Al Sultan Brahim will already be a well-known brand to foodies who’ve travelled to Lebanon itself. There are three branches of the restaurant there and FACT’s Craig Ferriman has also been to one of them twice and loved the experience. So, it’s no surprise that he revelled at the chance to visit Qatar’s popular branch at The St. Regis Doha…
You can drive straight up to Al Sultan Brahim rather than enter it via a hotel main entrance. A warm welcome is extended by staff on arrival, many of whom are Lebanese and all are charming. Like its counterpart on the downtown waterfront in Beirut, there is copious seating both indoors and outdoors. At this time of year, it is rather sublime to sit outdoors and feel a little lapping of the sea breeze waft up from the beach nearby. I sat indoors by the calming fish tanks which was in line with the fish theme and made me feel very at ease indeed. The menu is rather extensive and there are no real rules from what I could tell. Multiple combinations and the chance to eat as much or as little as you like. The table seemed to be constantly full with food and that seemed to be about the right way to be doing things.
This is a seafood restaurant par-excellence It’s all about the fish. I started with the bizri salad purely the waiter’s recommendation. The bizri bit is fried white bait fish and it comes with arugula, lettuce with tahini dressing and yummy pomegranate. The fattoush was as good as you’ll get anywhere. There are so many different kinds of speciality hummus to choose from that it was very hard to know what to go for. The staff were incredible though and so knowledgeable and passionate about their food that I let them make suggestions. When the waiter asked me if I can handle something with a bit of a kick to it, he brought out the hommos akary which has diced pickles and tomatoes, chopped parsley, pine seeds and olive oil. It was superb. If I remember the story correctly, the chef devised this after he opened another Al Sultan Brahim venue in Jounieh. The seemingly, slightly more traditional though very much unique, hommos Beiruti which has mashed chickpeas, diced parsley and tomatoes.
There is a giant room just off from the main dining room which is full of recently caught fish all lined up in a row literally staring at you in the face! A lot of the fish was caught locally off Qatar’s shores so there was hamour and red snapper but I chose a large sea bass. They offer to do a few things with them but basically speaking, you choose it and they’ll gut it and grill it for you in garlic and coriander and bring it out to you on a plate. It was straightforward yet spellbinding. Steamed Mediterranean vegetables came with it. The perfect combination. I also tried their delicious scallops and the juicy lobster which is surely the prize to behold. The calamari was good and worthy of a mention too.
The menu is fleshed out with slightly more experimental items that are most certainly not Lebanese like fish teriyaki and Norwegian mussels and I did not have the chance to try those, thanks to a full and satisfying belly. For the most part, this is a quintessentially Lebanese masterpiece with flavours that leave a mouth-watering finish and service that certainly pleases at high standards. ✤
GO: VISIT AL SULTAN BRAHIM AT THE ST. REGIS DOHA.
CALL 4446 0105 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION.