Argan

Chic Moroccan eatery in Souq Waqif Discuss this article

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It’s official – Argan is an undiscovered gem of Souq Waqif. Based in the upscale Al Jasra Boutique Hotel, Argan is a stylish Moroccan restaurant with a low key ambience and beautiful interior. Tables and booths surround a purpose-built majlis-style seating area in the middle where you can lounge around on comfy couches with bites, drinks and shisha. The booths, that line the wall on one side, have hammam-like detailing and from the ceiling hang star-shaped lanterns.

We sit on a table by the window. Electronic music (Buddha bar style) plays overhead and I’m starting to feel chic but a tad underdressed. The fact that some people are just relaxing and puffing on a hookah, however, makes me feel a little less so.

We peruse the menu and we’re struck by how reasonably priced everything is – a refreshing change for a more upscale place in Doha. Plus, all items are authentic and the chefs are from Morocco.

So, my dining companion and I start with the mezzeh platter, with our choice of four. We go for the taktouka (grilled mixed peppers marinated with charmoula), zalouk (grilled eggplant salad, also marinated), Moroccan potato with parsley, olive oil and cumin and the lamb briouat (like a meat samboosa). For mains, I choose the seafood tagine that comes with prawns, calamari and mussels, and my friend goes for the chicken mhmar with lemon, olives and French fries.

Before any of this comes out, however, a man appears at our table with an offering of Arabic coffee. He continues to do this throughout the evening – a nice touch. Following that, our lovely waitress brings us some tasty looking Moroccan bread with marinated olives, an almond and argan oil paste, and another dish of pure argan oil. Swearing to ourselves that we’d only have a few bites of the bread we end up scoffing down one small loaf each. It is absolutely delicious. The bread – crispy on the outside but so so fluffy inside – dipped in the almond paste is just too good to put down as the argan oil adds a moreish sweetness to it.

After all that, our food comes out. The peppers and eggplant dishes are so tasty and they’re almost like a paste so, of course, we have to eat some more bread with it. We scoop away shamelessly while picking at the tart but flavoursome potato salad and the juicy lamb samboosas.

By this point, we’re genuinely excited by the quality of the food and we’re hoping that the next course doesn’t let us down. So, we move on to the mains that come authentically presented in a tagine.

I now need to take a moment here to explain how delicious the seafood tagine is. Tomato-based and full of spice and flavour, the fishy taste complements and doesn’t overwhelm. The only nitpickers I will point out is that firstly, it didn’t come with mussels as the menu said but instead hammour (although I do like this), and secondly the prawns are a tad overcooked.

My friend also has a similar revelation with his dish. The half chicken he’s served comes simply presented with chips atop but it has absorbed the flavour of the tangy lemon and salty olives so completely that he can’t stop until it’s gone. The combination works so well. The only thing he does leave behind is the liver that’s also there as he’s not a fan (again, this isn’t mentioned on the menu).

Astoundingly, we still make it through dessert. I go light and choose an orange salad with cinnamon, honey and flakes of almond. For something so simple, they still manage to get that flavour balance down to a T. However, my friend’s dessert is the star. It’s called Masamen rabati and it’s basically a Moroccan pancake. It’s served with a pot of Philadelphia cream cheese and honey. At first, we’re almost disappointed by the brand name but any worries about this are immediately swept away by how amazingly well it all goes together.

Seriously, right now, whatever you’re doing, go to your fridge and get out the Philly and some honey and try it on toast. Revelationary, right?

Of course, we wrap up the evening with some good old Moroccan mint tea which, needless to say, is as tasty as anything else we’ve had in Argan. Like I said – an undiscovered gem and we will be going back.

The bill (for two)
1 x Mezzeh platter QR80
1 x Seafood tagine QR75
1 x Chicken mhmar QR65
1 x Sprite QR15
1 x Small Evian QR18
1 x Msamen rabati QR26
1 x Orange salad QE28
1 x Moroccan tea QR22
Total QR329

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: Al Jasra Boutique Hotel, Jasra, Doha
  • Tel: 4433 6666
  • Travel: Soup Waqif, 1274
  • Cuisine: Moroccan
  • Times: Open Sun-Wed noon-4pm, 6pm-11pm; Thu-Sat noon-11pm

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