Our resident foodie tries seven tents in seven nights, and reports back
Time Out Doha staff
July 06, 2014 8:15 AM
Ramadan – a time for reflection and renewal. The arrival of the Holy month is also marked by the invitations pouring in to share a meal after the day’s fasting.
Our resident foodie Gerald Tan has been tent-hopping from sundown each day, catching up with friends old and new while sampling the elaborate offerings across Doha. Here’s a roundup of seven tents in seven nights.
Four Seasons Hotel Doha – Ramadan Tent Iftar QR225 / Suhour QR275 (4494 8888) The set-up: An actual tent -- pitched outdoors and seamlessly connected from the lower atrium of the lobby. The space is intimate in size and very handsomely appointed, with no less than ten TV screens on hand for football fans. Star of the spread: An array of Arabic mezzes is laid out on every table, helping to kick off the meal in a relaxed manner. And whether or not you’re a fan of dates, you’d surely be able to appreciate the towering trees studded with the fruit.
The set-up: Billed as an Arabian palace in the middle of a desert, the entire lower lobby of the hotel is transformed into a lounge area with private indoor cabanas available for World Cup viewing parties. A separate dining area allows for easy conversation. Star of the spread: A tad non-traditional, but it’s the Thai selections that are most memorable. The hotel’s flagship restaurant Isaan prepares a small selection of exquisite dishes to complement the grills and fresh seafood.
Renaissance Doha City Center Hotel - Ramadan Tent Iftar QR235 / Suhour QR235 (4419 6100)
The set-up: Depending on when you arrive, the entertainment could be a traditional band, a captivating Tanoura dancer whirling on stage, or a live World Cup match. With tables methodically laid out, there’s no bad seat in the house. Star of the spread: An ice cream bar – and not just sundaes, but also a frozen slab where ice cream and toppings are folded and spaded together into new creations. No other reason or explanation necessary.
Sharq Village & Spa - Magic of Sharq Village and Spa Ramadan Tent Suhour QR275 (4425 6666) The set-up: Because iftar is served in a different location, the suhour session starts by 8:30pm. Service is particularly attentive and efficient in this intimate ballroom. Special touches include dishes that are plated and brought to the table.
Star of the spread: To that end, the grilled meats served in mini charcoal contraptions are mandatory. You simply must save room, which can be easy to forget because of the more than 40 salads and mezzes, each better than the next
The set-up: Traditional and tasteful, the Arabesque theme is front and centre. The ballroom dining area is bathed in oranges and golds, while the ante-chamber for the buffet features live cooking stations set into souq-like stalls.
Star of the spread: The emphasis in on traditional fare, featuring a selection of Gulf dishes and tantalizing Arab desserts. But don’t be surprised if the aroma of a la minute prawn tempura pulls you in over and over again.
The St. Regis Doha - Ramadan Tent Iftar QR230 / Suhour QR270 (4446 0105)
The set-up: Decked out in golds and creams, the tent is noteworthy for its sheer elegance. Able to accommodate more than 500 people, it’s also one of the biggest in town, with the buffet, entertainment and seating all housed within the ballroom.
Star of the spread: Mousses, puddings, tarts, tortes, chocolates… it’s a sweet lover’s paradise. European desserts take centre stage, with so many varieties it’s nearly impossible to try them all. Nearly.
W Doha Hotel & Residences - The Sultan’s Tent Iftar QR220 / Suhour QR275 (4453 5000)
The set-up: Royal in name and treatment, the W pulls out all the stops to re-create an Ottoman-style banquet, with artwork and adornments from Turkey. There’s even a mini bazaar with Turkish vendors leading into the tent. Star of the spread: The hotel’s signature sushi and sashimi continue to be the biggest draw. But also expect long lines at the dondurma station for authentic Turkish ice cream with salep and mastic. You can’t miss the vendor with his long paddle and bell.