Spice Market

We try the multi award-winning South East Asian restaurant’s latest lunch offering Reviews

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The mention of bento boxes conjures images of dinky food portions with miso soup and rice separated by plastic haran grass – all visually stunning, of course. This Japanese lunch staple is given a modern twist at Spice Market, where the servings are anything but dinky and the cuisine is more in keeping with the restaurant’s Indo-Chinese flair.

It leaves us asking if this should really be called a bento box in the first place. But who cares?

Here we’re are all about co-opting culinary trends, especially when it’s executed with such aplomb. To start, the menu is carefully considered. To fill up the box – most aptly described as a tray – one has several options for a soup, salad, appetiser and main.

It seems going pan-Asian is the preferred, if not inevitable, way. One could start with a Vietnamese vegetable soup, move on to a mango salad with tamarind, then a chicken samosa and finally a pad thai.

Or perhaps a shrimp tom yum with roasted beetroot salad and labneh followed by Mongolian lamb satay and red curry duck.

Most of the dishes appear on the regular a la carte menu so the exciting flavours that have made Spice Market the Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards 2014 winner of Best South East Asian (again!) are all there. But it’s the size of the portions we are particularly enamoured by. The heftier plate of the former three-course lunch deal has been pared down yet remains exceedingly generous. And in lieu of quantity comes variety.

The dishes simply work better in smaller bowls. After spoonfuls of the rich duck curry, for example, one typically craves something light for a counter balance. In the previous lunch iteration, the greens would have come and gone. But now, they’re together on the tray. Going between a few bites of the tangy, refreshing mango salad and the piquant tom yum, the curry disappears quickly and satisfyingly.

Lunch wouldn’t be complete without a sweet ending. The options are either the heavenly mango sorbet, dark chocolate chili ice cream or a takeaway cookie bag. We opt for the two former, which are silky smooth and indulgent but still maintain the key attraction of coming in manageable portions.

We should add that a request to swap out an appetiser with an extra salad was granted without hesitation. It’s a small touch, but one that makes dining at Spice Market such a pleasure. We remain in two minds about calling this lunch a bento box… but whatever it is, we sure are fans.

The bill (for two)
2 x Bento Box lunch QR190
1 x large water QR35
1 x green tea QR30
Total QR255

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.


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

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User reviews:

Posted by: karen on 10 Oct ' 11 at 14:28

the music was too loud ,its a swing sunday but none of her song its swing.the food was great.

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