It was with great delight that Marhaba was invited to sample some of the treats at Doha’s newest culinary revelation: Yugo.
Situated on the ground floor of The Gate Mall, we were instantly impressed with the contemporary, dark yet inviting, decor, so over the threshold, we stepped with mouths drooling in anticipation.
For those that don’t yet know about the concept, Yugo is an Asian fusion restaurant offering Japanese, Chinese, and Thai food. It has recently opened and despite it being a Sunday night, traditionally not the busiest of nights, nearly all the tables inside and out were taken. A quick scan of our fellow diners noted happy faces, lively discussion and much devouring of food.
We were greeted by a most charming waitress, who supplied us with a Ramadan fruit drink and an amuse bouche, along with the menus. Shortly after, the star of the show, Chef David, introduced himself. What a happy chap he is! He explained all the options, showed us the house specialities, and more importantly, didn’t throw me out when I announced that dreaded phrase – ‘gluten free for me, please’.
And what a menu. So many options: salads, soups, stir-fries, curries, and much more. There are the ‘usual’ Asian options – edamame, lettuce wraps and glass noodle salad for starters, pad thai and green curry for mains. However, this was a time for adventure, so we plumped for some dishes that we had not tried before in Doha and waited with baited breath (and rumbling stomachs).
The short wait for food gave us time to perform a thorough inspection of our surroundings. We are pleased to report we were suitably enamoured. The lighting is just right, the music is lively yet not intrusive, and the tableware gorgeous. There was a lovely carved fruit display, set among Ramadan lamps, on the main table in the middle of the restaurant.
So on to the food! First up were the shrimp and mango verrine and the pumpkin and red pepper soup. The verrine was beautifully presented in a glass set upon a wooden platter. Four plump shrimp sat upon a bed of diced sweet mango, red leaf lettuce, sweet chilli sauce and sliced chilli. Delicious! Meanwhile, my dining cohort reported that the soup was equally splendid, thick and creamy and just the right amount of spice.
Surprising our waitress with the speed with which the starters were demolished, it was time for the main event. Chef David had told us about the reason for some of the dishes, including those in the Signature list. The most popular choice of meat in the Middle East is lamb, and so he has taken typical Asian fare and given it a modern and local twist.
The Cohort, therefore, chose the Thai red lamb curry, and what a dish that turned out to be! Huge chunks of lamb sat in a creamy sauce, festooned with pineapple, grapes, apple and tomatoes. The Cohort said it was some of the best lamb he had eaten in a long time, slow cooked and absolutely delicious. Chapeau to Chef David!
However, I was listening and not talking, as I was too busy stuffing my face with Pad Kra Pao – a medley of fresh vegetables and tofu stir fried with red chilli, garlic and oyster sauce. This was just one of the many vegetarian options available – and didn’t last that long on the plate!
Well, as is with so much in life, all good things come to an end. A quick peruse of the dessert menu made us realise that Chef David and his team had fed us far too well. We therefore made a note of what we were going to have next time we visited. Which, knowing how impressed the Cohort and I were, will be in the very near future.
Diners can currently try the extensive Ramadan menu, valid until Thursday 14 June, for just QAR149. The à la carte menu is also available. Eat in or take away is from 6 pm–1 am during Ramadan.
- Indoor and outdoor seating
- Takeaway available
- Itemised menu showing allergy information (gluten, dairy and peanuts)
- Wonderful ambience and interaction with Chef David, who personally speaks to all of his customers throughout the dining experience
Contact: 4407 7118
Location: Ground Floor, Tower 3, The Gate Mall
Author: Sarah Palmer
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