Royal Istanbul,West Bay

West Bay Petrol Station, your one stop shop for gas, groceries, medicine, dry cleaning and great shawarma! When we first moved to Doha ordering food from a restaurant in a petrol forecourt seemed a bit strange but Royal Istanbul is on speed dial in our house. We have family staying this week and when we asked where they’d like to eat on Saturday night they both remembered Royal Istanbul from a visit last year so off we went.

Even though it was relatively early it was getting busy so we quickly grabbed a table. We already knew what we wanted so we placed our order and within 10 minutes our food was with us. Everything was hot, fresh, well seasoned and cooked

Jumbo shawarma

 

Meat tikka plate

 

Meza

 

Chicken tikka plate

 

Food for four

Service throughout was friendly and efficient, I like the open kitchen as you can see the food being cooked. The price for 4 Turkish breads, hummus, baba ganoush, chips, 4 drinks, 1 meat tikka plate, 1 chicken tikka plate and 4 jumbo shawarma was about 170QR which I feel is excellent value. I recommend you try Royal Istanbul either to eat in or takeaway.

Royal Istanbul Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef’s Garden, Qatar Foundation

Organic, free range, nutritious……not always words you associate with eating out in Doha. However, after a lovely evening at Chefs Garden I am happy to report a restaurant using organic, free range produce to create healthy, nutritious meals does exist. Executive Chef Eric Cousin has created a menu based on a ‘farm to table’ concept only using fresh, local, seasonal, organic produce working alongside Al Safwa Farm and other suppliers

Large outdoor terrace over looking the pool

The restaurant offers a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu based on available, seasonal produce and in addition to the regular menu also offers daily specials.  All fish is locally sourced and all desserts are locally made. As the food is freshly prepared on site they can work with customers to provide tailored menus for events or to meet dietary requirements such as gluten free dishes.

Executive Chef, Eric Cousin

The setting is quite unique for Qatar, an oasis of calm within a busy city. Beautiful landscaped grounds, a swimming pool and the option of indoor or outdoor dining. It is very child friendly, Chefs Garden is committed to educating people about food, particularly young people. They offer cooking classes for children aged  5 – 13 years during which they have a tour of the garden to see where their food comes from, an exercise class and then they cook a meal from scratch.

 

Taking the perfect shot – an array of organic vegetables

During the event we were given the opportunity to taste some of the dishes on their menu in addition to other ingredients. The food was superb, the salads were bursting with flavor and everything tasted so fresh. The main courses delivered to our table were beautifully presented and the flavors and textures worked wonderfully together. I also must mention the drinks – mocktails made with fresh juices, herbs and spices – absolutely delicious

A selection of salads

Before this event I hadn’t heard of Chefs Garden but I will definitely return. The food was fantastic, the setting was beautiful and you can come away feeling quite virtuous that the meal you have eaten is full of ‘ good stuff’ and you are supporting local companies.

Tomato, mozarella and pesto salad

 

Sliced beef, creamy potato and local a variety of veg

 

Fresh pasta with ingredients of your choice including meat, seafood and vegetables
Chocolate mousse, cheesecake chocolate with mango and meringue

At the end of the event each guest was given a personalised basket to fill with produce, luckily there were also additional bags as there was so much choice. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone who attended makes with their goodies….!

*On this occasion I was a guest of Chef’s Garden. As always my review is completely honest and the photographs are my own ( my apologies for the poor quality of the photos – it was really dark!) *

 

 

Nonna Zanon, West Bay

The first time we tried to find Nonna Zanon we drove around West Bay in circles – if you go look out for Regency Residence Tower and you’ll find the restaurant on the ground floor. I was delighted to see an outside terrace and even though there’s not much of a view it was still nice to have an al fresco lunch.

A table outside was quickly set for us and we were given a menu and a daily specials board, the menu isn’t huge but I quite like that – there were definitely several dishes I’d like to have tried

Greg chose arancini for his starter and I opted for parmigiana melanzane along with focaccia to share. Before our starters arrived we were presented with an amuse bouche, a little deep fried, cheesy mushroom ball sat on a rock. It was delicious and a nice little touch. I also liked the fact that the water we ordered was served in a pitcher rather than out of a bottle.

The starters were a generous size. Greg liked his arancini they were light, crisp and not too greasy. My parmigiana melanzane was really tasty. The aubergine was finely sliced and there was a good balance of cheese and tomato, the rocket on top added a peppery crunch.

Now, this is where things start to go a little down hill. I had ordered the four cheese risotto from the daily specials and Greg chose salmon penne. A suitable time after our starters the main courses arrived and I was surprised to see my risotto was very yellow. A couple of mouthfuls in I realised it was really salty too and not at all cheesy. We called over the waitress to check it was the four cheese risotto and she confirmed it was. I commented that maybe it was the saffron and parmesan risotto off the main menu and the order had been mixed up but she was assured me it wasn’t. I asked Greg to taste some to check it wasn’t just my taste buds but he said it was very salty and didn’t really taste of much else.  I left over half of the dish as it really wasn’t pleasant. Greg really enjoyed the salmon penne which he ended up sharing with me, it was perfectly cooked and the sauce was lovely and creamy.

When the waitress came to clear the table I again asked her to confirm which risotto it was and she said the four cheese, this was also reflected in the bill ( the specials were more).

The bill for 2 starters, 2 mains, a large water and tip was 225QR which I think was reasonable but I’m still not convinced I was served the right dish! I’m not sure if we’d go back – Greg really enjoyed his meal and 4/5 dishes we were served were delicious but my main course wasn’t up to scratch. Maybe I do need to go back but avoid the risotto?!

Nonna Zanon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Maison Prime, Intercontinental City

Prime at the Intercontinental City has got a reputation as one of the best Steakhouses in Doha and I feel this reputation is well deserved, the food we have had there has always been very good quality and the dishes well executed. I was invited to the launch of ‘La Maison Prime’, a French menu promotion running for the next 3 weeks. Executive Chef Emmanuel Pauliat and his team have created a menu based on French classics and regional dishes from across France.  After a welcome speech from the General Manager of the Intercontinental The City and the French Ambassador we were given the opportunity to sample some the food which will be on the La Maison Prime menu.


Oysters

Snails

Duck confit, potatoes with cheese, omlette with mushrooms, foie gras on brioche

Rare roast beef with caramalised onions

Crepe Suzette

A huge selection of French cheeses, fruits, preserves, crackers, biscuits and breads


Éclairs and chocolates

The food was delicious as was the crisp French Chardonnay.

In addition to the a la carte menu there will be also daily specials. Business dinners and set menus can also be arranged on request. The La Maison Prime promotion will run from 19th January until 13th February 2016, it is the perfect place to sample some authentic French dishes with colleagues, family and friends.

** On this occasion  I was a guest of the Intercontinental the City, as always my review is completely honest and the photographs are my own apart from the first image **

 

 

Elements, Four Seasons

Our first brunch when we arrived in Doha was at Nusantao at the Four Seasons and it was fantastic but shortly afterwards it closed for refurbishment so we didn’t get to go again. The restaurant recently reopened as Elements and as it has been getting some very positive reviews on Saturday we headed there for lunch. As the weather is so beautiful at the moment, we reserved a table on the terrace. We arrived at midday and it was fairly quiet. We were offered either the business lunch or the buffet and after a tour of the restaurant we all opted for the buffet as it looked amazing.

 There were the staple brunch dishes and work stations – sushi, noodles, meat and fish grill, curries, dim sum, salads and breads. The food was of a high quality and was hot, fresh and well presented. As the restaurant slowly got busier the service did not wane, glasses were constantly topped up and plates removed. From the savoury dishes we really enjoyed the meat grill (especially the lamb), the sushi, fish curry, tempura prawns and baba ganoush.

  Desserts were equally delicious, a variety of panacotta, chocolate cake, strawberry sponge, cupcakes, macrons, ice cream, fresh fruit and a chocolate fountain. I especially liked the addition of chocolate truffles which I shamefully admit to dipping into melted white chocolate!

  
Full with food we ordered coffee and moved to another terrace overlooking the beach to catch the late afternoon rays, a lovely way to end the afternoon.

  The lunch buffet was 170QR per person and includes water only, I think this is reasonable value for money due to the quality of food, service and surroundings. We did compare it to the lunch buffet at the Shangri –La which we went to the week before and decided the variety of food was better at the Shangri-La but they were both of a similar good quality. We also felt that although service was good at the Four Seasons the staff at the work stations in the Shangri – La engaged with us more and we liked that. We definitely preferred that the Four Seasons has outside seating and this was a major thumbs up as January is perfect to sit outside. It will be interesting to see how the Saturday buffet lunch at the Shangri-La is priced once their promotion ends as I think 170QR at the Four Seasons is about right.

I’d recommend the lunch buffet here and we will definitely return. We actually tried to book an outside table for Friday brunch next week as we have family staying but all the outside seating is taken so you need to get booked in fast before the weather gets too hot!

 

Elements - Four Seasons Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sridan, Shangri-La

I read a glowing review about the lunch buffet at Sridan from a food blogger in Doha ( Life with Karlly) so we decided to try it out ourselves on Saturday lunchtime. I emailed to reserve a table and received a prompt response assuring me that the F&B team would be in touch, however nobody got back to me, so we arrived on the off chance they had taken our booking but not confirmed it and luckily we were correct! We were warmly greeted by the staff in the lobby who took us to Sridan then the hostess took over. She showed us around the restaurant and explained that we could choose from the buffet and also ask for grilled items to be cooked and brought to the table.


The restaurant design has a very Arabic feel to it, there is lots of natural light which makes it airy and spacious with the food stations in the middle across two rooms and tables arranged around the outside. The whole restaurant is also non smoking which I was very happy about.

 We ordered drinks then headed off to check out the food on offer – what a choice! Moroccan, Indian, Chinese, seafood, sushi, a meat and fish grill, pizza, bread, pasta, desserts, ice cream, it was extensive and well presented. In addition to helping yourself to dishes you can order freshly cooked kebabs and seafood which is then brought to your table which avoids waiting around for food to cook. Without exception every member of staff working at a food station was friendly and advised on dishes. My personal favourite dishes were the beef tagine with apricots, pizza, butter naan and the braised beef with cauliflower cheese. Greg really enjoyed the braised beef with mash, dim sum and seafood.





After sampling pretty much every dish, we ordered tea and coffee then headed off to the dessert section. I always feel a little disappointed with desserts at brunch as they usually look better than they taste but I was proven wrong. The chocolate mousse and cheesecake were delicious and worth saving room for but I sadly didn’t spot a cheese board. The Assam tea and latte arrived quickly, both were good quality and well presented.



Throughout the meal the service was excellent, each member of staff we spoke to was warm, friendly, helpful and engaged with guests. My small criticism was that it took a while for us to get the bill and pay but as the restaurant was fully booked ( or so it seemed) I appreciate most people were finishing their meals at this point and staff were busy.



Overall we loved our meal here – the food was very good, the service was excellent and there was a lovely atmosphere. The bill was 350QRfor the lunch buffet for 2 people, 2 diet cokes, a fruit mocktail, a latte and a pot of tea which is very good value. The 99QR lunch offer is only on for a limited time and it will be interesting to see how it is priced at the end of the promotion. I’d really recommend a visit, make sure you book first though or you may be disappointed!

Sridan - Shangri-La Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

IDAM cooking class, MIA

IDAM was one of the first restaurants we ate at when we arrived in Doha and its always a restaurant I recommend to people as it is so beautifully designed, has a fabulous view and the food is superb. It is Alain Ducasse’s first restaurant in the Middle East and when I saw a cooking class advertised I signed up straight away along with some friends


We arrived at 4pm and we were introduced to Frederic Larquemin the Executive Chef. We were then whisked into the kitchen, handed a recipe booklet and given an apron and a very attractive hair net! Unlike other cooking classes I have been to in Doha the kitchen was buzzing as the staff prepared for the dinner service so throughout the class we were surrounded by food being prepped and cooked which added to the atmosphere.

We started by watching Chef make rabbit with quince and apple. Each stage was shown to us with top tips and plenty of time to ask questions and make notes.

We then moved on to dessert which was coconut milk rice pudding with citrus fruit. Again this was demonstrated to us with each step explained.

At the end of the class all of the food was plated up and we went to sit at the mocktail bar (IDAM does not serve alcohol) and we were presented with a sample of the rabbit with a delicious mocktail. Afterwards we were served coffee or tea with our rice pudding and a selection of other desserts while the restaurant manager and staff chatted with us.

The class was meant to be 4pm -6pm but we didn’t leave until about 7.30pm as we were so busy eating and talking! It was such a fun afternoon, granted we did not do any cooking (please do not book a class imagining you will be cooking, it is a demonstration of cooking by professional chefs in a professional kitchen) but I loved watching everyone in the kitchen and the attention to detail in each dish. The food we were served was outstanding and I appreciated it even more as I had seen how much time, preparation and care goes into each stage.

The class was 450QR and included 2 hours in the kitchen, a recipe booklet, an apron and a sample of the food that was cooked. The next class in March is fully booked but please contact IDAM for future dates, it is highly recommended.