Paper Moon

Italian cooking and chc style at Jaidah Square Discuss this article

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Everybody has been talking about the W Doha’s newest restaurant La Spiga by Paper Moon, and so they should be, but we also wanted to know what its sister venue Paper Moon, which is buried away in Jaidah Square on Airport Road, is like.

Our immediate impression of this place is that it’s in a very odd location. Jaidah Square is nice enough but to actually get to the restaurant you’re led through a few narrow, clinically white hallways with paper signs pointing you in the right direction, past a window where you can see the chefs at work and finally in through the right door. But then we’re amazed.

The restaurant is huge – around three times the size of the new W Doha venue – with a beautiful main restaurant area, tables on a terrace and lounge seating. We walk around, straight outdoors as the weather is beautiful, and we’re surprised by how busy it is seeing as it’s only just opened. The assistant manager and a waitress come round to introduce themselves and right off the bat we can see the team is here to impress. Not that I’m complaining – I’m a stickler for good service.

We’re given the menu, which is a decent size with good options for all tastes, and are told that 95 percent of it is the same as La Spiga, but they do have a few exclusive dishes like a tasty sounding pan seared black cod fillet. Naturally, we go for that, along with a steamed octopus carpaccio, beef bresaola with a celery and cheese salad and the classic penne arrabiata. We also pick a waterberry juice and iced coffee from the extensive drinks list that includes mocktails, soft drinks and a whole range of coffees both hot and cold. You won’t be going thirsty here.

While we wait for our food to come out, a bread basket and plate of focaccia slices are brought to the table. These are delicious, particularly the focaccia that’s doused in just olive oil and salt – it’s hard not to eat the entire plate of them. Just as we’re about half way through them, however, our starters come out.

I’ve chosen the octopus carpaccio, which comes looking simple yet stunning on the plate with a rocket and tomato salad on top, but unfortunately the dish turns out to be very bland, tasting only of olive oil. The octopus slices are on the thick side for a carpaccio so it ends up being a bit too chewy for my liking. My friend, who ordered the bresaola, is having similar issues as it’s fairly simple, with no citrus tang which you’d usually find with this kind of dish, and he finds the celery and parmesan salad to be very out of place, taste-wise, on the plate. He does end up eating all the meat but leaves the salad to one side.

We’re feeling slightly deflated at this point, following our enthusiasm about the venue, but we’re keeping an open mind for our mains, which come within mere minutes after they’ve cleared our starter dishes. But this is where they gain all their gold stars back because it is exactly what we were looking for.

My classic penne arrabiata is perfect (and I’m somewhat of a connoisseur of this dish). The pasta is al dente, but not too much. The sauce is lovely and garlicky with a great kick from the chilli. It’s simple but could be the best I’ve tasted, so I’m happy. My friend, who went for the black cod, is also enamoured by his dish as the fish flakes off and is so soft and tasty with a nice crispy skin. The tomato sauce it’s covered in is also full of flavour and complements the dish well. He’s not so keen on the spinach but it’s more of a preference because I try a bit of everything on his plate and don’t have a single complaint.

Following all that, we still have room for a little dessert so we decide to share a selection of homemade ice creams – the perfect ending to our Italian journey. We choose chocolate and coconut from a range of flavours and again it’s brought out fairly quickly but our scoops (we get an extra scoop for free which is nice of them!) are beautifully smooth and rich in flavour.

Overall, we like the experience – the venue is stylish and spacious, the service is very friendly and our mains and desserts were delicious. We were let down a bit by the starters but it wouldn’t stop us trying others as, from past visits to La Spiga by Paper Moon, we know the salmon tartar and goat’s cheese salad on both menus are well worth a try.

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: Others, Doha
  • Tel: 4016 6000
  • Travel: Jaidah Square, Airport Road
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Times: Open daily 11am-4.30pm, 6pm-11pm
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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