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 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.