In a city filled with French restaurants and cafés, Kalvin Ng finds La Parisienne stands out by offering tasty bistro dishes in a casual, relaxed setting.

Let’s start with the décor. Situated on the ground floor of the Intercontinental Doha – The City, the first sign of this little corner of Paris in Qatar is the characteristic red-and-white rattan bistro chairs on the terrace by the entrance. The Parisian theme continues inside, with impressionist-inspired paintings depicting life in the City of Lights. A traditional ‘boulangerie-patisserie’ sign above the counter extends into a mural to create the impression of a quaint, neighbourhood bakery where you can buy freshlybaked bread, pastries and cakes, and take a slice of France home with you – pun intended.

However, far from being a kitschy interpretation of a French café, La Parisienne is modern and sophisticated, with a wideranging menu of French classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Executive Chef Oliver Weber prepares our appetite with a truffle-infused baked camembert, the soft, creamy texture accompanying well with baguettes.

If you’re in the mood for pizza but don’t feel like having anything heavy with cheese or dough, La Parisienne has just the answer: Flammekuchen, or tarte flambée. A speciality of the Alsace region in eastern France on the border with Germany, Flammekuchen has a wafer-thin dough with a light spreading of sour cream, beef bacon, onion and leek. Imagine a crispy and light wood-fired pizza, perfect as a snack or a meal on its own with a side salad.

Next, it’s onto southern France and one of its most comforting foods: cassoulet. A slow-cooked meat stew of duck leg, sausages and white beans, the dish is hearty and warm, yet avoids being too heavy. It’s the culinary equivalent of a hug. The confit duck leg was full of flavour and fell off the bone.

This was followed by melted raclette cheese over baby potatoes, served with a selection of European cold cuts. The cheese was velvety smooth with a slight nutty flavour. Both the raclette and cassoulet feature as chef’s specials on the menu.

Although our stomachs were rather full by now, no visit to a French restaurant can be complete without dessert. In fact, I haven’t come across many French people who’d deny their sweet tooth. The Crème Brûlée waffle is one of the standout dishes, combining two dessert favourites with fresh fruit and mascarpone. Same goes for the lightly baked cheesecake, delicately caramelised on the top with a gold leaf, and served in a specially-designed wooden box.

However, I couldn’t complete the meal without trying one of La Parisienne’s signature homemade crêpes. Light and fluffy crêpes were drizzled with fresh berries, bananas and syrup, evoking memories of crêperies in Paris. The desserts were generously sized to be shared among friends, if you can stop yourself from devouring them all.

For a little taste of France in Doha, La Parisienne is an ideal destination for a casual get-together with friends or a family-friendly meal with plenty of pocket-friendly options for everyone and it’s open daily from 7am to 10pm. ✤