A visit to Sora on the 21st floor of the Park Hyatt Doha hotel took my breath away. Firstly because the views from up there were absolutely spectacular. And secondly because the food, just like the restaurant itself, was of such a high level.
The restaurant is spacious, modern and extremely luxurious. I felt comfortable and relaxed the moment I walked in. And the staff made sure I felt welcome from the moment I stepped out of the elevator.
Located in Msheireb Downtown Doha, the Park Hyatt Doha is in one of the most vibrant and fashionable areas within Qatar. At ground level Msheireb is stunning; from the rooftop of the Park Hyatt, it’s a feast for your eyes, with views all over Doha, including Msheireb, Souq Waqif, West Bay, Corniche, MIA, and Al Bidda Park – the list goes on and on, as does the view. And talking of feasts, let me move swiftly on to the food.
The menu is Japanese, created, curated and brought to life by their culinary experts. With this being the case, I could bring the word ‘authentic’ into play. And it is authentic, but with added sparkle that I will go into in a moment.
My fellow guests and I decided to let our server select our meal for us. If it’s the first time I have visited a restaurant, I like to know what the staff would recommend. After checking if any of us had any food allergies, aversions or issues they should be made aware of, our server took to his heals and began the task of delighting us.
In no time at all some Taiyaki Japanese Waffles arrived at the table. These filled hot pastries are complimentary and a great way to prepare your palate for what is coming. I arrived sporting a mighty hunger, and was awfully glad these got to the table so quickly. From this moment on, the food arrived at the table just in time, every time, with no pause. Absolutely perfect timing.
Crispy Mochi Chicken, which was black in colour thanks to squid ink, along with Lobster Tempura, are also on the menu, and our server said he would be returning to find out which we favoured. They were both absolutely delicious, and opinions varied, but upon his return I declared the Lobster Tempura my winner. Believe it or not, I’m not a big fan of lobster. These bite size (well bite size for me anyway) lobster balls however were exceedingly tasty, and very much to my liking. No disrespect to the black Crispy Mochi Chicken, which was also an absolute pleasure to eat, and as described were indeed crispy.
Even before we had got through round one, Salmon Tadaki and Tuna Caviar Tadaki made an appearance. I love salmon so much I headed straight for the Salmon Tadaki. It did not disappoint and I was all smiles. Then I, with my absolutely dreadful chopstick skills, grabbed a slice of Tuna Caviar Tadaki and managed to get it across the table and into my mouth without dropping it. WHAT! NO! WHAT IS THIS! At this stage I didn’t even know what this dish was called. My goodness, it wowed me big style. I immediately had to enquire what it was because I just found a very big reason to return to Sora. It was soooo good. My fellow diners could see how taken by the tuna I was, and very kindly let me eat more than my fair share. If you take just one tip from this review, make sure it’s to try the Tuna Caviar Tadaki. You will thank me.
Next out was the chef’s selection of Nigiri Sushi. Available raw or cooked, our selection was raw, just how I like it. My only complaint was that there was only one of each variety, and we were sharing. Yet I wanted to try them all. Every one I chose was a direct hit, so here is another reason to return. I simply must try them all.
If you order the next dish to be served, make sure you have your phone ready and set to record video, because the Spiced Salmon Maki is one for your Instagram account – and that’s a fact. It comes out smoking! Or should I say fogging. Put this out on your social media and your followers will be filled with envy. It is something to behold, and trust me, it tastes as good as it looks. And even though I am in need of a chopstick coach, chopsticks are the best tool when you are sharing. Others were already starting to fill up. Me and my planned hungry arrival were still going strong, and my chopsticks were now flying confidently around the table.
Signature dish time! Up next was Wagyu Beef Tenderloin. Oh come on. The moment you see the word ‘Wagyu’ you know this beef is going to be exceptional. Actually not just exceptional, but the very best beef can possibly be. And I absolutely love mine rare to medium rare. However because I got out voted by my fellow diners, this Wagyu Beef Tenderloin was well done. I know, pure sacrilege, right? What a terrible thing to do to a beautiful piece of the highest quality beef in the world. This failing cannot be blamed on Sora, the blame falls squarely with my fellow diners who know nothing about beef and how it should be eaten. And who are never going to talk to me again after reading this review. However, even though it was cooked differently to how I prefer my beef, I still loved it, and couldn’t stop going back for more.
Get your camera ready again, because next up is the creepiest dish I have ever encountered. I will eat most things put in front of me. But I prefer them inanimate. This dish was moving. It was animate. It looked alive, but how could it be? Video it, send it to your friends, because unless they see video evidence they are not going to believe you. It moves! The Hokkaido Scallops are covered in fish flakes so that Chef has somehow managed to bring the dish back to life. I was mesmerised. And this is when I realised that Sora is all about spectacle. The view is spectacular, the taste is spectacular, and the presentation is, yup you guessed it, spectacular. Oh and the scallops… cooked exactly as I like them. Yum!
But wait, there is still one more chapter in this book. Dessert! Mochi & Ice. Another spectacle and another photo op. So out comes some ice cream, well presented, fogging and once again Instagram ready. I took photographs from all angles, trying to capture the fogging at its best. And then scooped some of each flavour on to my plate. I proceeded to eat some very tasty ice cream. That is until I hit the Pistachio! I love Dairy Queen ice cream, it’s the ultimate soft ice cream. My favourite Baskin & Robbins flavour is ‘Love Potion’, no wait, ‘Cotton Candy’, no wait, ‘Love Potion’. And all of a sudden there was a new contender. Sora’s Pistachio ice cream. It was stunning! The best pistachio ice cream I have ever tasted. It had a liquor taste to it that I couldn’t place. Perhaps Amaretto? I had to ask, what was in this ice cream that made it explode with flavour? Our server was adamant that it was just good quality ice cream ingredients with pistachios. I questioned this and made him bring out Chef to get to the bottom of the mystery flavour I was detecting. A flavour that just put it right up there in my favourite ice cream list ever. And Chef also swore it was nothing other than pistachios in there. It was so good I had to order more servings. And had another plate of just pistachio brought for me. Oh my goodness, it’s absolutely delicious. Please try it and tell me what you think the mystery flavour might be.
My fellow diners and I enjoyed a Japanese menu at its very best. Would I return? I guarantee it. Would I recommend it to you? Absolutely! And have your camera ready. Sora has the Wow Factor!
Sora – Modern Japanese Rooftop Restaurant and Lounge
For the first time, Doha’s most enviable views will now be accessible from 2 pm to 11:30 pm daily. Take in panoramic views of the city while enjoying a range of modern Japanese lunch and dinner items and/or just freshly baked, house-made cakes with premium coffee.
For reservation or more information, call 4009 4330
Level 21 of Park Hyatt Doha
Tell me more about Park Hyatt Doha
Author: Brian Candy
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