Junko

We get our fill of raw sushi at the Pearl Qatar’s newest Japanese restaurant Reviews

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Even on a quiet evening, Midori has a buzz about it. When we arrive, it’s empty, and a bit harshly lit, the bright lights giving the place a slightly cafeteria feel. The decor itself is simple and clean, right down to the screens of bamboo plants and the quirky origami cranes dotting the counters. Soon enough though, it starts to fill up, and it starts to feel more casual and chic, rather than institutional.

With claims that they import their ingredients directly from Japan, the stakes are high for this newest addition to the Doha sushi scene. The menu is smaller than other venues, but what’s on it looks delectable: before we order food, we try two of their Japanese ice teas. These taste more like sweet iced coffees, but they’re delicious as we contemplate the many choices. The menu ranges from sushi and bento box combo meals through meats, noodles and soups, all of it with the proper Japanese names. My dining companion, someone who likes a good noodle, convinces me to try the Soba, a dish of buckwheat noodles. We also go for the soft shell crab rolls, the signature Midori sushi roll, ikura or salmon roe, and hotate, a scallop roll. And here arrives the first minor hiccup: we try to order the spicy tuna roll but alas: they’re out of tuna. Our waiter suggests we go with salmon instead, which is actually more pleasing—I was surprised they didn’t have the standard-yet-delicious spicy salmon roll on offer already.

The food starts to arrive in waves, and this is where my friend and I are split: I like the prompt service that has our first plate of sushi on our table just minutes after we ordered it, while he would have preferred it all to arrive at once, so we weren’t left eating only one roll at a time. Either way, the service is fast and by the end of it we do end up with a table covered in food. First up is the spicy salmon roll: despite the higher end ambiance and the price point on the menu, the portions here are large and satisfying. No teeny-tiny nouvelle cuisine here; this is a proper meal and well worth the money. More importantly, the roll is doused in a spicy sauce that makes my nose burn and has me sopping up extra sauce before each bite. I’m hoping Midori puts this on the menu regularly, as it’s excellent. The rice was cooked perfectly, and the roll held together well between each burning bite. Next up is our platter of mixed vegetable tempura, which is lightly grilled. I would have liked more variety in the vegetables, as our batch is heavy on the eggplant, but overall they’re nice and light, without a sheen of grease to be seen. As we’re just finishing our tempura, our Midori roll arrives.

Made up of vegetables and topped with unagi (eel), this was my pick. My friend wasn’t so sure, but we took a chance. While it looks impressive, once in my mouth I’m not so sure. The eel is boiled and cooked through, and for me has a fishy taste I don’t find as nice as the usual kind doused in barbecue sauce. My friend however is an eel convert: apparently this one really is a matter of taste. Either way, once again the portion is surprisingly large for a place that easily could have swayed towards the one-forkful-of-food-per-portion haute cuisine. We’ve barely gotten into the eel before the noodles, the soft shell crab roll, ikura and hotate arrive.

The table now heaving with food, we dig in. The noodles are actually more of a soup, and is presented with side bowls for sharing and a cute little wooden ladle, complete with its own miniature bowl, plus chili flakes. The noodles are thick and savory, slithering down my throat, with a nice little chili kick at the end. I can’t say I enjoy the ikura quite as much, but that’s really my fault: I should have realized a place where authenticity is the name of the game would present a dish that’s basically a ball of rice surrounded by seaweed and topped with a glob of fish eggs.

The soft shell crab roll is savoury and good, although slightly sloppily rolled: it’s not even and smooth and you can easily see the edge where the rice and seaweed bulged over. Considering how beautifully everything else was made, we’re a bit baffled to get what looks like a tester roll: still, it tastes lovely and we finish the plate easily.

Next up is dessert: we go for the tempura fried ice-cream Now, Japanese restaurants typically aren’t known for their desserts. Fish? Yes. Sweets? Not so much. So our expectations are fairly low. When it arrives, it’s a nice surprise: the ice cream is nice, smooth vanilla and the batter isn’t too thick or thin: it’s slightly crispy and a solid enough end to the meal.

Overall, Midori is a nice place for a mid week meal or a casual weekend dinner. It’s casual yet authentic, and surprisingly unprepossessing for its Pearl address. We will be back, and we hope they put that spicy salmon on the menu. It has the potential to drive traffic back to the Pearl, all on the back of their tasty, tasty fish.

The bill (for two)
1x Spicy Salmon
QR75
1x Soft shell crab QR80
1x Midori roll QR85
1x Ikura QR65
1x Hotate QR63
1x Soba QR55
1x Vegetable tempura QR55
1x Fried ice cream QR30
2x Japanese ice tea QR40
Total (including taxes) QR548

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 Pearl-Qatar, Doha
  • Tel: 4002 8294
  • Travel: The Pearl-Qatar
  • Website
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Times: Open daily 12pm-11.30pm
  • Price: QR500+
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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User reviews:

Posted by: DeluXe on 21 May ' 12 at 15:48

Despite the good quality of food it's simply overpriced and that's the reason it's almost empty every night. Unless they change their prices this will unfortunately stay the same..it's a shame since the Pearl is in desperate need of a good, and affordable(!) Sushi place.

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