Ailsa Whyatt found a warm welcome at The Social – voco Doha West Bay Suites.
Monday evening finds us at The Social – voco Doha West Bay Suites, where we are given a warm Qatari greeting by Assistant Restaurant Manager, Zaka Gamal. Teal furniture, paintings artfully positioned under wall arches and wall arches and a bright space add to the welcoming feel..
We start with a Strawberry Virgin Mojito, which is both citrusy and refreshing, and we just have time to look at the buffet spread (savouries on one side of the restaurant and sweets on the other), before our à la carte food arrives.
Dishes are served on a hearty selection of earthenware, in an array of colours, which is both homely and unfussy. We are treated to a selection of so many things that I’m going to give you a list! The portions are generous, so my recommendation is not to do what we did, making our tummies groan as much as the table!
Head Chef Salvador and Assistant Chef Walid have been hard at work for us. Nothing is prepared in advance here; everything is absolutely made to order and and totally delicious.
First up – the Creamy Mushroom Soup. Seasoned with pepper and drizzles of cream, this is the kind of comfort food I like best. A toasted bread crouton containing walnuts and dressed with watercress sets off the lovely mushroom flavours.
Salads are served next – we try the Chicken Caesar and the Classic Niçoise. Both contain all the elements you would wish for, from the nicely peppery chicken in a creamy and garlicky sauce, to the al dente asparagus, mangetout, green beans (the way we like them) and lemon dressing to cut through the tuna, egg and potatoes of the Niçoise.
Sujuk Tortilla Wrap sees fresh Sujuk sausage and minced beef mixed with tomatoes, onions, Arabic spices and cumin, and garnished with fresh parsley, in what Chef Salvador has dubbed a ‘Competition Sauce’, where big flavours ‘compete’ with one another to produce a dish that is both cohesive and comforting.
This is then followed by the Flat Bread Alfredo, with its freshly made dough straight out of the oven. This hearty flat bread is filled with grilled chicken, mushrooms, peppery micro-herbs and topped with generous, tangy parmesan shavings. Yum!
Next, we try Black Angus Steak and Miso-glazed Salmon Fillet. The tenderloin is cooked to our liking; a soft and tender blackened steak with a mushroom sauce and seasoned creamy mash. The pan-seared salmon has a gentle crunch on the outside, whilst tender on the inside, and engulfed in a sweet miso sauce. Both are served with more of those lovely al dente vegetables.
If you are in a sharing mood, there is a selection of sharing platters available. We try The Social Platter and Battered Seafood Platter. The Social Platter boasts spicy buffalo chicken, cheesy quesadillas, potato skins with steak and mozzarella, melty mozzarella sticks are served with Pico De Gallo (a Mexican salsa), guacamole and sour cream. In the seafood corner we have deep-fried shrimps, calamari and breaded fish balls comprised of salmon, hamour, shrimp, spring onions and some special spices from Chef Salvador, served with a thick tartare sauce and lemon wedges.
We are almost at the finish line, and what a finish it is. Decadent Chocolate Brownie and Dulche de Leche Cheesecake (my star of this meal). The chocolate brownie is served cold, while maintaining its gooey texture, with added crunch of walnuts. Sitting on top is a boule of home-made ice cream, encased with tempered chocolate bearing raspberry, blackberry and mint leaves. Vanilla sauce (made with milk and crème fraiche) cuts through the sweetness of this brownie.
Dulche de Leche Cheesecake, a favourite of Latin American desserts, is made by slowly heating milk and sugar together over several hours, to create a gloriously gluttonous caramel sauce. Chef Salvador has mixed dulce de leche with (more!) caramel sauce and lotus sauce, then covered the baked cheesecake as a result. Crushed biscuits and dark chocolate pearls surround the dish. It is a portion for the hungry so make sure you leave room!
For hotel guests and visitors alike, there is something on this menu to please everyone. Whether you sample the buffet or the à la carte menu, you have to bring your appetite, and expect a hospitable welcome to The Social. ✤
GO: CALL 4495-5115 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION.