Michael Santos embarked on a flavour-filled journey when he got the chance to try the new menu at Cila, at Alwadi Doha – MGallery Hotel Collection

Located within the elegant premises of Alwadi Doha – MGallery Hotel Collection, Cila restaurant is a culinary gem that offers a delightful journey through the flavours of Levantine cuisine. With its nautical ambience, Cila provides an unforgettable gastronomic experience showcasing a range of mouth-watering specialities. And now, with the launch of an exceptional new menu, there is even more to enjoy.

On entering, you’ll be welcomed by a delightful fusion of modern and maritime aesthetics. The decor features blue bottles, once used to store spices during the spice trade era, and walls finished with oak barrels. The elegant interior, infused with Middle Eastern accents, creates an inviting atmosphere perfect for intimate dinners or gatherings of friends and family with a view of the old souq. Soft lighting adds a touch of romance, while the tasteful background music complements the overall vibe.

Cila specialises in Levantine cuisine, encompassing the culinary traditions of the eastern Mediterranean region, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. The menu features a wide range of appetisers, main courses and desserts, each prepared with the utmost care and attention to detail. Whether you are a vegetarian, a seafood lover or a meat enthusiast, Cila caters to all palates, ensuring a memorable gastronomic adventure.

To start the culinary journey, indulge in the selection of appetisers. The traditional mixed mezze platter is a must-try, featuring an assortment of small dishes such as avocado hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouleh, served with freshly baked pita bread. The avocado hummus is a fusion of two beloved ingredients and is an irresistible twist on the classic hummus recipe. The creaminess of the avocado and the smoothness of the pureed chickpeas create a velvety consistency that is incredibly pleasing to the palate. It will leave you wanting more.

The main course offerings at Cila are a true testament to the culinary expertise of the chefs. The menu includes succulent grilled meats, perfectly cooked seafood, and flavourful vegetarian dishes. One standout is the Tomahawk steak, delicately seasoned for 48 hours and grilled to perfection. The intramuscular fat, or marbling, found throughout the cut melts during cooking, infusing the meat with a rich, buttery flavour and imparting exceptional juiciness, making each bite a delightful experience. Accompanied by fragrant vegetables, truffle fries, creamy mashed potatoes with parmesan cheese and a mushroom sauce that delightfully complements the steak, this is a dish I would fully recommend to everybody.

I also tried the seabass which is a great option for seafood lovers. The tender flesh of the fish was moist and succulent with a delightful flaky texture that melted in my mouth. And a lightly spiced, flame-grilled octopus, really hit the spot, the chef’s skilful preparation allowing the fish to shine as the true protagonist of the dish.

To conclude this culinary journey, Cila’s dessert menu offers a sweet finale that leaves a lasting impression. The Pistachio Crème Brûlée is a delightful, sweet treat combining silky smooth custard with a satisfying crackle of caramelised sugar. The custard was velvety and creamy, with a delicate hint of vanilla that afforded a subtle sweetness. The pistachios provided a slight, satisfying crunch, adding texture to the dessert. Pouring the flower-infused sugar syrup on top is simply heavenly. Breaking through the caramelised layer with a spoon creates a satisfying crack, revealing the smooth custard underneath. It is an experience that will leave your taste buds rejoicing and your heart longing for more.

If you are a chocolate lover seeking pure culinary bliss, look no further than the exquisite chocolate lava cake at Cila. The initial bite is a symphony of flavours and textures. The outer layer of the cake is soft and moist, with a delicate crumb that melts in your mouth. The contrast between the warm, gooey centre and the tender cake creates a sensory experience that is truly unforgettable. The chocolate lava, with its heavenly blend of sweetness and slight bitterness, served with vanilla ice cream, is pure liquid gold.

Cila is a destination that captivates guests with its impeccable service, inviting ambience and exceptional Levantine cuisine. Whether you are a resident or a traveller visiting Doha, the venue promises an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates the rich culinary and maritime heritage of the region. From indulgent appetisers to satisfying mains and delectable desserts, each dish is carefully crafted to delight the senses. ✤