LIVING UP TO THE HYPE
Bianca Apps headed to Banana Island Resort Doha to discover a dining experience in delightful surroundings.
After a wonderfully relaxing and quite blissful spa treatment, we were rejuvenated and excited to try the famous and celebrated Arabic restaurant, Al Nahham.
One of my favourite things about this resort is that even the transportation from one venue to another is an adventure, with each journey offering a new perspective of this gorgeous, azure coastal gem. On leaving the tranquil spa haven, we eagerly boarded the waiting golf cart and were on our way to the north of the island to enjoy an Arabic feast!
As we pulled up to the restaurant, we were warmly greeted by Al Nahham’s smiling staff, chef and manager, and we immediately felt so welcomed and comfortable. Moving inside, we noticed right away the elegant design and decor with authentic Arabic art and products throughout, adding a subtle and sophisticated cultural vibe. With its high ceilings, sweeping views of the ocean and soothing ambience, we were tempted to sit inside, but with the sun beginning to set, we were ultimately drawn to the large sun-drenched terrace overhanging the sea. After choosing our spot, we took a minute to take in the pure serenity and natural beauty of the vast waters and bright blue sky. The gentle burble of the waves lapping against the rocks below and the breathtaking vistas combine to make the setting a stunning lunch location.
We were thrilled to check out the menu and, with a wide array of options to choose from, we enlisted the help of our friendly waiter for recommendations. He was very knowledgeable about all the dishes and made some interesting suggestions. As we considered our options, we were served an exquisite hibiscus and rose water-based mocktail (karkade special). Each sip was packed with flavour and the fresh and fragrant hibiscus aroma delighted the senses.
We decided to try some of our favourites and a few of the restaurant’s unique variations. To start, we had avocado hummus, lamb pide, batata harra and stuffed vine leaves (warak enab bil zaite). While all of them were delicious, the avocado hummus was the star of this quartet with a velvety texture, vibrant green colour and the avocado really punctuating the taste! I would never usually think to combine these flavours, but it was a mouthwatering mix that we will undoubtedly be ordering every time!
The lamb pide was also very well done; minced lamb served hot on thin Arabic bread with a side of yoghurt that perfectly enhanced the bold flavours. The batata harra – potato cubes with garlic, coriander, lemon and chilli – was a delicious dish in its own right and the perfect accompaniment for the other starters. Last but not least, the stuffed vine leaves filled with seasoned rice, tomato, mint and parsley were also some of the best we’ve had in Qatar.
For our main course, we chose the seafood platter and the mixed grill, which allowed us to sample a great variety of superb specialities, complemented with bursts of flavour from an assortment of sauces and dips. The seafood platter was particularly impressive, with a generous serving of grilled king prawns, lobster, hammour fillet and calamari. In my previous experience, the smokiness of a barbecue can sometimes overpower some white fish and delicate shellfish; however, each offering on the Al Nahham seafood platter maintained its fresh and scrumptious flavour while still guaranteeing the rich smokiness. The exceptional lobster and king prawns stole the show, with melt-in-the-mouth decadence and sizable portions boasting a smooth and delectable barbecue taste! The hammour and calamari were also perfectly seasoned and cooked.
The savoury seafood treats were juxtaposed with the bold, equally appetising charcoal mixed grill. This was also a winner, arriving on an actual barbecue grill, with coals still smouldering beneath and warming the lamb chops, kebab, kofta and chicken shish taouk with grilled vegetables. Of course, we took the opportunity to add some side dishes and the staff gladly proposed familiar favourite Arabic salads. Altogether, this tabletop of colourful and fresh flavours created a truly spectacular lunch treat that captivated our taste buds and senses.
Although we were already ecstatic and very satisfied after this feast, when our charming waiter excitedly suggested different speciality beverage options, we couldn’t turn down their signature pina colada mocktail. With the sun slowly dipping closer to the horizon, we sipped on the smooth yet zesty, sweet pineapple drink and enjoyed the peaceful ambience, reflecting on what was the perfect day on Banana Island Resort Doha.
We had heard so many amazing things about Al Nahham’s chef and his team, along with their extensive selection of unique dishes, that I had found myself wondering how Al Nahham could match our extremely high expectations. Happily, the hype surrounding the fan-favourite culinary destination is very well deserved and their customer service, presentation and overall quality were top notch. ✤
GO: CALL 4040 5075 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION.