Soulful entertainment, relaxed surroundings and a fine dining feast were on the menu for Ailsa Whyatt at Sax.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that striking a balance between dining and entertainment is hard. If you are trying to eat then music can be too loud, if you are trying to party then fine diners can seem out of place. Not so for the new Sax at St Regis, Doha, which opened in November 2022. Finally, we have a place to go where the two combine in perfect harmony in this low-lit, intimate setting, radiating with comfort and opulence. Here you will find low marble tables, large chairs, gold-leaf lamps and tubular panelled walls from which you can watch the daily live music (9.30pm), and then watch in astonishment as the DJ booth rises out of the stage on a scissor jack, for the set at 11pm.

We are sitting inside tonight, in prime place to see the band, but don’t miss out on trying the outside terrace – complete with the coolest retractable roof I have ever seen, and that includes Wimbledon – for the chic, leafy environs, live music and the famous Sax A-Go-Go offer of unlimited selected beverages and nibbles from 6pm to 8.30pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday and 4pm to 8pm on Fridays, you can even get behind the bar and serve your own drinks, should you fancy!

The lovely Nadine welcomes us and shows us our table, after which we are greeted by General Manager Saleem who expertly guides us through our evening. Mixologist Lara treats us to two of her new creations – an Orquidea (think piña colada but with a twist), and a Misaki (lemon and cucumber freshness with a wasabi kick to wake you up for the evening’s entertainment!). Served in a smoking cloche and beautifully crafted with hand-carved clear ice cubes, the Misaki is garnished with a curled cucumber roll, upon which sits a redcurrant with gold-leaf as its final touch…

A warm bread basket is placed in front of us – a brioche bun containing cheese and walnut, and another with figs in, as well as some mini baguettes. All have the right amount of crunch on the outside and soft doughiness within. A selection of starters is brought forth: there is so much to choose from on this menu, where sharing is the approved modus operandi, that you could come here many times over and have completely different meals each time. A refreshing and colourful Beetroot Artichoke Salad, adorned with a purple tuile that perfectly matches the colour of the beetroot, containing hints of lemon, mustard seed and tarragon, and some hidden plump raisins goes well with the Guacamole in Cones, which are served standing up in what looks like a bed of mini coffee beans, salmon caviar sprinkled on top.

Arancini Mushrooms Truffle come mushroom-y and oozing with cheese from within, and Saleem is careful to ensure we try it both without and then with the delicate heat of the tomato sauce and truffle oil. My guest and I are divided in our opinions, statistically proving that there is no wrong answer to the question, ‘To sauce, or not to sauce?’. Next we dive into Beef Tataki, which is tender and peppery, with nutty sesame flavours on the nose. It has a kicky sweetness from the maple soy ponzu sauce and glorious fiery red from the togarashi sprinkled around the edges of the plate. Also favouring our table are Salmon Tartare and Brie in Filo Dough, but for me the real star of the show is the Shrimp Macaroni. Decadent, creamy truffle with al dente morsels of prawn. In short, homely cheesy, goodness: pasta, cheese, truffle, crustaceans and live music; life is pretty good…

Saleem brings out Chicken Roulade and Seared Salmon – both beautifully presented on sultry earthenware. The chicken rolls are stuffed with colour (sundried tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms), each on a bed of mashed potato and surrounding some roasted garden vegetables, served with a voronoff sauce made with onions, garlic, Dijon mustard, cream and just a hint of beetroot. Our salmon is tenderly presented ‘mi-cuit’, with perfectly sautéed spinach (cooked in lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper), alongside some crunchy, herby potato fondue cylinders. A lemon oil and Grenobloise sauce lifts the flavours, adding a citrusy lightness.

Desserts replace our savouries, and we are wondering where we will find space for the Mini Tarte Trio and the Tiramisu. The Trio is a vanilla cheesecake drizzled with berry compote, sitting inside a thick biscuit cup (my guest actually does a little dance when she tries it, she loves it so much!); a lemon meringue cup, where zesty lemon sits beneath fluffy Italian meringue, in a sweet pastry cup; and a milk and dark chocolate tart, which is solid, dark and rich – a chocolate purist’s delight. The Tiramisu is light, creamy and served with coffee caviar and gold leaf on the top, and we are relieved to take some time to listen to the wonderful band (Latino tonight, but pop, soul and jazz are also regularly on the menu), and then the DJ whilst we endeavour to digest at least enough to move from our chairs.

As Sax themselves put it, “the music acts as a conversation starter, not a conversation killer,” and tonight we have talked, listened and sated our appetites. We have been well fed and watered, entertained and the elements have combined into an evening as balanced as the scissor jack-rising DJ booth! ✤