You know the age-old debate…You want sushi, they want pad thai… You both want South East Asian food but you just cant find them in the same über cool restaurant…
Well hello wonderful Spice Market and hello W Doha.
This fabulous place is another offering from the world renowned Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Sound familiar? He should.
Not only is he responsible for the neighbouring Doha restaurant Market, but also around 30 other world class restaurants across the world. Fact.
The seriously chic decor keeps the theme of South-East Asian colours and materials, but with a modern, refined and high design element.
The menu may as well be called, “A list of your favourite dream South East Asian street foods, with none of the unwanted fillers”
Lets be honest, in an Asian restaurant, no-one ever orders the side dish of Mung Beans or the Appetiser of Water-Chestnuts… Well no-one I want to know, and so this menu is entirely made up of the greats, the most desirables, the highlight reel of popular dishes.
To “ease” ourselves in (to what would turn out to be a dinner of giant proportions) we ordered the Salmon Sashimi, the Teriyaki Salmon, the Crispy Soft Shell Chili Crab with Man Tao & Kaffir Lime Salt, the Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Lettuce, Herbs & Nuoc Cham and the Shrimp Tempura Roll…Ok, so not exactly easing ourselves in, but there were 5 of us and we ate every bite. No judgement.
Specific mention has to go to the Soft Shell Crab which had a perfect level of kick to them and were served with a sweet and heady sauce.
The mains? The mains were something else.
Unlike the other diners, I am usually quite underwhelmed by curry as I tend to think that most of the flavour of the meat and the seasoning is masked my the sauce itself.
However, the Spice Market curries seem to be able to use the sauce as more of a complimentary marinade and truthfully, I was really, really impressed by these.
I had the Red Curried Duck with Pineapple Sambal. I was warned that this was quite spicy, but actually this was just spicy enough for me. Being a British girl, they can be forgiven for thinking that I wouldn’t like things too hot, but frankly I LOVE spice and chilli. It was between this and the Vindaloo, but I am thrilled I went with the duck.
Other diners had the Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Sugar Snap Peas, also the Soy Glazed Short Ribs with Celery, Apple & Jalapeño. I wont lie to you, I had more than what is considered the acceptable “taste” of my guests ribs dish… I had what is commonly known as a quarter of it. I feel no remorse as it was delicious and frankly, I’d do it again.
The sides (because you know I cant resist a side) were Coconut Sticky Rice, some really lovely Wok Fried Beans with Basil, Sweet Chilli Glaze. Truthfully, the best side was the Pad Thai which you can have with Vegetables, Chicken or Shrimp. Let’s admit it, everyone loves Pad Thai and this one was so good, we even ate the garnish… True Story.
I would also try the Baby Sea Bass Tempura with Black Bean Sauce and Herbs on going back…
For dessert, we had a selection of ice creams (Including Coconut – YES, and Condensed Milk – YES YES) which were delicious and about all we could manage after the feast we had just had. They also serve it in these fabulous little street food take out boxes… Nice Touch.
What takes this place from “luxury” to “cool luxury” is the presence of an in house DJ (nestled in the wine cellar no less) playing funky and commercial house live for the restaurant. The music was perfect for the setting and just made everything really cool.
We were right next to him and it was exactly what the place needed to draw it the young and trendy crowd along side the more refined foodies.
The W hotel group is very well known for being a cool, luxurious and innovative brand, and this restaurant just emphasises that.
If you want a quiet afternoon tea with scones, then look elsewhere but if you are looking for somewhere seriously cool to go to celebrate with a fun group of people and great food, get yourself a table here… Like now.