Sublime Japanese food, the best asparagus in Doha and lovely Pearl views
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Time Out Says

At the mention of Japanese cuisine, what vision forms? Is it an elegantly plated sushi with the alternating pleasures of vinegared rice and raw catch revolving around a conveyor belt? Or perhaps a soy-seasoned piece of meat charred on a torrid griddle teppanyaki-style and served with a modicum of acrobatics by the performing chef?

A respectable number of restaurants in Doha serve such Japanese favourites, rooted in simplicity and tradition. We like simplicity and tradition. But sometimes we yearn for more pizzazz, some innovation even. And that’s where Megu steps in.

Now in its fourth year, the restaurant on The Pearl has undergone a revamp to adapt to present circumstances. While before it relied on a trendy bar and lounge scene, Megu today attracts gastronomes with its menu of unique creations that use familiar ingredients from the Japanese larder in unfamiliar, intriguing ways.

Our server recommends the crispy asparagus and Kanzuri shrimp to start our meal. The former is something of a mascot for the Megu franchise around the world – elegant green spears of asparagus are lightly fried in a batter of crushed rice crackers and pierced through skewers bursting forth from a brick. The dramatic presentation complements the boldness of flavour of this dish we’ve had many times before and never disappoints. The frittered Kanzuri shrimp is equally delicious but is doused in a sweet, spicy mayonnaise that makes it a touch less addictive.

For the main course, we settle on a piece of silver cod and lamb chops. Both dishes come hardly adorned except for some pickled vegetables – but the effect is dazzling, as the stars of the plate are allowed to shine. And do they ever! The miso lamb cutlets, cooked medium rare on our request, are juicy and tender, the meat benefitting from the salinity of fermented soy. The fruity, floral notes of yuzu turn the piece of grilled cod to a haiku on the sea.

We are particularly fortunate this visit because the weather allows for al fresco dining, and our table on the terrace affords an unmatched view of the marina. Every other party save one is also outdoors to enjoy the cool evening. It’s a marked improvement from the otherwise sedated interior with little character.

As we scrape the bottom of our bowls for the last pools of rich chocolate ganache mixed with Azuki bean and creme brûlée perfumed with yuzu, we are reminded that this is modern Japanese cuisine at Doha’s finest. The food is the draw. It may cost a pretty penny, but, boy, does it enthrall.

The bill (for two)

1x Kanzuri shrimp QR70
1x crispy asparagus QR60
1x Oriental salad QR 90
1x yuzu miso cod QR150
1x Gempei miso lamb chops QR140
1x crab & avocado roll QR65
1x spicy scallop roll QR65
1x chocolate Azuki fondant QR50
1x yuzu creme brûlée QR50
2x water QR50
1x green tea QR25
 Total QR815

By Time Out Doha staff  | 26 Mar 2015

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Doha, The Pearl-Qatar, The Pearl-Qatar, Doha, Qatar

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