Crystal-studded water bottles couldn’t disguise disappointment at this Italian
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Time Out Says

Few restaurants in Doha make our jaws drop. But when we read the menu at Sormani featuring a QR195 bottle of water, the effect is understandable. Of course, we’re not talking about just any kind of aqua… but Bling H20. Why so expensive? The luxury item from the US state of Tennessee is all about the vessel it comes in: a frosted glass studded with Swarovski crystals.

In some ways, the water is representative of the dining experience where emphasis is placed on the bling factor. Towering ceilings, high-gloss floor tiles, and avant garde furniture create a space much like a funky art gallery. On this Thursday evening, all the regular tables in the outdoor area are occupied save the lounge seats. So we settle into a semi-circular booth by the doors for some fresh air.

We appreciate it’s a busy time. We can see the servers hustle and bustle in and out the door. But when we’re sitting at such a conspicuous spot where everyone has to pass by us, it shouldn’t take so long for the menus to arrive.

When we finally do get to examine our options, we are again reminded that this establishment caters to the upper crust. While there’s pizza, pasta and other standard Italian fare, a sixth of the menu is devoted to all things laced with truffle. An artichoke salad with truffles will set you back QR220 and risotto is QR210. We’re feeling famished, so we take the traditional Italian route of starters, then pasta then mains.

The undisputed star of the evening is the sea bass which has been completely encrusted and baked in a shell of rock salt. The flesh is tender and flavourful. It makes us regret loading up on the preceding courses when we polished off the lightly seasoned calamari with a crispy batter, and piled on the carbs with a scampi linguine and spaghetti aglio olio that were both fairly oily yet cooked to the perfect stage of al dente.

Service through the evening continues to swing like a pendulum from exceptional to non-existent. When our order is taken, the server is knowledgeable and accommodating. But our drinks do not arrive until we finish our starters and we have to ask twice before our second bottle of water appears.

By the end, we should have skipped dessert (perhaps the fact that the servers didn’t offer us our final course should have given us a universal hint). Even though the volcano chocolate lava cake over apple crumble was addictive to the last spoonful, the Chocolate Fanatasy sampler of all their other desserts was somewhat disappointing, and we just couldn’t stop talking about fish. That probably would have been the most memorable way to end the meal.

The bill (for two)

1 x minestrone soup QR55
1 x crispy calamari QR75
1 x linguine scampi QR180
1 x sea bass QR190
1 x rocca salad QR60
1 x spaghetti aglio olio QR80
2 x water QR60
1 x double espresso QR25
1 x Chocolate Fantasy QR85
1 x chocolate volcano QR70
Total QR880

By Time Out Doha staff  | 28 May 2014

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Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
CuisinesFrench, Italian
Show number 4468 1299
Doha, The Pearl-Qatar, 1 La Croisette – Porto Arabia, Unit 1, The Pearl - Doha, Qatar

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