When I first heard that a restaurant serving raw food had opened in Doha I couldn’t help but think back to Sex and the City. Notably the scene where Samantha meets Smith, the waiter at Raw, and I ended up getting side tracked and watching the episode!
My other thought was that it’s quite a gamble opening this type of restaurant in the current economic climate as it this type of cuisine could be viewed as being quite niche. Anyway, a few weeks ago we took part in a charity raffle and we won lunch for 2 at The Raw Bar, so on Saturday off we headed. The Raw Bar at the St Regis has been cleverly created from the waiting area as you enter Opal, it’s really nicely designed similar to a champagne and caviar bar. You can sit at the bar watching the food being prepped or sit outside, we opted for the latter as it was a nice day.
We were told a selection of dishes would be brought out for us from a menu which is quite concise.
We started with oysters which I have to admit aren’t our favourite food. We both had them at a restaurant in Doha a couple of years ago and they were absolutely disgusting (on reflection I don’t think they were as fresh as they should have been!) but we agreed to give them another go. I squeezed lime on mine and Greg had Tabasco. I can happily say I enjoyed them and I’m glad I gave them a go – I’m now an oyster convert. Greg still didn’t like them so I had his. They are definitely an acquired taste!
The next course was a huge hit. The California Rolls with fresh crab and creamy avocado were absolutely delicious but they were overshadowed by the crunchy salmon roll with a sprinkling of tempura, just fantastic. I’d definitely order these again and recommend them.
Next to arrive was cured salmon gravlax and kingfish tataki. The salmon tasted as good as it looked. Very light and refreshing with lovely passion fruit and lemon which worked well with the salmon and pink peppercorns. The kingfish tataki was another story, we love kingfish but simply didn’t like the texture of the kingfish in this dish. The ponzu dressing and a bit of heat from chili, ginger and spring onion was really zingy and tasty but the kingfish was claggy and tasted too fatty, it just didn’t work for us. In fact we didn’t finish it.
Surprisingly the food was quite filling and we felt that this was the right number of courses for a lunchtime. It was nice to eat outside in the lovely grounds of the St Regis and have a meal which felt light and healthy. I loved the interior design of the restaurant and the service was good. I can see it being popular for people wanting something different to the usual lunch and dinner offerings, I can imagine going back for a plate of sushi with a glass of champagne and a cocktails in an intimate setting.
* As mentioned we won lunch here but I have included a copy of the menu for prices*
I am not going to lie, the last couple of weeks have been a real challenge because I have been trying to stick to a diet and continue to review restaurants and bars (first world problems, eh?). However, I have impressed myself with how committed I have been, so when I was invited to dine at Pier 12 I quickly read the menu to see what I could have that wouldn’t undo my hard work. I generally think is quite easy to choose healthier options when eating at a seafood restaurant and over the last few months I have started to eat more and more seafood probably triggered by the excellent crab and lobster I ate in Dubai. Pier 12 is located within the Radisson Blu and, just like Bentley’s Grill it is quite small, it probably only seats about 30 people and has a lovely open kitchen. When we arrived at 7pm on Thursday evening a few tables were already occupied and we were immediately drawn to the market trolley which displayed an array of fresh seafood.
As well as being able to choose from the main menu you can also order daily specials from the market trolley as a starter or a main course. There is flexibility to have your seafood fried, steamed or grilled and served alongside a range of sauces. We chose to share a starter from the main menu ( battered calamari) and the market trolley (crab legs). Whilst waiting for the starters to arrive the bread basket arrived and it took a lot of willpower not to devour it – the cheesy rolls are delicious.
Our starters soon arrived and were nicely presented. The small of the batter on the calamari immediately transported us back to the seaside! It was light, crispy and not too greasy and the calamari was perfectly cooked. Dipped in the thick mayo it was a perfect match. I think when we go back I would have the fish and chips as this batter is fabulous. The crab legs were deliciously fresh and meaty, I liked that the sauce was served on the side so you could have as much or as little as you liked.
Having taken advice from the staff about the main courses we again chose from the market trolley (lobster thermidor) and from the main menu (salmon). Again both dishes were well presented. The thermidor was bursting with chunks of fresh lobster in a cream and cheese sauce. It was quite rich however, so I am glad we chose to share the salmon as I think it may have been too much as a dish on its own. The salmon itself was a good portion size and the glaze was quite sweet which balanced out the richness from the lobster. I loved the crunchy veg and creamy mash that accompanied the dishes, everything worked well together. We didn’t choose any sides with our main courses and I think this was a wise decision as the main courses themselves were more than enough.
We debated whether to have dessert or not and in the end we decided to share. Waffles with cherries, cream and ice cream appealed to us and it was a great choice. Fresh, fluffy waffles with warm cherries and whipped cream. A very indulgent way to end a lovely meal.
Our dinner at Pier 12 was fantastic. I loved the attentive but not intrusive service, the option to personalise your dishes and the small, intimate restaurant. If you are a fan of seafood I definitely recommend you give Pier 12 a try. Also, now its in the Entertainer you can get 241 on main courses including the market trolley.
* Please note on this occasion I was a guest of Pier 12. All opinions and photographs are my own *