Al Terrace

Try some decent Lebanese cuisine amid the buzz of Souq Waqif Discuss this article

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This humble reviewer at Time Out Doha has formed a peculiar habit of wandering through town in search of new eating spots: sometimes driven by word-of-mouth, often a new scent drifting through the air while running errands, and quite invariably by sheer gluttony.

All three would be the case during a recent venture to Souq Waqif. And all three would lead my companion and me to Al Terrace. This all-day restaurant occupying one corner of the Al Mirqab Boutique Hotel has been open without fanfare for a while, so it was high time we got the lowdown.

The name is derived from the outdoor section of the restaurant, with lounge seating overlooking the buzz of the souq. But on this balmy evening, we choose to sit in the climate-controlled area indoors where a modest buffet is set-up, primarily targeting the hotel’s guests. To properly gauge the kitchen, we skip the generic vats of lamb stew and mass-produced chicken pasta in favour of the à la carte menu.

The offering is decidedly Levantine. There are no surprises, no quirks, no house speciality, so to speak – just a straight-up Lebanese kitchen. And one the restaurant can be proud of.

A light hummous, a mouttabal with body, and a pert tabbouleh anchor the mezze platter. The fattoush could do with less dressing and the mouttabal with more walnuts, but the dish on the whole is beautifully presented and quite flavourful. The addition of jebneh be zataar, a dense unpasteurised cheese laced with dried thyme, is an elegant touch.

The meal peaks with the main course. The djej mashwi, a grilled, spatchcocked chicken marinated in spices, is succulent and aromatic with a tinge of cardamom. Fish is handled with equal care. Our samak tajen, hammour over a creamy tahina sauce, is cooked to perfect moistness.

Halfway along dinner, the takht start up... just three musicians with an oud, a qanun and percussion. They fill the space with gorgeous traditional tunes, sometimes so enthusiastically you may strain to hear your partner. But the music is so very welcome in the way it transforms the otherwise characterless setting and adds atmosphere.

In the end, atmosphere is the main reason we all gravitate to the souq. Nowhere else in Doha comes alive with such gusto, but the bulk of restaurants don’t really stand out and parking is often challenging.

Enter Al Terrace. Where the food is worth trying and they have free valet parking. Sorted.

The bill (for two)
1 x cold mezze platter QR55
1 x sambousek jebneh QR22
1 x samak tajen hammour QR75
1 x djej mashwi chicken QR51
1 x halwet el jeben QR16
1 x muhalabiyeh QR16
1 x bottled water QR22
2 x jasmine tea QR44
Total QR301

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 Mirqab Boutique Hotel, Souq, Doha
  • Tel: 4433 6402
  • Travel: Souq Waqif

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