Spice Market

One of the best South-East Asian restaurants in the city Reviews

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Spice Market had already scored points with us even before we arrived – we had to call twice to adjust our reservation for a busy Thursday evening, and it was handled with grace and only a small giggle when we called up the second time. When we arrive, we were glad everything had gone smoothly with our booking, as the place was absolutely heaving.

We were shown quickly to a round table, and my dining companion opts for the actual chair while I slip into the funky-looking rounded bench. I shortly find out this was a poorly thought out decision, because while it’s squishy, it’s also impossible to pull closer to the table – we end up pushing the table closer to me, so I don’t splash food down my lap. Still, the atmosphere is funky and lively, all dim red lights and louder music than you usually find, putting us in a party-mood the minute we sit down. It feels like a nightclub, which, in a certain mood, is a good thing.

The new menu is really just a revamp of the old – the favourites are still there, just with some interesting- looking additions. It’s sort of a high-end take on Asian street food, so we dive in with both feet, starting with the mushroom spring rolls and lobster dumplings. The sushi offerings have also been expanded – we order several rolls, including the California, the shrimp tempura and the shredded crab. I also ask for a salmon roll, but when they appear, I’ve been given the salmon skin roll. When I ask the waiter, he says he ‘thought I’d like this better’ and so changed my order.

I would probably have been able to muster up more consternation if my mouth hadn’t been full of the roll at the time; his choice actually was amazing, and I’m almost glad he knew best.

I never usually order salmon skin rolls, as they tend to taste a litte burnt, but these are soft and delicate, with crunchy meat that tastes barbecued, not burnt. The other rolls are equally good, but both my dining companion and I fight over the last of the tempura shrimp roll: it’s crunchy, delicious, warm and savoury, and one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Distracting us from the sushi fight are the spring rolls, which are rich and tangy, and come with bits of lettuce they are meant to be rolled in and a spicy sauce. I pass on the lobster dumplings, but my friend practically purrs as she scoops them up, deeming them tender and packed with flavour. I do try the snap peas they come with, drenched in the tangy sauce, and have to say I’d just eat a bowl of those peas if they were offered – they are that good.

Although when it first arrived we thought we had ordered far too much food, by the time the mains land on our table there is barely a crumb left. We ordered the short ribs and the vegetable pad Thai. My dining companion loves the pad Thai, which is bursting with vegetables and thick noodles, as well as chunks of peanut. I tend to not like peanuts near my noodles, and so prefer some of the pad Thai options out there that skimp on the nuts.

The short ribs, however, are an entirely different story. A piece of flavourful meat so tender we tear into it with forks, it’s that moist and soft. But it’s the puree it comes mounted on that really turns my crank: it looks like mashed potatoes, and it has a gorgeous creamy mouth feel, but it’s secretly made from celery. Celery mash has now ruined me for all other mashes, up to and including potato: studded with jalapenos and sprinkled with bits of crunchy apple, combined with the meat it’s literally a party in my mouth and I’d thank you not to gate crash as I will not be sharing.

We’re stuffed, but our waiter is back, saying he thinks I will want to try dessert. After his sushi suggestion I was inclined to agree, so we went for the chocolate coffee tart with condensed milk ice cream. We originally planned to split this, but our friendly neighbourhood waiter read our minds again and divined that we secretly didn’t want to share and brought us two. It’s a gooey delight, melting its rich way across the plate.

All in all, we’re sort of in love with this new menu. We liked the old one, but with the small changes, Spice Market has gone from a venue for people who like Asian food to a restaurant for anyone. Whether it’s the sushi that leans towards cooked-elements for the sushi-phobic or the Asian-inspired short ribs that would please even the most meat and potato (just don’t tell them it’s really celery) person, there’s something for everyone on the menu without sacrificing the theme of the restaurant. Read my mind Mr Waiter: we will be back.

The bill (for two)
2x Evian
1x mushroom spring roll QR50
1x lobster dumpling QR70
1x salmon skin roll QR75
1x California roll QR65
1x shrimp tempura roll QR65
1x shredded crab roll QR80
1x vegetable pad Thai QR65
1x short ribs QR110
2x chocolate tarts QR90
Total (incl charges) QR740

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.


  • Location: W Doha Hotel & Residences, West Bay, Doha
  • Tel: 4453 5135
  • Travel: Diplomatic Street
  • Website

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User reviews:

Posted by: karen on 10 Oct ' 11 at 14:28

the music was too loud ,its a swing sunday but none of her song its swing.the food was great.

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