La Mer Bistro

Good food and an incredible view in the Ritz Carlton Doha Discuss this article

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I’d heard a lot of buzz about La Mer. From the skyline view of Doha to the incredible food, when I mentioned that I was going there for dinner, people assured me I’d love it.

And upon first entering, I did: we are whisked up a special elevator to the 23rd floor, to get to the restaurant itself. With tables situated to take advantage of floor-to-ceiling windows, the view is absolutely breathtaking. The rest of the restaurant is opulent – the ornate carpet, the fancy chairs, the heavy silverware, the dark paint on the walls, it all competes to make sure you are very aware that you are in a fancy restaurant.

As soon as we’re seated, the attentive server approaches bringing bread and bad news: they’re busy that evening, so it might be a little slow. At least we were warned. In his hushed, reverent tones (did we mention this was a fancy restaurant? The vibe is one of millionaires nibbling on canapés and eager young men proposing to their girlfriends, not a rowdy meal with friends), he asks if we’d prefer the tasting or the set menu. La Mer offers a popular tasting menu, smaller dishes prepared by the chef for you to sample. We opt for the set menu, starting our meal with fois gras and scallops.

I have a small confession to make: I know it’s evil, I know its preparation flies in the face of every humane, organic, vegan freetarian goal I occasionally aspire to, but I love fois gras. So I was excited to see what La Mer had to offer. Their fois gras wasn’t as rich as others I’ve tried, with a more subtle, delicate flavour. I still had to ask for extra toast, though. But what really shone with the first course were the scallops: light, perfectly cooked, and still redolent with scallopy goodness. Often scallops act like little sponges, just soaking up the flavours around them, but at La Mer the main flavour in the scallops is actually scallops.

For mains my dining companion tries the cod, while I opt for the lamb. When it arrives, the presentation is beautiful, if slightly over our heads: my friend’s fish is surrounded by a sea of froth and a side of bok choy, celery root and lentils, which at first had us guessing as to what it might be. The cod itself was fairly moist – a nice, fresh fish served simply with a black pepper coating. As for the lamb, it was soft and tender, and I didn’t even have to reach for my knife once. The sauce was rich and uncomplicated, the perfect accompaniment to the meat. However, I wish it came with more than two tiny baby carrots on the side – a dish like that could have made use of some potatoes to soak up the end of the sauce!

When our server came around offering dessert menus, we eagerly went for them – though tasty, the portions turned out to be quite small. I went for the peanut butter cup, while my friend ordered the chocolate fondant. When it arrived, the presentation was again stunning – my dessert was actually a peanut butter globe, swathed in dark chocolate atop a crispy caramelised base. While the taste was lovely, taking me back to peanut butter and chocolate afternoons as a child, the texture confused me. It was halfway between a gelatin and a cake, but cold like an ice cream. And while the flavours worked well together, the base was almost too chewy, and the chocolate coating slightly waxy. As for my friend’s fondant, it was rich and the vanilla ice cream accompanying it stupendous, but it was the only fondant I’ve ever seen that doesn’t ooze when you cut into it. In fact, it doesn’t ooze at all: it crumbles.

Still, we had that view. And the servers, after warning us they might be slightly slow, were attendant without lurking. The food was good, if not quite up to the expectations raised by the view, or that which we had been told about. But there are some fantastic dishes to be found here, and the presentation is exceptional.

The bill (for two)
1x Sea scallops QR75
1x Fois gras QR75
1x Black cod QR145
1x Lamb loin QR140
1x Acqua Panna QR30
1x Peanut butter cup QR45
1x Chocolate fondant QR45
1x Cappucino QR30
Total (incl charges) QR585

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: The Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay, Doha
  • Tel: 4484 8000
  • Travel: Al Istiqlal Street
  • Website

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