With a job as busy as ours, our local editor Anushay Khan headed for date night with her friends to enjoy an evening of food, views and conversation that lasted a long time…

Jason Atherton was one of the first people I interviewed when I started this job earlier this year. Could you imagine landing an interview with a Michelin star chef within the first two months? I was ecstatic. Being a writer, I have noticed how I tend to hold things dear to my heart once I know the story behind it. When the Pearl Social was relaunched earlier this year, I got to know all about Jason and his passion for food, his commitment to his family and his way of honouring his legacy – a story made for the likes of me. When you know the love that goes into making the menu, you’re already prepared to fall in love with the cuisine.

How the team convinced me to try their BBQ menu, I will never be able to remember. BBQ at Pearl Social? It somehow didn’t fit! I sat next to the soothing views of the sea and saw the Qanect Quartier light up at night. I absolutely love the European vibes that the Pearl gives and Marsa Malaz Kempinski sits in the center of it all; like a queen on a throne.

As soon as the first item was served, I latched on to the food as a bee would latch on to honey. You’d think that the sides of the dish would add as an added benefit but the snow pea salad with its feta cheese and scrumptious dressing kept pulling me back for seconds (maybe thirds and fourths) as a filler between meals too. Haute cuisine meets avid haute foodie is how I would like to describe this dinner. I appreciate people who sometimes understand that there is absolutely no need for starters when it comes to meaty night. The night started with a big bang as hotel Aberdeen Angus striploin was served with its greens and parmesan cheese, accompanied by some horseradish sauce that only added to the juiciness of the tenderloins. Once I bit into this heavenly goodness, it took every ounce of me to stop myself and wait for the rest of the BBQ to be served. Level 1 – Pearl Social wins!

One would think that being in a city like Doha would have me accustomed to the seafood around. Whereas it’s true that I do love my maki rolls, sometimes a girl just needs a break. When the monkfish and tiger prawns brochette was served, I whispered to my friend that she was going to have to eat on my behalf. I poured the provencal tomato sauce for the sake of the insta-life and simply took a single bite of the dish. Let’s just say that the two of us were fighting over the last piece because the magicians behind the counter just wanted to see who could resist these tempting bites from paradise. Served on skewers similar to the chicken and halloumi, both these delicacies had us roped in until we ate the dressings from the plates as well. The glazed honey drizzled upon the chicken skewer just added to the luscious twist of the yogurt on the dish. Mr Atherton’s newest menu was winning me over and we were only half way through.

For me, the short rib bo took the trophy home. Have you ever imagined how the thing that you are attracted to the most usually has something to do with a memory? This particular dish took me back to Lahore, experiencing the best food I have had in my life; the street food of Punjab. I know this is a Michelin star chefs’ restaurant but trust me, this is the biggest compliment a foodie from Pakistan with a knack of twists and spicy deliciousness could ever give anyone. The smoked rib, the dripping pickled mustard, the BBQ sauce wrapping itself in the dripping juices of the meat and the sauces that can only be described as euphoric folded into warm pita bread that balanced all the flavours perfectly – I had officially met my match at this place.

“ I latched on to the food as a bee would “ latch on to honey.”

When it comes to desserts, I usually tend to get excited. This was one of those times that I honestly couldn’t care about anything else. The menu has been perfected to the point that I believe the Pearl Social is leading the BBQ game this season. Innovative yet seasoned for local taste buds and simply marvellous for everyone. ✤