Think Turkish, think ice-cream man with impressive moustache. Think Turkish, think kebab. Think Turkish, think … Mövenpick. That’s right, you read it here first, from now on, every Wednesday night’s buffet at the original Mövenpick Hotel Doha will be dedicated as a Turkish barbeque night and held in their delightful outdoor garden.
Gulsum Atila, a young Turkish chef who, at the time of writing, had only been in Doha for a grand total of 20 days, saw her idea of a Turkish-themed buffet evening taken up by the hotel management as something that would draw customers looking for something a little more, dare I say, rustic and hands-on, to their in-the-city outdoor garden space and her idea has taken off.
The original Movenpick hotel continues to attract old Doha hands who consider West Bay and The Pearl, as foreign territories not to be ventured into under any circumstances. Having said that, the Mövenpick is one of those ‘old friends’ that you have to return to every now and then to savour the memories.
And so it was, dear reader, that yours truly took up the mantle and, on your behalf, padded through the ever so familiar Mövenpick reception and made his way to their ‘Seasons’ restaurant. Passing by the buffet, on the way to the secret garden, I spied a few Turkish desserts and made a mental ‘note-to-self’ to try them later, pending space within the confines of the ever-expanding waistline after anticipating (correctly as it turned out) that I would soon be consuming copious amounts of kebab.
And so, there we were. Sitting outside on a balmy spring evening, watching the chefs fire up a giant-sized barbeque, not one of those expensive gas contraptions, but a proper charcoal driven flamer that was guaranteed, when in capable hands, to produce deliciously moist meat and eggplant kebabs.
So far, so good, now it was time for the curtain raiser – get there early in order to see the impressive cooking demonstration that saw two legs of lamb, previously oven-cooked in a mound of salt for four hours at 215c, spectacularly flambéed.
Watching Chef Gulsum, aided and abetted by her colleagues, tapping each leg with a cook’s hammer to loosen the salt casing, it was satisfying to see the juicy and tender meat literally fall off the bone as the chefs carefully placed it on a giant serving dish, with rice, of course. This was truly traditional Turkish cooking up close and personal.
The lamb and the chicken kekabs, hand-made and skewered, right there by Chef Gulsum, from ingredients purchased by her each day, sizzled away, filling the garden with that lovely aroma that only comes from a barbeque and yet here we were, right in the middle of town!
The meat was very tender and served with vine leaves did not dry out. Just sit back, relax, and ponder the next dish – in my case chicken kebabs and barbequed eggplant.
I couldn’t resist more of the juicy lamb kebabs but I was rapidly approaching the point where my shirt buttons were about to give way and then, thankfully, the sweet tooth kicked in. The beautifully laid out indoor dessert buffet will satisfy all your cravings. An abundance of strawberries in everything from chocolate mousse to tarts to jellies and Turkish havuc, a kind of sweetened filo baklava pie.
Don’t be fooled by the scale of the buffet because everything you want is here. What more can I say other than to suggest that you take a Wednesday night trip back to the original Doha Mövenpick, to an intimate setting where you can actually connect with the food, and the very friendly staff, in a cosy little outdoor garden, and get yourself a little bit of said ‘Turkish delight’. Then finish it all off with a stroll along the Corniche. Tell them I sent you. You’re welcome.
For more information, call 4429 1111 or WhatsApp + 974 6692 6688.
International man of mystery, beachcomber extraordinaire, raconteur and bon vivant
Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.