We recently met up with Divine Ambe, Manager of Isla Mexican Kitchen at The Pearl-Qatar, to talk about the restaurant’s relaunch at the end of the month.
Mr Ambe explained there will be a substantial increase in menu items – as we are already Isla fans, we were reassured to hear that there will still be the authentic Mexican focus on good food but with a more fun relaxed atmosphere.
I had not dined at the restaurant for a while and liked the new look of coloured lights and bright, primary coloured planters complete with cacti. This wasn’t overdone and didn’t make the décor clichéd but gave it a vibrant, fun place to sit and relax. The VIP dining area will also shortly be undergoing some restyling, and will be able to seat a party of 12 to 15 comfortably.
So – let’s discuss the food! Pomegranate guacamole was an interesting variation and I had to admit, put my own homemade attempts on movie nights in the shade. We ordered passionado and sangria for drinks, both refreshing and served in beautiful colourful glasses. We were also treated to a tableside preparation of Enchilada an de queso con raja, which indulged my cheese buds with oozing mozzarella and halloumi, and was quite an impressive lead in. I am sure I would have ended up wearing most of the cheese had we not been in expert hands.
The Shrimp Chicharron, one of the items from the business lunch menu, was served tempura style with a tangy pickled chipotle rouille. A great start for a seafood lover, especially when followed by the Crema de Mariscos, a perfect mix of seafood accompanied with Jicama salad, the zesty orange in this salad making it the perfect side dish.
A personal favourite had to be the Chicken Zarape (also a business lunch item). Now I really could imagine being at a Mexican table and certainly won’t need any encouragement to eat more of this dish. Also excellent was the Campesina, a beef tenderloin and a portobello mushroom and mashed potato – along with the achiote chimichurri, it satisfied both my Irish heritage and my love of Mexican food.
Of course, no Mexican meal is complete without Churros, which we ate along with a delightful rice pudding and tortilla dessert that we just about managed to squeeze in. We left the restaurant with that warm feeling you have when you have international friends, like so many of us here in Doha, that are keen to show us the best of their country’s cooking.
As you might have guessed, I am already a fan of Isla and cannot wait to see what dishes the relaunch brings. Isla will be a staple of our dining options – we are made to feel so welcome and it really is a relaxing and comfortable place to dine.
We wish you every success to Isla and the relaunch!
Location: 2 La Croisette, Porto Arabia, The Pearl-Qatar
Timings: Daily from noon to midnight. Live music Monday to Saturday from 7 pm to 10 pm.
Call 4409 5285 for bookings and enquiries.
Author: Sarah Morris
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