There is a reason the award-winning Spice Market restaurant at the W Doha Hotel & Residences in Al Dafna is always so busy – namely top-notch food, exemplary service, and a beautiful décor.
We were invited to the Spice Market to try the new Tasting Menu – five courses, ten flavours. Which is excellent news, as we have often found ourselves contemplating for far too long over what we wanted to eat. With such good things on the menu at the Spice Market, it was a case of too much deliberation and not enough eating!
So we were quite enthused to try the new Tasting Menu. For those not familiar with the Spice Market, this is a stunning candlelit restaurant with food designed by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who cleverly conjures up Southeast Asian dishes inspired by his travels around the region. You can expect to find some classic dishes that have been carefully tweaked with his special touch.
We were seated along the periphery, which allowed us to soak up the fun ambience – it was a Thursday night and full! – but it also meant we could chat. Our server, Jacob, was a lively young chap and no sooner had we discussed our dietary preferences and whatnot, he brought over the first dishes.
The first course consists of tuna tartare, which was perfectly seasoned with spicy radish and a ginger marinade, along with a personal favourite, black pepper shrimp with sundried pineapple. These ‘small plates’ (albeit ample portions for two people) were divine.
This was swiftly followed by the second course – quinoa salad with tofu, sugar snap peas and kale, and a good portion of wagyu cheeks, cooked with a yuzu glaze and a spicy peanut brittle. While I was devouring the salad (who knew being healthy was so delicious!), my fellow taster informed me a number of times about how tender the beef was. And looking over I could see that it just fell apart – the meat was juicy, sweet but not cloying, and Taster Two would have been happy if the menu stopped here!
However, there was more to come in the shape of courses three and four. There is grilled salmon – a perfectly cooked piece of fish, succulent with a slightly spicy char – along with chargrilled chicken. This too was flawlessly cooked, moist with amazing seasoning. The kumquat lemongrass dressing was a first for us, starting off as just a hint of citrus but building up the flavours as you continued eating. To quote Taster Two: ‘This is not lemon chicken as we know it; it’s a much more sophisticated homage to the classic dish we all love.’ No argument from me!
You also get a generous helping of two side dishes: wok-fried mixed vegetables and the Spice Market’s famous ginger fried rice, topped with a sumptuous runny fried egg. They complimented the fish and chicken incredibly well, although we could have happily eaten both on their own.
We took a few minutes to enjoy the live music before embarking on the fifth and final course – dessert! This was a light and refreshing exotic Thai fruit salad with coconut ice, and a Japanese cheesecake with kumquat compote. Make sure you try the passion fruit meringue as well! The desserts were the ideal finale to what was a triumphant tour around the Spice Market menu.
Our thanks go to Jacob and Firat, Assistant Restaurant Manager, for fabulous service. You too can partake of the Tasting Menu, at QAR280 per person, for a minimum of two and a maximum of eight.
Daily (except Friday) 6 pm – 10:30 pm
Call 4453 5135 to reserve a table
Author: Sarah Palmer
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