A welcoming atmosphere and varied menu ensured universal appeal when AMS took a trip to West Bay.

The Social at voco Doha West Bay Suites offers a blend of international cuisines, expertly prepared by a talented team. Located on the ground floor of the hotel, it’s perfectly positioned for easy access, allowing visitors to take advantage of the complimentary valet parking.

Upon entering the restaurant, we were immediately greeted by Nancy, our waitress for the evening. Her warm smile and personal greeting of, ‘You look amazing!’ instantly made us feel at home. It’s these small touches that truly enhance a dining experience.

The restaurant has a modern yet cosy feel with teal walls and stylish arches. Abstract art adds a fresh touch to the space. The marble floors give it a clean look, while comfy seats and wooden details make it feel welcoming. The soft lighting sets a relaxed mood, perfect for a meal out.

As we settled into our seats, we were introduced to Chef Ayman and learned about his impressive resume in the Gulf. This was certainly evident in the authenticity and richness of the dishes he presented. A veteran of the Doha culinary scene, Chef Ayman has been gracing the city with his culinary talents since 2005. His genuine passion for his native Lebanese cuisine was a treat to experience.

The first course of fried halloumi arrived as a stack of golden, crispy squares nestled on a bed of fresh greens. Each bite of the tender interior and crunchy exterior revealed the salty, subtly briny flavours of this iconic cheese. The contrast of textures made this simple appetiser shine. This was perfectly paired with a lively Fattoush salad. The interplay of cool crisp vegetables, fragrant fresh herbs and warm toasted bread created a salad brimming with Middle Eastern flair. With each bite, the bright acidic dressing perfectly cut through the rich flavours.

While we waited for our next course, we further explored the interior. The restaurant offered two distinct dining experiences. Within the main area, there’s a serene ambience perfect for intimate dinners or family gatherings. For those seeking a more relaxed setting, the outer area provides a covered space, with large windows to the outside, where guests can enjoy hookah. This added versatility caters to different preferences, ensuring that every visitor finds their ideal spot to dine and unwind.

Soon, we were tucking into our main courses, beginning with juicy Shish Tawook skewers marinated in thyme, garlic and spices before being grilled over an open flame. The smoky char-grilled chicken was complemented by a creamy garlic sauce on the side that provided a cooling complement. Our Beef Kofta, skewered and grilled to perfection, provided a wonderful contrast of texture between the exterior char and soft, juicy interior. The blend of heady spices was distinctly Lebanese, with the hint of cinnamon adding a sweet aftertaste.

The accompanying flatbread boasted a generous layer of sweet pepper paste, perfectly melding with a sprinkle of aromatic herbs. Soft yet slightly crispy, the bread served as a harmonious palate cleanser between bites of grilled meats.

As a surprise, Chef Ayman graced us with a special off-menu treat – a delightful ravioli, meticulously stuffed with ricotta and spinach and enveloped in a lavish cheese sauce.

Before we delved into the dessert course, we noted that The Social isn’t just about evening fare. The restaurant also featured a well-appointed barista bar for coffee aficionados and a morning breakfast buffet, adding another layer to the already multifaceted dining experience here.

To round off our evening, we had to sample the aptly named Decadent Chocolate Brownie – a warm, fudgy delight paired with vanilla ice cream that oozed with chocolatey goodness when we cut into it. The creamy, fluffy Dulce de Leche Cheese that accompanied it was a balanced yet extravagant end to our dining experience.

Reflecting on the menu, one can’t help but notice the eclectic mix of cuisines from across the globe. Such diverse offerings mean that whether you’re dining with family or friends, everyone is bound to find something that tantalises their taste buds. From adventurous foodies to those with classic preferences, the vast range ensures that all are well catered for. This universal appeal positions the restaurant as a top choice for gatherings where varied tastes need to be satisfied. ✤