Pumpkins are popping up everywhere. Gerald Tan discovers Doha’s best dishes
October 02, 2014 10:39 AM
Soup. Pie. Carving. Those words can lead only to a favourite squash: the pumpkin. We love everything about pumpkins, and the gourd is an ambassador for the flavours of autumn and winter. The versatility of pumpkins helps to explain why they appear on menus throughout the calendar here in Doha. Try these Doha dishes to get your pumpkin fix.
Pumpkin soup with seafood & citrus @ Porcini There’s pumpkin soup…and then there’s the Porcini pumpkin soup. It’s silky smooth and light, yet full of body. While most versions turn to heavy cream, this soup relies on ripe, unadulterated pumpkins with a slight hint of citrus. Then add to this stock, succulent chunks of lobster meat and a healthy dollop of fish roe which pop in the mouth with every spoonful to provide a welcome shot of saltiness. A bowl of this blissful soup, accompanied by some hearty bread, is a great idea for a perfect early supper. QR65. Open Sat-Thu 7pm-10pm; Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7pm-10pm. The Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 8000).
Pumpkin kibbeh @ Layali You can’t go wrong with deep fried burghul patties. In this inspired vegetarian version of the Levantine classic, pumpkin is mixed into the cracked wheat, resulting in a moist inner capsule for the stuffing of spinach, lemon juice and chickpeas. Shaped like a fat torpedo and packed with unusual yet tantalising flavours, these kibbehs are a fine example of Layali’s innovative Lebanese dishes. They should be mandatory as part of your mezze table and are also the ideal portion for a mid-shopping, midday snack. Even if you are used to eating the meaty version you should try this as an alternative on taste alone. QR35. Open daily noon-11.30pm. Lagoona Mall, West Bay Lagoon (4471 8417).
Roasted duck pumpkin puff @ Hakkasan While many see Hakkasan as a nocturnal destination for the super-chic, we also think of it as a good dim sum house for irresistible dumplings. And of the lot, it’s the roasted duck pumpkin puff that gets us excited. Deep-fried dough is perfectly shaped into a mini pumpkin with a cilantro stalk and pea shoots completing the look. Inside, a filling of duck, mushrooms and pumpkin awaits. The puff usually comes in a platter with other fried specialities, but can be enjoyed solo. QR98. Open Sat-Thu 7pm-midnight; Fri noon-3pm, 7pm-midnight. The St Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon(4446 0710).
Pumpkin and feta salad @ jones the grocer We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: this is the ultimate salad, which tickles every taste bud. Four primary ingredients counter each other: sweet roasted pumpkins, tart sundried tomatoes and briny chunks of feta cheese to accompany a pile of bitter arugula. Eaten strictly on its own, the salad is a vegetarian delight. But we suggest you try the various add-on options of grilled lamb, roast chicken, pan-fried prawns or salmon for a heartier meal. A bonus point – the salad holds up well over time and tastes equally good when ordered for take-out. Ideal for next-day dining from the fridge or as a working lunch at your desk. QR39. Open daily 8am-11pm. The Gate Mall, West Bay (4407 7175).
Cookpot @ IDAM by Alain Ducasse One would be hard-pressed to find pumpkins in a prettier form than this. As the cooler months approach, pumpkins become a star ingredient in the Alain Ducasse Cookpot – a hallmark dish linking the global restaurants of this Michelin master. Wafer-thin slices of seven different vegetables are overlapped in a fish scale pattern, cooked in a porcelain chamber and served in the dish. What you taste is the essence of each vegetable, lightly perfumed with fennel, in a delicate balance of flavours that changes with the season’s bounty. QR170. Open Wed-Sun noon-2pm (except Friday); 7pm-10pm. Museum of Islamic Art, Corniche (4422 4488).
Duck with butternut squash @ The Grill The taste, texture and cooking properties of a butternut squash, (also called a butternut pumpkin in the Antipodes), are so similar to that of pumpkin that they are often used interchangeably. Here, the plant complements seared duck breast in three thrilling ways: squash is cut into cubes then tossed with butter and brown sugar; it’s also cooked down into a velvety and delightfully vibrant puree; and its sweetness is underscored in a sugary brittle that’s sprinkled all over. The plate is so artistically composed that it really is a masterpiece. A triumph of a dish and one of such imagination that we feel inclined to try it again. QR160. Served at dinner, Sat-Thu 6.30pm-11.30pm. Grand Hyatt Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4448 1240).
Pumpkin cheesecake @Magnolia Bakery The product of an encounter between a pumpkin pie and a baked cheesecake, this individually sized treat has us dreaming of autumn leaves and knitted sweaters. A towering layer of spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling sits on a disproportionately thin biscuit crust and is topped with crème Chantilly. Together, they taste rich and nutty. Small pieces of pecans are the only thing you need to chew – the rest simply melts on the tip of your tongue. The cake may be sweet on sweet, but we can’t get enough. QR29. Open Sat-Thu 8am-11pm; Fri 8am-11.30am, 12.30pm-11pm. Dar Al Salam Mall, Abu Hamour (4450 9407).