There's a lot going for Qatar's first Argentine eatery
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Time Out Says

There’s something awfully exciting when Doha gets a first. The past few years have brought a rash of new cuisines to our shores – one of the very latest is Argentine. Forget for a moment that Patagonia is, at heart, another steakhouse. On the allure of new spices and sauces alone, we couldn’t wait to stop in.

We visit during lunch at the weekend and are slightly dismayed to find ourselves the only diners in a cavernous space that sits 200. The immediate feel of the restaurant is one of a gaucho grill. The walls are decked with giant pieces of cowhide, traditional ponchos and paintings of tango dancers. We instantly like the menu, which explains the Patagonian origins and describes intricately the dishes.

How could we not start with empanadas, the popular Latin American street food? We opt for one with chicken and another with corn and bell pepper. The stuffed pies are spot on. Warm, savoury filling encased in crusty dough. They disappear in minutes. The goat cheese appetiser is equally delightful; it comes with grape chutney on top of toast and a spinach salad drizzled in chimichurri dressing, the signature Argentine marinade of oil and vinegar with herbs.

When the mains arrive, we scratch our heads a little. The elegant presentation of the starters seems also to have vanished with our empanadas. Heeding our server’s recommendation, we order a sirloin steak. While the meat is juicy and tastes beautiful in a chimichurri marinade, it is served on a plate drizzled with two superfluous sauces, a wreath of limp sprouts and flower petals. A little OTT? Not compared with the quinoa risotto.Trust the vegetarian in the party to spot this intriguing concept. It’s probably not the first choice for many, but it’s marked as a healthy option so we have try it. It comes on a slate with an explosion of colour – little mounds of quinoa are topped with mushrooms and more flowers. Not only does the plate look dizzying, the quinoa is so creamy and cheesy there is no way we could eat it all or claim we’ve had a light meal.

Dessert is not a high point either. The crème caramel, served on an actual shell, is firm and flavourless. Its only saving grace is the dulce de leche. They also offer a huge list of homemade ice cream but many are either unavailable or not very smooth, still, the mixed berry is faultless.

Patagonia has a few things going for it: service is polite and attentive, it’s reasonably priced and it’s the only Argentine eatery in town but there are a couple of niggly kinks that still need ironing out. A little restraint and Patagonia could be a really great place to dine.

The bill (for two)
1 x chicken empanada QR15
1 x corn empanada QR15
1 x goat cheese salad QR50
1 x quinoa risotto QR90
1 x sirloin steak 250g QR150
1 x crème caramel QR35
1 x ice cream selection QR40
1 x large water QR22
1 x small water QR15
Total QR432

By Time Out Doha staff  | 02 Jan 2014

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11:30 AM to 10:00 PM
Sunday: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PMMonday: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PMTuesday: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PMWednesday: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PMThursday: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PMFriday: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PMSaturday: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM
Show number 4002 2121
Doha, The Pearl-Qatar, Ponte Marsa, Doha, Qatar

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