Market by Jean-Georges

Award-winning restaurant serves fantastic French food in Qatar Reviews

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We sample the new menu at this year’s Restaurant of the Year

The stakes are high when we sit down at Market by Jean-Georges. First, they’ve just walked away with the Restaurant of the Year award at our Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards 2013. But secondly, and almost more importantly as we rev up our forks, this is the very last restaurant review ever for myself and my dining companion who has helped me trough my way through most of Qatar for the last few years. Within days of our meal at Market, she’ll be on a plane, and within weeks so will I. We’ve had a lot of seriously splendid food, and as a swan song review, Market better bring it.

Fluffed with pride (and with a new dessert chef) they’ve added some new dishes to their prize-winning menu. Clearly, it’s already been broughten.

I decide, on this final meal review, to throw caution utterly to the wind. Also, I’ve been teased a lot about my addiction to Market’s tomato soup. It’s a love that knows no bounds, true, however, I’m starting to think I need to branch out. One can’t live on tomato soup alone (well actually one could, and Market’s wouldn’t be a bad one to start with, but still). So I go for the calamari and my friend goes from the shredded crab sushi roll.

The calamari arrives in a gorgeous heap of fishy goodness, seasoned nicely and perfectly fried. It’s not soggy. It’s not greasy. It’s crispy and delightful and flavourful enough you really don’t need the lemon wedge. But what’s this, next to it? They’ve switched up their sauce: gone is the olive tapenade, replace with a zesty lemon mayonnaise like concoction. It’s perfect. Each dunk adds just that bit of zip to the calamari, and while I wasn’t sure they could improve on the old sauce, they’ve done it! My friend’s sushi is also lovely, little rolls of bliss with a great flavour.

Once we’ve heartily dispatched the starters, it’s time for mains. And again, the insanity hits. See, I’m a long-time devotee of Market’s salmon. I love the mashed potatoes, the salmon, the snap peas, and the little drizzle of truffle sauce it comes with. But, it’s time for a change: so I go for the new short ribs. My friends is not quite so simple. I adore this pal primarily because she has never once looked at me and said ‘do we really need dessert?’. There is just one quibble: eating with her occasionally resembles that scene in When Harry Met Sally, when Meg Ryan spends 10 minutes ordering a very specific sandwich. Needless to say, my friend is not channeling Harry. Today, she’s waffling between three different main courses, so much so that our waiter has to start a second page on his pad. He’s good natured about it, joking with us as she adjusts and changes and finally comes to rest on the sirloin (then he flees quickly lest he have to start a third page).

When the food arrives, my ribs are a glistening mass covered in a thick sauce that wafts tasty smells at my nose. The ribs are tender and fall apart on the fork, the sauce rich, a lipsmacking barbecue concoction. I just wish there was slightly less of it: it’s really good and I’m duly impressed Mr. Chef, but calm down: I don’t like having to excavate my meat from under Mount Saucy. Still, I basically lick the plate clean.

But what’s this, cradled next to my ribs? It looks like a spring roll but when I cut into it, it oozes cheesy grits. Now, grits are a tricky beast. And an acquired taste (more than you’d think considering they’re a fairly bland grain whose purpose is mainly as a butter delivery system). These have been creamed with cheese and are quite tasty but. . . I wish I didn’t have to slice through a tube of pastry to get to them. Not to mention, I’m not sure how well grits and cheese blend with the slightly Asian-inspired short ribs. Maybe a simpler side, like root vegetables, corn, or some of those awesome mashed potatoes I know you can do, would be better.

My friend’s steak is a lovely piece of meat, nicely grilled and seasoned well. They offer a variety of steaks, yet somehow I’ve always missed them: this is an oversight I must seek to remedy in future. Market does good steaks. Who knew?

Stuffed and happy, we have to try dessert. Why? Because I’ve been drooling over desserts that have passed us on their way to other tables all evening. We go for the cheesecake and the mandarin soufflé.

The cheesecake has had a bit of a facelift: it’s less dense and sweet, now lighter and fluffier, and topped with sour cherries with a refreshing sorbet on the side.

But the soufflé. . . oh what sweet wonderment. Why, oh why, does this come in a tiny little cup? I want an entire vat of it. Cover my table in one giant soufflé and let me face plant myself in it like Cookie Monster going through sugar withdrawal. It’s sweet and fluffy, light and delicious, the tart orange blending with the dark chocolate in a warm ooze of wonder. It’s happiness in a cup is what it is, and I would like many many more portions. Please. With soufflé on top.

So, does Market live up to the hype? Yes. Yes it does. I want to go to there.

The bill (for two)
1x Evian QR35
1x Shredded crap sushi QR80
1x Calamari QR70
1x Short ribs QR150
1x Sirloin QR150
1x Cheesecake QR50
1x Mandarin soufflé QR50
Total QR630

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

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Market by Jean-Georges On The Map

User reviews:

Posted by: Sonbol on 07 Jan ' 11 at 15:56

I'm a very regular there, food is better dinner time, but when the lebanese manager is there service and things go much better

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