The beautiful film ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ records Michelin-starred chef Jiro Ono and his lifelong devotion to crafting the perfect sushi. Watching it inspires my hunt for wondrous new creations. No longer just a piece of raw fish perched on vinegar-infused rice, the sushi realm has expanded exponentially with funky ingredients and fusion flavours. In Doha, we see the widest range in what I think of as nouveau makizushi, the new-age rolls. My favourites include…
Spice Market Roll (QR70)
This spot is often cited as Doha's best sushi house, and for good reason. The signature freshness of fish and perfect ratio of rice-to-protein are evident in the eponymous roll of salmon with garlic, lemongrass and dill. Oishi!
Open daily noon-4pm, 5.30pm-11.30pm. W Doha, West Bay (4453 5135).
Green World Roll (QR45)
This Korean Japanese restaurant impresses with its extensive menu of nearly 50 varieties of maki. I love the one with tuna, capelin roe masago and seaweed – it’s so green it had to be called Green World.
Open daily noon-11pm. Al Sadd, Al Kinana Street (4441 9898).
Savanna Roll (QR45)
Vegetarians, look no further. Meticulously arranged, paper-thin mango slices are paired with cream cheese and wakame. The flavour is delicate and the sweetness just right, making this a winner.
Open Mon-Sat 6.30pm-11pm. Sharq Village & Spa, Khulaifat (4425 6666).
Spicy Shrimp Tempura Maki (QR26)
L’Wzaar Seafood Market
One of the most competitively priced sushi around! The roll of battered shrimp is served atop a splash of spicy mayonnaise flavoured with chili and coriander. Avant garde for sure, but veritably delicious.
Open Sun-Thu noon-2.30pm, 7pm-10.30pm; Fri-Sat noon-2.30pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Building 27, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay Lagoon (4408 0710).
Dragon Roll (QR49)
Dragon in name and size. A hulking portion of prawn tempura is wrapped in rice, topped with eel and tuna then blowtorched for a mild, burnt flavour. For aficionados, don't waste the crispy prawn head!
Open Mon-Sat 6.30pm-11.30pm. Doha Marriott, Khulaifat (4429 8472).
Shake Skin Maki (QR42)
No need for fancy sauces here. The crispy salmon skin – oily and bristling with flavour – makes this roll a perennial pick. For an even more traditional setting, ask to sit in the washitsu rooms.
Open daily 11am-11pm. Royal Plaza Mall, Al Sadd Street (4442 8989).
Crunchy Crab Meat Roll (QR40/QR75)
Brace yourself, there's a lot going on. Kanikama crabsticks appear two ways, fried in batter inside and as a salad on top. Along with avocado, cereal and sweet eel sauce, this roll is reminiscent of fireworks.
Open daily 12.30pm-midnight. Grand Heritage Doha, Aspire Zone (4445 5555).
Soft Shell Crab Roll (QR80)
The trick is to devour this roll while steaming hot. The soft shell crab is still crunchy, a sensation reinforced by the fresh lettuce and toasted sesame seeds. Wash it down with green tea, and it's a wrap.
Open daily noon-midnight. The Pearl-Qatar, Parcel 7 (4495 3878 ext. 6779).