Its that time of the year again and with the fabulous weather change, we announce our second Food Bloggers Qatar Meet. As always, we aim at bringing the community a step closer as well as giving our social media followers an insight about our meet ups and word of mouth about the fantastic restaurant we will visit.
Food Bloggers Meet definitely calls for networking that is perfectly paired with decadent food and a gorgeous ambiance. And if food wasn’t enough, this time around, we have associated with the foodiepedias of Qatar –
Zomato‘s first Iftar Foodie Meetup was held at Eatopia in the Gate Mall. When I first experienced Eatopia, I was a bit taken back, confused by the concept and didn’t think I’d come back. Than I was invited to my first Zomato Meetup back in April where everything was explained to me by the friendly staff and management. We had such a blast, I’ve been coming back every since!
However, this was my first time experiencing Eatopia during Ramadan. I must say, it was one of my best experiences yet at Eatopia! Here’s why.
THE ORIGINAL CONCEPT
First off, you need to understand the original concept. As you step in on the 2nd floor of the Gate Mall, there is a vast entrance with the left leading you to the restaurant and the right leading you to the oh so sweet shop/deli. As you walk into the restaurant, you’ll see multiple stations, starting with the dessert section on the right, salad and sushi to the center, than coming around to the left to find the Arabic, Italian and Western sections.
After you select your seat and order your drinks, you then take your order card that’s assigned to you and make your way to your section of choice. Whatever you order is than scanned onto the card and you can take a seat while it’s made than delivered right to your table. For example, get your salad, scan, walk to the Italian, order your fresh made pasta, scan, order a shawarma because you can, scan, have a seat and everything comes to your table.
Once done, you take your card to the cashier, make your payment and walk off your food coma.
During Ramadan, Eatopia basically has the best of both worlds, a buffet of all it’s goodness set out with the cooking stations still going strong. How sweet is that idea? So I was given a quick tour of what to expect by the lovely manager, Ms Marifel, showing me the addition of a juice bar, where we can get our popular Ramadan drinks like lemon mint and cold karkadeh (hibiscus iced tea to the rest of you) along side all their popular stations, most with ready made food laid out plus your option to get a made to order dish.
As the Foodies gathered round, I gave them a quick explaination and as soon as it was time to break fast, we were off. Eatopia had generously laid out water and dates for us at the table so we can traditionally break our fasts. I started with the salad section where I made my selection and a helpful staff added in the dressing of my choosing.
Afterwards, I was anxious to get my hands on a Penne Eatopia, my favorite dish at Eatopia, period! Because it was buffet style, they made the next closet thing to their menu item which was penne pasta with mushroom and “pink sauce”, a lighter version of the typical tomato marinara sauce. It was still so good and the portion was just right, you could go for seconds on your choosing. However, I ended up trying their pizza for the first time and I almost went back for seconds! Cheesiest, thinnest pizza I’ve had in a long time! That was pizza my friends, right there! Bruchetta came in three forms. Your original, your duck breast and your two in one. I tried the original and the duck breast which was highly recommended by Ms. Marifel and it was sublime. So good, I went looking for her to thank her for her recommendation!
Of course, must end such a heavy weighted iftar with dessert. I hadn’t tried most of their desserts as I’m usually always too full but yesterday, I was ready and determined! Everything offered looked so good. I had a few pastries, a small helping of Umm Ali and two scoops of ice cream, one chocolate (of course!), one raspberry.
Umm Ali was simply divine, and I mean someone actually did it right for a change. It’s such a popular dessert for Ramadan yet it’s either too dry or too much coconut, yuck! This was balanced and literally perfect, I could’ve licked my bowl clean. Then I went for the ice cream and it was seriously one of the best I’ve ever had. I need to go back and find out where they got it from or if they make it themselves because it was seriously that good. I mean, G.O.O.D.!
If you like fresh and variety, you’ll LOVE Eatopia for iftar this Ramadan. Seriously, (and I don’t care if it sounds cheesy) I believe the reason the food is so good is because it’s made with love. Not a single staff is without a smile, anxious to give you the best experience possible.
For just 135QR per person, you get an iftar of great food, accessible parking and 5 stars service! Suhour is also served starting at 9pm which includes a live band. I recommend calling for reservations in advance, especially on weekends. Don’t for get to check out the shop and get your receipt for discounted parking.
St. Regis Doha – Ramadan Tent Review June 20th, 2015
My friend’s and I tried the St. Regis Doha’s Ramadan Tent for iftar yesterday and it was wonderful!! Here’s my take of the evening:
ST. REGIS DOHA – RAMDAN TENT
The decor in the hall turned tent was a typical “Ramadan in Doha” theme. With makeshift bird huts surrounding the dessert section in the center and lots of lights hanging around the celling. The tables were setup nicely, with space to walk around without bumping into anyone. All in all, I thought it was a beautiful setup.
Service was great! We didn’t know if we had someone specific for our area but anyone we asked to help us did so with a smile. They were all dressed in matching, beautiful cultural outfits, befitting of the theme. There is a prayer area just outside the hall, not far from the well maintained restrooms.
Of course, I’m always pleased with free valet parking which was made available at the lower entrance of the main hotel building. Please, don’t forget to tip the lovely guys taking care of your ride out in the heat!
The setup was in six sections, five starters and entrees around one end of the tent and the sixth being the massive dessert section in the center. You had multiple offerings such as sushi, salads, Indian dishes, pastas, Mediterranean dishes and a butcher section. I tried my best to have a little bit of everything!
I started with a small bit of salad and some of the Indian offerings. I loved the wheat aloo pratha, the “chips” (I have no idea what they are called but they were addictive!) with all the side dips including the mango yogurt. I even tried what looked like a potato samosa but it was spinach and I really hate spinach.
The pasta options were few but you were given the option to take from either the ready made pasta dishes or request one done right there at the station. I did not try the pasta but I watched as one of the station chef was making one for a guest, looked and smelled amazing! We took a walk across the main wall where the Mediterranean dishes were set. On either side you had the leg of lamb over rice then varying rices, potatoes, stews, chicken, kofta and fish dishes. I tried the saffron chicken, the fish with brown rice and what looked like baked potato wedges, which were pretty good.
Craving red meat, I bee lined to the butcher section to come across cheese sliders, beef cuts with bell peppers, lamb shanks, a carving board with what I presume to be a beef roast, lamb bites in pastry and Yorkshire pudding or what I famously called “cheesy bread” to my British friends!
The cheese slider was a bit pink for me and the yellow chedder cheese was not melted but flavourful. I didn’t finish my beef cuts because it was too rare for me. The lamb bites were good and of course the Yorkshire pudding was amazing!
I wanted to go back for more but we decided to head to dessert since it was already 7:30pm. Dessert selections were a variety between Arabic and western. One side of the circle had a long ice cream que which I refused to stand in when there were so many other options. The opposite side of the circle had your Arab sweets with someone helping man the kunafeh table which also had a long que, however I couldn’t blame them as those were straight from Al Aker!
And on either sides of those long ques, were two chocolate fountains, one milk chocolate, the other dark chocolate with a selection of cakes and fruits to dip in. Alongside those fountains were varies mini cakes, parfaits, pastries, whips and mousses.
I tried the mango tiramisu, coffee panna cotta, puff pastry, ghurayeba (sugar cookies) with pistashio, dipped chocolate cake in milk chocolate and some fruit. Everything was good but my favorite was the chocolate cake, absolutely good. My friends dipped their fruit cake in milk chocolate and ran for second helpings before the buffet was closed.
Aside from minor details, I wish there was more live cooking stations especially for the Mediterranean section. I also wish that iftar lasted a little bit longer than an hour and a half. Yes the tent is open at 6pm but iftar doesn’t start until Maghrib time which is at 6:30pm, with many of us needing to pray either right before Isha which is at 8:20pm or as soon as we break our fast.
All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves last night! I highly recommend giving St. Regis a try sometime during Ramadan where both iftar and suhour are served. Iftar is at 230QR a person, which is well worth it for the variety of food and unlimited drinks. There are also vouchers available if you have the Entertainer App.
The event took place at the Four Season’s Il Teatro, currently run by Chef Marco Arlotti. Since this was my first experience at Four Seasons all together, I was extremely excited! For only 150QR, we indulged in a 5 course meal, a chance to interact with amazing food bloggers and left with a goodie bag worth over 200QR! Kudos Doaa for a fabulous and well organized event. With her blessings, here is my take on the evening.
FOOD BLOGGERS QATAR MEETUP
The idea to hold the first Food Bloggers Meetup at a location as grand as the Four Seasons, right off of Diplomatic Road in Doha, was very smart. Free valet parking, helpful, smiling staff and a calm atmosphere on a Saturday evening was a great way to get you in the mood to mingle and eat!
We had a lovely indoor, quite intimate, set up arranged just for our large group. Our hostess encouraged us to change seats and interact with one another. Throughout the evening, individuals introduced themselves, their work and why they do what they do. Amongst us were chefs, bakers and simple food lovers like myself. Despite the love of food that brought us together that evening, everyone was unique and different in their approach and expression of this love.
And if you were a fan of one’s work, it was wonderful to put a face to the name. The highlight of my evening was not only meeting those I was already a fan of, but discovering those I should be a fan of!
For example, I meet for the first time Zomato‘s Country Manager, Haytham Bennani whom encouraged our work in support of bringing forth the best eateries to the spot light. We had a very interesting conversation about the our individual work and he gave me a few tips to continue ranting away on my love for food. I am now a fan!
Of course, when food is good, it’s always a delight to meet the chef! Chef Arlotti spoke to us about his work in Italy before moving to Doha just a few months prior. Despite his young age, the man has year, I mean years of experience and ideas galore to present to the table. I look forward to tasting more of what he has to offer.
Overall, the event was a huge success! We were a full house of happily stuffed people already discussing when the next meetup would take place. Doaa has her plates set! Additionally, I’d like to thank Four Seasons for adding to our goodie bag the beautiful journal. I’ve decided to use it to outline my “I’m Always Hungry” rants!
“How have I not come here before?” was the question that swam through my head from the moment I walked in to the moment I walked out of Il Teatro.
The décor was elegant yet simple, the staff were welcoming, the lighting was deem, creating a calm atmosphere. Even though the lighting may not necessarily have been great for photography (which should explain the photo quality of some images here), maybe that was the catch. More focus on the experience rather than the need to Instagram your meal?
The set menu provided to us made it seem that we’d be treated to a 4 course meal and because the words “lasagna” and “spring chicken” made my eyes sparkle, I assumed, small portions to taste everything. I was wrong, oh so wrong!
We were surprised by a soft crab amuse bouche of sorts as a treat. If you know me, you know I don’t do crab, I just don’t. When it comes to shell fish, I prefer lobster and shrimp.
However, since it was a first time for everything, I thought to myself, “after oh so many years of not touching crab, tonight was the night.” This crab was not only indeed softer than I’d expect but very flavorful, cooked to perfection, decadent to be exact. I couldn’t believe I finished that plate.
Then the originally set menu began with seared scallops garnished with caviar. The presentation was mixed. My plate came as if it had almost fallen from the poor waiter’s hands while others plates looked exceptionally beautiful. Of course the photo on my Instagram was not of my plate but it was too pretty to not steal a snapshot of.
The caviar complementing the scallops made my messy plate worth while. I highly recommend this appetizer.
Yes, entrees with an “s”, plural because we were given two dishes not two options as I had originally thought. Can you imagine my excitement? We were served lasagna with parmesan sauce and spring chicken breast, roasted with light gravy and asparagus.
The lasagna was an average sized circular cut portion that needed a bit of salt and pepper. However, it was absolutely delicious. So delicious, for a moment all you heard across the room were the forks against the plates as it picked up pieces of this deliciousness into the silent salivating mouths. It’s that type of silence that let’s you know something is oh so good!
So good, when the chicken arrived, everyone looked around wondering, “is it wrong to be full already?” Of course, my hungry self had to go for it and it was simply divine. The chicken was tender, the gravy was just right for the portion that was just as large as the lasagna. I tried my best, trust me, to finish the tender chicken. I took a bite, had a sip of my specially made pineapple free mocktail, waited, talked, waited, laughed then repeated the steps. I’ve never been so upset for food being taken away from in front of me like I was with this chicken.
How something as simple as lasagna and chicken can take over one’s senses is simply beyond me. Hat’s off to Chef Marco!
Tiramisu. I’ve had such bad experiences with this complex dessert. Some are too bitter. Some are too sweet for my sweet tooth. Some simply don’t deserve the name all together!
Il Teatro, by far, served the best tiramisu I’ve ever had in Doha… in Qatar… in this part of the world! It seriously tops my list of the best tiramisus I’ve ever had! I couldn’t stop ranting all night at how great this tiramisu is. If we made comments here and there about anything that was served to us that night, we all unanimously agreed the tiramisu was a hit!
Plated in a large martini glass, topped with an eatable salute to Food Bloggers Qatar & the Four Seasons, this tiramisu was extremely light, fluffy and I’m assuming had a lovely hint of nutmeg.
If you have anything at Il Teatro, anything at all, have the tiramisu! This glass of goodness can seriously turn any long day into the best day ever.
Food Bloggers Qatar Meetup = Fantastic, well organized and just plain fun!
Four Seasons Hotel = Wonderful, just wonderful!
Il Teatro = Delicious! It’s seriously very rare in Doha do you come across a restaurant in a 5 star hotel that actually doesn’t let you leave hungry! Hopefully that wasn’t just for the event but I’ll have to find that out for myself on my next visit… coming soon! 😉
Roger’s Diner New Menu Taste Testing Event January 11, 2015
If you follow me on either Instagram, Twitter, FourSquare or Facebook (of course you do!), then you’ve noticed my many checked ins and pictures of our great eats at Roger’s Diner, located on C-Ring, between AlSadd and AlRayyan Road in Doha. My co-workers and I loved the business lunch deal, where you get an appetizer, entree and dessert for only 55QR from 12-3pm.
So when Roger’s Diner invited me along with 3 friends to taste test the new menu on the evening of January 11th, I couldn’t say “no”! My co-workers Sahar and Adel were excited about the invitation and to be able to introduce this amazing place to our friend Dana and our new colleague, Ahmed, whom just landed in Qatar a few months ago. Roger’s was kind enough to stretch our invitation an extra seat so that our two newbies can taste why Roger’s is one of our favorite lunch spots.
The entire restaurant was reserved for just the invitees of the new menu taste testers that evening. It made me feel very VIP if you ask me. It surely impressed our group as we walked in, welcomed and our verbal note of an invitation honored.
Roger’s maintains a classic American aviation theme with a large plane propeller and a wide flight wings as decor. From the cushioned booths to the table settings to the menu design, the theme is through out while maintaining the look and feel of a legit American diner. Large TVs are propped throughout the restaurant usually planing an American movie or a soccer (keeping it American) game with popular American 90s music playing in the background.
In all honesty, I always feel like I’m in a diner back home in the States on any given day.
Roger’s previous menu was fairly simply, give or take 5 different kinds of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, pastas and desserts. This new menu has much more options plus the originals still intact which I was so glad to see.
It only made sense for us to order as we usually do: an appetizer, entree and dessert. After asking our hosts what they recommended we try off the new menu, we made our order. It was great to see our hosts be well aware of the new menu and their excitement over the new dishes they’ve surely tried and enjoyed.
I took a glance at the prices which seemed to be along the lines of the previous menu. Most dishes ranging from 20 to 70QR. The drinks remained the same though I had hoped for bigger glasses versus those two-sips-your-done they keep serving iced tea in for 24QR. At least offer refills for ice tea and fountain drinks for those cups, please. Pretty please!
We were all very pleased with our appetizers. Sahar, Dana and myself ordered varying soups and were very please with the taste, texture and portion. I could have easily been happy with a soup and salad combo, an option I’d like Roger’s to offer at a decent price.
Ahmed ordered a mixed fried appetizer dish which was pretty good, ranging from onion rings to calimari. The portion was large and easily shared amongst all 5 of us.
For our entrees, two of us ordered the new sizzling fajitas, and I mean sizzling! I ordered the mixed chicken and shrimp while Ahmed ordered the beef. My dish was very tender, flavorful and the side toppings were more than enough. However, I wish the server hadn’t uncovered my tortilla bin as they cooled down fairly quickly during the 10 or so minutes we were asked to pose for pictures.
Sahar ordered the seasoned chicken drumsticks with rice and gravy. The portion was large and very filling according to her. A dish she would order again.
Adel ordered the salmon and raved at it’s flavor. It took a while longer than the rest of our dishes to come out but he was extremely happy with his dish that my camera missed it.
Dana ordered the beef medallions with steamed vegetables topped with mushroom sauce. She stated it was tender, juicy and cooked to her liking. A dish she recommended we must try on our next visit.
For dessert, I ordered the Nutella banana crepe, Sahar ordered the Oreo fundant cake and the rest ordered the classic New York cheese cake. I was not happy with my dessert at all. The crepe itself was very doughy, the Nutella not enough spared that I didn’t finish it.
Sahar thought her cake was OK, disappointed that the melted chocolate center that was expected was really just Oreo cookie crumbs. We both thought that something needs to be added to make this Oreo cake sublime.
The rest were very happy with the cheese cakes, a dessert off the classic menu. I’ve always enjoyed the brownie a la mode and recommend it to anyone on any given day. It’s always been my favorite dessert at Roger’s and a part of me wish I had ordered it instead.
Our group had a fantastic evening and truly enjoyed our food! I really hope Roger’s fixes up those dessert recipes as it does have a lot of potential. The ambiance was friendly as always and the service was seriously at it’s best! A special shout out to our waiter Paul, whom really went over and beyond to accommodate us that evening.
We’d like to once again thank Qanect and Roger’s Diner for a lovely evening, a great new menu and the overall wonderful food! It was a delight to taste test the new offerings and can’t wait until the business lunches are rebooted!
2015 is the year I shall begin writing a few reviews a month since I’m constantly raving about the amazing eateries here in Qatar. In between reviews, I highly recommend that you check out some of my favorite Qatar based foodie bloggers, Hungry Birds Doha and Life on the Wedge… You’re welcome.
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