Nusantao: Sea Kitchens
Asian fusion restaurant in the Four Seasons Doha hotel Discuss this article
Nusantao: Sea Kitchens
Tailor make your lunch from two to six courses or Chef Kato’s Bento Box, starting at QR75 Timings: Noon-3pm (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday)
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Nusantao doesn’t feel like it should be in the Four Seasons. Don’t get us wrong, the Four Seasons is lovely, but Nusantao feels hip, new, and someplace where we could see ourselves hanging out when we’re trying to be cool. This is a departure from what we’ve come to expect from the Four Seasons (which is mostly classy elegance and our best manners). The restaurant itself is huge, with blue and purple lights bouncing off the banquet seating and the tables spread around their open show kitchens.
The menu too is absolutely, astoundingly massive. There’s a section for Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Middle East and India, each with their own starter and mains offerings. Plus sushi. It just keeps coming and in the end, we decide to break it down by region to start our ordering. We’re going family style, as that seems the best way to try a bit of everything, and when the dishes arrive we realize we were right: while some things are single-serving, most are platters of food that can easily be shared.
The food comes all at once, with no distinction made between our starters, mains or sushi rolls. The international smorgasbord kicks off with two of their sushi rolls—the spicy salmon and the crunchy maki. The spicy salmon is officially The Spiciest We’ve Ever Had in Doha: beyond the usual Asian spices, there’s a lingering burn that’s oh so good, and yet oh so painful. The crunchy maki is tasty, an assortment of fish in one of their ‘signature’ rolls, but it’s not as crunchy as advertised. Tasty, but nothing to write home about. The table starts to heave as the waiter brings a wave of dishes to our table, and here we wish maybe they’d space themselves out a bit: there’s barely enough space on the table for our overabundance!
The restaurant has spent a lot of time hyping up their dim sum, so we have to try a portion: we go for the siew mai, a dumpling stuffed with steamed chicken, shrimps, black truffle and caviar. It’s tasty and as rich as it sounds, a nice blend of flavours and perfectly cooked. Also, just for kicks, we order the chawanmushi: a mix of foie gras, egg custard, and wasabi. My dining companion and myself had no idea what to expect when we placed this particular order, but when a mug of orange gloop appears at the table, we’re skeptical. We dip a cautionary spoon into the custard, excavating the lump of foie gras. It’s rich and creamy sure, but the texture. . . there’s something odd and unsettling about it. I don’t want to be able to drink my foie gras with a straw, and it feels very much like that would be possible here. Also, drowning it in a yellow, creamy custard seems a wee bit pointless.
Last in our parade of appetizers is the thod mun pla, from the Thailand menu. These Thai fishcakes sound promising, and although tasty, we’re again befuddled by the consistency. I’ve never seen a fishcake shaped like a log before, nor one that was quite that tough on the outside. It feels dry, and that’s not what I want from my fish cake.
Appetizers dealt with, the waiter whisks away the plates to create a little breathing space for our mains. We went for the beef tenderloin with jalapeno and black pepper sauce from the Chinese portion, the gulai kambin, an Indonesian lamb curry, the murg malai, a chicken dish from India, and the malay meesiam, a mix of rice vermicelli, tofu, eggs, bean sprouts, peanuts and yellow bean sauce from the Chinese section on the side. The murg malai is tender and moist, the chargrilled chicken holding onto its juices and spiced with green chili, cheese and cream. My friend and I are split on our feelings about the noodles; he likes them, I don’t. They taste overly flavoured to me, with too many things going on at once and nothing to focus on. He likes that, whereas I prefer my dishes to calm down and speak slowly in my mouth. What we can both agree on however is the lamb—the curry is rich and creamy, with a kick of spice and tender lamb that’s tasty enough I spoon the leftover sauce onto rice on its own. My friend really enjoys the beef tenderloin as well, strips of beef coated in a rich sauce, full of flavour and nice and tender.
Heaving with our massive intercontinental meal, we still stump on to dessert. When our waiter tells us that the pancake and fruit dish my friend selected is quite small, we bite the bullet and order the nama chocolate cake to go along with my banana and coconut fritters too. While the pancakes are a bit bland, the nama is fantastic—closer to a fudge than a cake, rich and dark and perfect after the highly spiced meal. My banana fritters are also a delight; mixed with coconut and served with a coconut sorbet, it’s the first time I’ve had a fried-banana anything in Doha that hasn’t been greasy and ridiculous. It’s light and tasty and a nice counterpoint to the strong flavours of the evening.
Overall, we can see ourselves coming back. The food is good and very reasonably priced for the atmosphere, especially if you share. And you really must—after all, how else are you going to make it to all those countries? An excellent addition to the dining scene!
The bill (for two)
1x Evian QR40
1x Crunchy maki QR70
1x Salmon maki QR55
1x Siew Mai QR45
1x Fish cake QR40
1x Malay meesiam QR40
1x Murg Malai QR70
1x Lamb curry QR75
1x Nama chocolate QR40
1x Banana frite QR45
1x pancake QR45
1x Espresso QR40
1x Café late QR40
Total (including taxes) QR645
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