Elemental Gastronomy

Emille Loyola Artigas went on a sensory adventure at MURU.

It was a weekend dinner date when we eagerly drove into the glittering and vibrant West Bay, where the iconic Waldorf Astoria Doha West Bay is located. With a façade and main entrance almost identical to the original Waldorf Astoria in New York, the hotel is a nod to the brand’s rich heritage and legacy, bringing Manhattan flair to Qatar’s capital.

We could feel the thrilling ambience that awaited us on entering the exceptionally designed and intricately lit main entrance of the newly launched MURU. The brand is brought to us by the acclaimed Chef Mauro Colagreco, who drew inspiration from his rich heritage and global travels, resulting in a menu that seamlessly blends classic and innovative cuisine in a symphony of flavours, introducing an entirely new concept to the Doha dining scene.

The interior is meticulously decorated, featuring MURU’s identity that is deeply rooted in the elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire; the seating areas divided into four sections. The bar and lounge area at the end of the restaurant features the Earth’s nurturing qualities in its interiors and decorations. We stayed at the bar while I marvelled at the design, soaking in the garden-like atmosphere as the bartenders expertly crafted and served mixed drinks. The distinctive cork-covered walls and the use of natural colours and textures from light pastels to browns, evoke a sense of warmth and serenity.

Water danced in a flowing, curving seamless motion in the Water section, that is designed to manifest a balance of light, brightness and reflection using calming colours – just like the dancing sea or a trickling stream. Here, the cold station was showcased in an eye-catching exhibition of maki rolls, ceviche and appetisers.

We were seated at the Fire section, which exuded life’s transformative passion from the subtle yet powerful force in the setting and tone. Our view from the table was of the trendy open kitchen with a wood fire roasting station as the centrepiece. Seeing all these areas heightened our anticipation for the dishes that were about to reach our table.

MURU’s menu is a testament of Chef Mauro’s culinary prowess, featuring an array of tantalising, innovative dishes that pay homage to his heritage. Antonella, our friendly hostess for the evening, expertly explained the menu and we chose based on her recommendations. While waiting, we were served with the most amazing garlic bread, so tasty like no other. First to arrive was the enticing set of starters. Mixto, a delightful mix of scallops, octopus and shrimps perfectly cured in leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk, instilling a heavenly crisp citrus flavour, was the right start to the experience. Being a cheese fanatic, I could not pass on one particular item. The Empanada Humita with corn, cheese and béchamel, with a creamy dip, was a crispy wrap with a flavourful symphony that just melts in your mouth. The simply named Tuna Maki roll was far from simple and was our favourite among the appetisers. It had essences of nikkiri veil, crispy leeks and jalapenos blended delightfully. I couldn’t get enough of it.

The mains were a sight to behold. It was not an easy choice, but in the end, we went for the Rib-Eye and Miso Glazed Black Cod. I have not seen a rib-eye cut thinner or as wide as it was in MURU, but it proved to be the best way to do it. Every bite delivered a rich, robust beef flavour and a wonderfully juicy, tender texture, deep, nutty and concentrated, I did not even need the sauce.

The Miso Glazed Black Cod was a revelation! It was the best tasting black cod ensemble I had experienced so far. The epitome of a masterpiece. The presentation was decadent, so was the taste – rich and buttery – the black cod lay on a bed of rice cream and green oil, flawlessly complemented by Gomasio, a Japanese sesame salt, that made this dreamy dish unforgettable.

MURU is an immersive environment that honours the splendour of the natural world. It embodies a celebration, harmonising with the elements of nature in perfect balance. This ethos influences the team, each member displaying compassion, intelligence and deep love for their craft, characterised by calmness, positivity and attentiveness. Antonella, who assisted our table, knew the menu by heart and we became so engaged in how she explained each and every item. Anthony, the restaurant General Manager, was visiting every table regularly to ensure guests were having a wonderful experience.

MURU definitely requires another visit as there’s a lot more on the menu that I know I will love. It was an experience to remember and it is evident that this restaurant is poised to take the Doha culinary scene by storm, one delectable dish at a time. ✤