IDAM by Alain Ducasse

This is one dining experience we’re not likely to forget Reviews

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It takes a lot to be the Time Out Doha Restaurant of the Year and while ‘favourite restaurant’ means something different to everyone, there are strict criteria to claim the top prize in our ceremony. At the bare minimum you need consistently excellent service, an incredibly high quality of food, an inviting ambience and the ability to make us feel that we got the experience we paid for. No small feat. But IDAM by Alain Ducasse has managed to impress us time and time again throughout the year.

For our final review of the place before the awards, we went just after they released the spring menu. They change the menu every three months to incorporate dishes that utilise seasonal ingredients, keeping some signature dishes but playing around with the rest.

At IDAM, you have the choice of picking a la carte or going for the chef’s experience menu where he’ll make a selection for you. On this occasion, we know what we want to try so we handpick our own. We start with a platter of five mezze – fava bean falafel, spicy cod samosas, ‘Boubouche’ French snails, marinated bonite fish with lemon-gold caviar and the spring salad with ‘loomi’ condiment. While we wait, we both sip on our chosen ‘healthy cucumber’ and ‘spicy mango’ juices – which are very refreshing as a pre-dinner ‘aperitif’ – and nibble on the mini buckwheat pancakes and traditional Qatari bread with a combination of sardine, beetroot and chicken liver dips. Then a server wheels round a trolley covered in fresh bread and explains our options. We can’t help ourselves – we get a rather large selection of the hindbeh Spanish loaf, butter bread, saffron bread, zataar roll and a mini French baguette to share. It’s the perfect way to begin our culinary experience at IDAM.

And what an experience it is. The mezzes are all intriguing – using a combination of flavours from the Middle East but incorporating French cooking and ingredients, as well as other elements from the Mediterranean. The spicy cod samosas are delicate, the crunchy pastry is lightly spiced, and the cod and potato filling is delicious with smoky undertones. The consistency of the marinated bonite fish is perfect and the hints of lemon-gold caviar elevate it to another level, while the plate presentation is stunning.

As we’re tucking in, a waiter brings three tasters of their carafes for us to try which use red, white and pink grapes to enhance our meal. Each of them is distinct in flavour with infusions of various ingredients but we go for the red option that incorporates cranberry, tonic and Tabasco. It has a very subtle kick but is mostly refreshing and even comes served with an ice cube made of the same drink so as not to diffuse the flavour once it melts.

It’s all in the detail.

As with the mezzes, we’re equally enamoured by the main course. My sea bass is pink and practically melts in my mouth; it’s lifted by the crunch of the small carrot rounds which are topped with saffron and wild garlic for a burst of flavour. Meanwhile, my dining companion has opted for their notable braised camel dish that takes them six days to prepare. It just flakes off the fork and the cut of duck foie gras atop really rounds it all off.

After we’ve devoured every last morsel on our plates, we’re eager for dessert. I go for the mysterious ‘IDAM chocolate’ while my friend tries the Labne ‘Fontainebleau’ with local strawberries and rhubarb. But before it comes, another trolley filled with sweet treats is wheeled over and we ask the waiter to make a selection for us. It’s meant as a pre-dessert session to take our palate from savoury to sweet in time for the real course.

Soon enough, the entire surface of our table is covered in taster desserts from raspberry meringue to original macaroons, signature mini desserts from Alain Ducasse Paris and Monaco, alongside orange blossom marshmallows, plus a wide variety of others.

We take a bite out of almost everything just as our chosen desserts are served. My friend’s dish is perfectly palatable, but it’s the IDAM chocolate that steals the show.

It’s absolutely heavenly with exquisite mousse consistency and other textural chocolate surprises within – paradise for any chocoholic.

Just as we’re about the burst, a third and final trolley is wheeled over offering us choices from ten different teas with a selection of herbs to infuse, as well as four types of honey from Yemen and Mauritius. I ask for the chamomile with lavender, while my eager friend tries the Sencha green tea and a Moroccan mint as well.

It’s serious indulgence at its best and an incredibly bespoke experience in a stunning, sophisticated environment. Everywhere you turn from the towering bookshelves, to the beautiful arched windows, to the carpeted floors with calligraphy inscribed, there is a photo begging to be taken. The same goes for each and every plate that makes its way to the table – picture perfect.

Add to that the consistent, friendly and knowledgeable service and it’s hard to ignore that IDAM is offering something seriously special that deserves recognition.

As we head out the restaurant, a host stands by the door waiting to give us a gift as we leave. Another hostess ushers us into the lift that takes us to the ground floor of I. M. Pei’s stunning work of art, and as we walk towards the valet station, away from one of Doha’s most iconic buildings, he spots us and rushes off immediately to get our car. They’ve even washed it for us free of charge.

The meal might set you back a pretty penny but if anywhere in Doha is worth it, this would be it. It’s not an experience you can repeat and, crucially, IDAM offers a taste of what the country is trying to achieve in its culinary landscape. It leaves us feeling very excited about the standards and creativity we can expect here in years to come.

The bill (for two)
1 x water QR40
1 x healthy cucumber QR42
1 x spicy mango QR42
1 x 5 mezzes QR450
1 x sea bass QR295
1 x tender camel QR320
1 x red harvest QR135
1 x sencha QR35
1 x herbal tea QR35
1 x Fontainebleau QR80
1 x IDAM chocolate QR80
Total QR1,554

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: Doha Port, Doha
  • Tel: 4422 4488
  • Travel: Al Corniche Street
  • Website | Send mail
  • Cuisine: European
  • Times: Open Sat-Thu 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-10pm; Fri 7pm-10pm
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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IDAM by Alain Ducasse On The Map

User reviews:

Posted by: Gabriela on 01 May ' 13 at 16:17

Very nice place , nice food and excellent service!
Congratulation!!!

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