Expect huge portions of well presented Syrian food at this Salwa Road diner
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Time Out Says

Nobles is a relatively new Syrian restaurant located along the ever busy Salwa Road. It’s hard to miss; lit up brightly with red neon, although the fairly plain exterior does no justice to the marvelously ornate interior. No expense has been spared on the well designed and opulent décor, which boasts a mini fountain. Large Arabic-style metal chandeliers provide overly bright lighting from above, coupled with matching wall lights, so don’t expect an intimate setting. The tiled walls feature built- in, intricately carved shelves, which sport numerous treasures from tea sets to carved boxes.

Seated at one of the elaborately carved wooden tables, with Syrian music and flowing water audible in the background, the setting certainly promotes an authentic experience. The menu lists soups, salads and cold and hot appetisers, but the waiters here appear to speak little English, so expect to gesticulate at the menu. We ordered sausages, falafel, ‘assortments of Syrian bakery [sic]’ and drinks to start. My imaginatively named ‘Green Fizz’ arrived – a combination of lemon juice, sugar mint and soda, but a little too sickly sweet. My partner’s Long Amazon was better, with coconut and pineapple.

Hot towels were dished out before our food arrived, and a basket of fresh pita was served – hot inflated breads, soft and pliable, just perfect for dipping. The bread was accompanied by a plate of whole olives, some crunchy crushed olive dips and a plate of strange-looking pickles and whole chillies. The donut-shaped falafels were topped with sesame seeds, crisp on the outside but deliciously moist on the inside, and served with a moorishly creamy dip. Presentation is everything here, and small touches are evident in all the courses. The skinless sausages were served in a small ceramic pot brimming with juices, melting in the mouth with both sweet and sour notes. They were delicious accompanied by the superb Syrian bread, baked until golden with various fillings and toppings; some brimming with hot cheese and some stuffed with moist vine leaves.

The selection of main courses is more limited than the appetiser selection, but there’s still a varied enough choice, including meats, seafood (with lobster if your budget stretches to it) and more traditional dishes such as kebbeh. My fried shrimp main arrived far too quickly, and my half full appetiser plate was spirited away, so be warned you may want to request a breather between the courses. The large ‘butterfly style’ shrimp, although plentiful and meaty, were slightly chewy and served on a plate overly crammed with fries, stir- fried vegetables and a marie rose dipping sauce. Portion size is definitely not an issue at Nobles, but one can’t help thinking they need to concentrate more on quality than quantity. The mixed grill was served on an impressive gold and silver heated platter, with delectable char-grilled chicken pieces and tender cubes of pink, succulent lamb. But the kofta was overly minted and slightly chewy. The accompanying tomato flat bread flavoured with peppers and herbs was very tasty, and had a slight kick.

After two courses in quick succession, dessert took much longer to arrive, despite selecting only the ice cream cassata and fresh fruit salad from the somewhat limited selection. Perhaps in Syrian style, coffee arrived before our dessert, but was only palatable after several sugars were added to counteract the strength and bitterness. The ice cream was served in a huge glass bowl, and I was disappointed to find that the exotically named ‘cassata’ was in fact neapolitan. Adorned with fresh fruit on top, it hid an array of tinned fruit beneath, and again prompted the thought that ‘size isn’t everything’, and indeed my partners ‘fresh fruit salad’ also boasted more tinned than fresh fruit.

Looking around this palatial setting and watching fellow diners tucking into food with their hands, you can sense a feeling of real enjoyment and appreciation as tables buckle under the generous portion sizes. It is an undeniably pleasant place, with simple, colourful and appetising food, beautifully served and for the most part cooked well. Worth a visit if Syrian food pleases your palate; just be prepared for those big portions.

The bill (for two)
1x water QR8
1x Syrian bread QR20
1x falafel QR18
1x sausage QR30
2x drinks QR34
1x fried shrimp QR120
1x mixed grill QR70
1x ice cream QR15
1x fresh fruit salad QR20
2x coffees QR20
Total (incl charges) QR355

By Time Out Doha staff  | 26 May 2010

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Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
10:00 AM to 2:00 AM
Sunday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 AMMonday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 AMTuesday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 AMWednesday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 AMThursday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 AMFriday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 AMSaturday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 AM
Show number 4435 6036
Doha, Nasr, Salwa Rd, Doha, Qatar

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