You’ve probably already heard by now Mandarin Oriental has opened in the iconic Msheireb Downtown Doha, the world’s most sustainable city.
With 117 rooms, 41 suites and 91 serviced apartments, the stylish and urban Mandarin Oriental is the newest cultural heart of the city.
And if that isn’t exciting enough to get you to go visit, the renowned chef-owned restaurant IZU by (no points for guessing) Izu Ani is going to change that.
Nigerian-born chef Ani was brought up in London but spent a substantial period learning the classics in France and modernist cuisine in Spain before relocating to the Middle East in 2010.
With IZU Doha Chef de Cuisine, Stavros Chatziantoniou, making sure that each dish is served to perfection, the menu features Modern Mediterranean dishes inspired by chef Izu’s travels in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North America and Africa. And us lucky Doha-ites, we get to sample some of his incredible culinary creations right here in the city.
We tried a few of his best dishes and after an entire evening spent consuming a large amount of calories (that were totally worth it), we bring to you IZU’s absolute must-try dishes.
1. Burrata with cherry tomatoes and basil
Agreed, this is a pretty standard dish that you’d most likely find in a lot of Doha restaurants.
However, Izu’s version is nothing like anything you’ve had before. What makes this special is the olive oil, imported from Greece and harvested in the olive grove of the Kalamata region (western Peloponnese).
Additionally, a very unique stab of sweetness just uplifts the entire dish to a whole new level.
The baby Roma tomatoes are marinated in cherry vinegar and olive oil. Trust us, this burrata is anything but basic.
2. Quinoa salad, confit duck leg and clementine dressing
While a salad usually doesn’t excite us, IZU’s quinoa salad is a top dish to try.
It’s light yet meaty, refreshing yet substantial and the clementine dressing is just extraordinary.
Little pieces of sweet duck and chunks of clementine are the highlights.
You might end up ordering a second bowl and there will be no judgement whatsoever.
3. Grilled tiger prawns with Aji Amarillo peppers
The combination of these wonderfully spicy Aji Amarillo peppers with perfect grilled tiger prawns is worth chatting about for a few hours at least.
This gorgeous dish is easily one of the stars of IZU’s entire menu. It’s loaded with flavour and in case you were wondering if it’s got heat, it doesn’t.
4. Lamb cutlets
Juicy lamb cutlets are marinated with Korean chili pepper paste mixed with honey, cumin and cherry vinegar and served alongside an onion puree.
This delicious onion puree adds a new dimension of flavour to the cutlets and we’re not kidding when we say everything just melts in your mouth.
The cutlets are cooked in a Josper oven which is the perfect combination of a grill and an oven in a single machine
5. Tarte tatin
This takes a while to prepare but it’s an absolute must-try. Announce your desire to taste this Tarte tatin at least 30 minutes before you actually want it.
This is soft, sugary goodness at its exquisite best and we are not ashamed to admit that just two of us might have entirely devoured a portion for four.
Once you’re done trying our top five recommendations, here’s a super fun task for you.
Izu has a secret bar (seriously) and we challenge you to find it.
It’s not as easy as you think and while there are no prizes, there’s the chance to enjoy a beverage (or three) in a secret location with intricate interior design featuring custom metal motifs and a floor-to-ceiling bar counter.
You even get a personal mixologist.
An incredible gastronomic experience awaits you. So, what are you waiting for? Get booking and we will see you at the secret bar. (If you find it).
Open daily Ground level 6:30am to 11pm serving breakfast, lunch and dinner or Mezzanine level 6.30am-11pm dinner only (closed on Sundays). Mandarin Oriental, Msheireb Downtown Doha (4008 8888).