick off with a freshly carved medium rare perfect side of beef ribeye with a herby chermoula sauce; there is also their famed Sahara marinated and baked lamb, which we are told his cooked in the Qatari desert (off site obviously!).There are glistening legs of tandoori chicken as well as a selection of sides. A
And the price? QRQR265 for soft drinks, QR300 for the enhanced (alcohol) package and QR550 for the “elite” selection of alcohol. Kids (6 to 12) are QR100. This brunch lends itself well to groups – our visit saw several large, happy parties plus families. Brunch is served from 12.30pm to 4.30pm – leisurely!
Must order: Don’t miss the lamb buns – little black orbs of flavor.
There are times in Doha when you step into a place that transports you somewhere else for a few moments. Marsa Katara is one of those spots. The overwater restaurant is perched on its own island, at the end of a snaking jetty from the mainland at Katara.
Also in this complex are a series of bungalows that you can rent for the day or a special evening. I had an opportunity to experience one of these little hideaways last week courtesy of its new operator, the nearby The Chedi Katara. The bungalows, with comfy and muted interiors are giving Maldives vibes – with an outside terrace and an on-water pontoon – as well as a dining table, TV and other facilities. Meals are delivered from the main restaurant and are now much more Mediterranean in flavor. The star of the night was a roasted sea bream on risotto as well as grilled lobster and mushroom flatbreads.
We indulged with shisha (also an additional cost) and loved the view of The Pearl from the terrace. It was the perfect, quiet spot for a catch up with my friends but would also be great for a small event or celebration. Or a special anniversary dinner?
Rental prices depend on the duration and timing of the booking (day/night/both) as well as the size of the bungalow – you can even rent two adjoining villas. A portion of the rental is redeemable against your food and drink purchases. Check with the hotel for the best options.
Must order: the lobster and the risotto
L’Artisan at the Raffles Doha could easily be confused for a Michelin star establishment – which I think is the point. The arching interiors are white and luxe, sleek curved lines and understated – until you look up. The room’s chandeliers are best described as “statement pieces”, gloriously almost precarious, shards of light.
For an all day dining restaurant in a hotel, L’Artisan has some serious fine dining chops. Chef Thierry Motsch’s menu is deliberately short and sharp, there’s a few Asian inspired dishes then it heads to the Med. Before starters, a platter of hors d’oeuvre are delivered to each diner – a very fine dining touch and signals the meal will be a little different. There is also a gin cart to mix bespoke cocktails.
A silky lobster ravioli (QR140) with vanilla, the dish saved from being cloying by a light touch. A dish of eggplant and miso (QR80) is deceptive, it is a small tower of umami crowning an almost beefy tomato sauce.
A main dish of Goan scallop curry (QR200) is both familiar and surprising as well as very satisfying. The L’Artisan cheesecake with lemongrass icecream is a play of sweet and sour. But the winner is Colombia Coffee – a riot of tastes and textures, brought together by the familiar coffee flavor.
Must order: The lobster ravioli and the Goan scallop curry.
While you are here…
So that’s it! Your Doha Hit List September 2023: hot, new and just reviewed restaurants and bars to see you though that transition back to work this September.
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While I pay for a large portion of my experiences that I write about, I am sometimes provided meals and other experiences free of charge or at a reduced rate. However, I make it clear that I am under no obligation to give a positive review.