La Varenne

Decent food, great ambience and service that needs sorting out Discuss this article

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French cuisine isn’t very common in Qatar, but La Varenne, so we’ve heard, features near the top. We love the setting, especially because of the views. Look around you to see Doha’s ever-growing (literally) business hub in all its glory. The restaurant has a sophisticated but relaxed vibe, with minimal but intricate lights that hang from the ceiling and cosy leather couches and chairs that go around the tower in a semi-circle.

Surprisingly, there’s no onion soup on the menu. We start with a salmon tartare, which is really on point with its subtle flavours. The dressing is light and not overpowering at all. The foie gras parfait is very rich, with notably strong flavours. The chicken liver that’s mixed in has a more prominent taste than we’d like, but the caramelised onions have a sweet and sour flavour that perfectly balances the ensemble. It’s also plated brilliantly, and really screams out exquisite French cuisine.

The roasted duck breast is beautifully sliced with prunes and black pepper sauce on the side. A delicious and bright carrot purée adds great texture to the dish, and a much-needed pop and zing of colour.

There’s a lot going on here, but not everything works well together. The other main we order, the chargrilled beef burger, is a massive disappointment. The patty is huge (which we usually love), but the proportion of bread is far too slight in comparison. And if that isn’t enough, the bread we do have is crumbling and falling apart.

The desserts, though, make up for the overall experience. The macarons and the profiteroles are humble and flawless at the same time. Exactly what we’d look forward to at a French restaurant.

The staff, meanwhile, need an injection of enthusiasm. There’s ‘authentically Parisian’, and then there’s just plain bored-looking. Iron out that crinkle and sort out that lacklustre bap situation, and things could be ace.

The Bill (for two)
1x salmon tartare QR50
1x foie gras parfait QR55
1x roasted duck breast QR120
1x chargrilled beef burger QR110

The bottom line
Not perfect, but awesome puds and views.

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: West Bay, Doha
  • Tel: 4499 0680
  • Travel: 28th floor, Tornado Tower
  • Website | Send mail
  • Cuisine: French
  • Times: Open Sun-Thu 8am-10.30am, 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-10pm, Sat 8am-3pm, 6pm-10pm
  • Price: QR350-500

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