The Atelier Art Café

Groovy and character-filled cafe on The Pearl-Qatar. But how is the food? Discuss this article

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It’s been a while now since we’ve left an eatery feeling so torn. On the one hand, here is a café that’s groovy and full of character, in an enviable location a stone’s throw away from The Pearl marina. On the other, everything we order is so entirely overpriced and underwhelming it makes us question if we would return.

The Atelier Art Café lives up to its name design-wise. It’s quite funky, fashioned like an artist’s working space. Distressed leather couches sit beside fabric pouffes, while deep-grain wooden tables are paired with intricately carved chairs resembling skinny thrones. The café is divided into four distinct sitting areas resembling the tips of a plus sign, with the show kitchen right in the centre. Because they’re all disparate, each room, including the outdoor patio, feels quite intimate – a set-up conducive for a cosy tête-à-tête over tea.

And that’s the key point. If all you’re after is a drink, then this is the place to be. Arabic coffee comes in modernist cups with silhouettes of famous musicians. The mocktail selection is interesting and varied. The pink pear, a refreshing blend of fresh strawberries and pears, packs all the goodness of an orchard in a petite water goblet. We stress petite, because three gulps is all you get for QR40. But the size of drinks is the least of our concerns.

The house salad with spinach, berries and peanuts, a dish we’ve had many times before, is particularly sharp on this visit. The balsamic vinegar is too acidic and causes many teeth-clenching, eye-squinting moments. The chicken mushroom risotto lands on our table to an approving nod; it is beautifully presented with a sprig of dill and roasted cherry tomatoes. But two bites are all we can muster, as the dish is so over-salted it tastes like a raw stock cube. And we can hardly finish the mini burgers with their stodgy, processed beef patties. At this point, we are just happy the sliders come with fries.

We give the meal one last chance with dessert, tempted by the irresistible sounding Nutella explosion. A still-steaming chocolate cake sits on a shallow pool of Nutella sauce, crowned with vanilla ice cream. We appreciate the contrast in temperatures and enjoy the brownie-like texture of the cake. Our only complaint is that the ensemble still lacks this blast of Nutella the menu seems to promise.

So we leave torn because the café could be so much better. And because we had hoped there would be more substance to match the style.

The bill (for two)
1 x Atelier salad QR53
1 x mini burgers QR60
1 x chicken mushroom risotto QR60
1 x nutella explosion QR47
1 x banana berry mocktail QR35
1 x pink pear mocktail QR40
1 x bottled water QR18
Total QR313

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: The Pearl-Qatar, Doha
  • Tel: 4469 6910
  • Travel: Parcel 7, The-Pearl Qatar
  • Cuisine: Cafés
  • Times: Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight

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