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*
Random oxymoron to call this place RAW, then have cooked tempura garnish? Just me? No? And eh let’s just not mention the sushi rice. #awks
Also the fact their caviar a) doesn’t have a tin size b) doesn’t. Name the producer and c) inaccurately suggests they have “beluga” is massively misleading.
Taking advantage of people by telling them they are eating something that is far from the truth.
Praying on people’s ignorance is really low, expected of places such as this though.
If you could in theory buy “beluga” from a Huso Huso sturgeon the retail kilo price would be in excess of €15000/kilo so about 75000QR for scale.
At 2200QR/kilo I suggest you’re getting robbed.
Verify the CITES code on the rear of the tin before committing to buy… I’d be confident it says “CN” for China or the information is not available, hidden or tampered with.
DO NOT be fooled by eating cheap caviar in a beautiful surrounding…
You get what you pay for, except in Qatar!
Make good choices people.
All in, this place can’t be any worse than the running joke that is Opal right? Hahaha
Yes, both Greg and I noticed the tempura addition in a ‘raw’ bar. From what someone said to me today they’ve had the salmon and tempura roll in another restaurant there so it’s crossed over from their menu. To be fair most of what they are serving can be found on menus across the city but naming it ‘Raw Bar’ will attract attention and discussion. I’m not sure if it was totally raw if it would have got past the planning stage! Have you been or would you consider going?