Al Mourjan

Al fresco Lebanese eats on the Doha Corniche Reviews

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It’s hard to miss Al Mourjan. As the only restaurant on the Corniche, it would stand out even without being located under the Oryx statue and covered in twinkle lights. Walking towards the entrance, you’re smacked in the face with a view that refuses to be ignored: the outdoor eating area juts out into the water, with a series of steps that at high tide are almost under the sea, putting the water right at your toes while you eat. With those postcard-perfect views of West Bay and the Corniche, it’s the stereotypical must-see for visitors to Doha, particularly in winter if they’re used to snowy gusts and Al Mourjan is offering up soft ocean breezes.

We opt to sit on the patio, which is relaxed and the perfect foil to the communal and casual feeling of mezze. Inside, it’s all slightly overdone leather chairs, starched linen and way too many forks: outside, it’s paper napkins, wicker chairs, and the feeling that you can reach to steal a bite from one of the bowls without knocking over assorted stemware.

There are loads of Lebanese restaurants in Doha, and Al Mourjan comes in as one of the pricier options, which initially has my dining companion balking. That much for houmous? The menu is fairly extensive, with a range of hot and cold mezze, Middle Eastern grill items and seafood. We actually find the ‘International Fare’ on the menu slightly off-putting – would I really want mozzarella sticks with my tajine? As it turns out, yes I would: we order a range of mezze to start, including the mozzarella sticks. They arrive quickly, covering our table with small bowls. I’m glad that this isn’t my first go-round with Lebanese food: the menu itself doesn’t do a whole lot in the way of explaining what exactly each dish is, instead just giving the Arabic name and moving on. The staff try to answer our questions, however the language barrier kicks in and we’re left wondering exactly what we’ll be putting in our mouths when the food arrives.

But when it does, the confusion seems to have paid off – the food is excellent and surprisingly filling. We try the tajine, which has a light sesame flavour, the mohammarah, which is spicy without burning our lips with a tasty pepper and tomato flavour, and of course the houmous. I’ve never met a chickpea I didn’t like, but this is legitimately some of the best houmous in the city. It’s like the platonic ideal of a chickpea, the form of houmous if you will. We also try the batata harrah (spicey potatoes), which are exactly as they sound: light, spiced potatoes that complement some of the more intense mezze flavours. And, just for fun, we try the spring rolls and mozzarella sticks, two of the more unexpected menu items for such a traditional Lebanese place. The spring rolls are crisp and fat, and the mozzarella sticks served with a delicious dipping sauce.

We gamely make our way through the food, and are thwarted by the filling nature of mezze. But we solider on, deciding on the mixed grill for mains. We ask our server what exactly is on the mixed grill: torn between trying their chicken and the lamb chops that have reached fabled status among our meat-loving friends, we’re hoping to get both. Our waitress assures us that yes, we’ll have all that and more, so we jump at the chance.

It arrives before we’re done with the mezze, and we squeeze the many platters and bowls onto the table. The meat is buried under a mound of salad, French fries and tomato bread, and once we’ve unearthed it, there are generous portions of chicken, kofta, and lamb skewers, but no chops! Upon asking another server, it’s revealed we’ve been bamboozled by language barriers again. Slightly disappointed, we tuck in: the meat is tender and delicious, with just the right amount of flavouring. The real star, however, doesn’t even come on the plate – it’s the small bowl of garlic sauce that really lights up the dish.

Al Mourjan is a solid choice for some of the nicest Lebanese food in the city – and the view can’t be beat. However, it might be wise, the first time at least, to take an Arabic friend with, just to translate the menu.

The bill (for two)
1x houmous QR25
1x tajine QR30
1x mohammarah QR30
1x mozzarella sticks QR45
1X batata harrah QR25
1x spring rolls QR35
1x mixed grill QR110
1x large water QR20
Total (incl charges) QR320

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: West Bay, Doha
  • Tel: 4483 4423
  • Travel: Al Corniche Street
  • Website

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Al Mourjan On The Map

User reviews:

Posted by: Damian Martin on 28 May ' 12 at 01:13

We visited this restaurant at 8 in the evening, and were immediately seated right next to the bay (water). The setting provides for a wonderful view, and it you are not concerned with the evening heat, sitting outside was enjoyable due to a light breeze. The food is excellent, and very tasty, although main courses cost QAR100 upwards. Drinks came in at around QAR45 each, so not an inexpensive place. I would certainly recommend it if you are not too concerned with your budget, and wants a great experience.

Posted by: Ali on 10 May ' 11 at 05:28

Sara, I don’t agree with your comments, it’s one of its kind, like a Perl in the mid of the sea-Cornish, standing with delicious Arabic food which is quite fresh always & great sense of serving the customers the best food.
Night time music, fabulous sitting arrangement, beautiful sea view with excellent fragrance of tasty food & sheesha makes it the best place to have delightful dinner in Doha.
I am very hopeful that next time when you visit Mourjan , you will become a big fan & make Mourjan your top favourite restaurant in Qatar... .Ali
“Tasty Food makes you feel to have an elegant living life”

Posted by: Bharat Bihar on 05 May ' 11 at 14:54

That cant be true. I went there last week and it was excellent food and great service. Yes. A tad expensive but you pay for what you get...quality. Sorry you had a bad vibe.

Posted by: Sarah on 05 Jan ' 11 at 12:28

Food has always been very average here; cold cling-film wrapped bread which is inexcusable given this place mysteriously had a Leading Restaurant of the World award before it had even opened. Their QR75 minimum cover charge is a rip-off - we were turned away on a very hot day when there were no other customers, because we only wanted a drink.
And now finally, we went past today and they have been closed due to health regulation reasons!! so not much of a leading restaurant, really.

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