The Anvil Rooms

We came away from this stylish steakhouse thoroughly impressed
  • 4

Time Out Says

You almost don’t feel like you’re in Doha anymore at The Anvil Rooms. It’s sophisticated, stylish and the skill in the kitchen is obvious from the get-go. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular views over West Bay and it’s all quite cosmopolitan.

It has all the flavour of a real steakhouse with mahogany, burgundy and deep reds, heavy leather chairs and fitting yet modern background music that runs through genres like blues, jazz and pop. There are some lovely extras as well, like the metalwork for example (in which you can see the shapes of small cows if you look hard enough) that has been designed by an English blacksmith.

On this occasion, the restaurant is busy with a great mix of clientele. Our servers are highly attentive and friendly, and you can tell they’re all knowledgeable about their product, particularly the sommelier. They even prepare a special bread basket for me and another for my dining companion because one loaf has beef in it (and I’d mentioned that I don’t eat meat). Good service, if you ask me.

After taking a look through the leather bound menu, which has a good amount of options for meat eaters, fish lovers and even a special vegetarian menu, we decide on lobster bisque and salt-baked beetroot with goat’s cheese for starters, the eight-ounce Master Kobe Wagyu sirloin steak with mushroom sauce and the sea bass with lemongrass drizzle for mains, with sides of honey-glazed celeriac, home fries and truffled macaroni cheese.

While we’re waiting for our starters we begin nibbling on the selection of freshly baked breads. I try a bite of each – all of them are wonderfully soft and delicious (don’t ruin the taste with butter!) – but what really stands out for me is the pretzel. It’s warm, salty and soft in parts yet crunchy in others. I could literally eat an entire basket of those.

Just before we completely stuff ourselves, our starters come out looking lovely. My friend’s bowl arrives with the lobster in the middle and a waiter pours the bisque over it at the table. The flavours, he says, are ‘simple and true’ – it’s well-seasoned, light but creamy, and the lobster is cooked just right. The perfect starter.

Meanwhile, my red and yellow beetroot tastes wonderfully fresh and comes with fennel leaves atop and a scoop of creamy and not-too-pungent goat’s cheese on top of some crispy parmesan bits. There’s an unassuming fennel puree as well, however, I only realise what it is when I ask the chef, as it’s bland (but this is something we find a lot with fennel in Qatar). Overall, it was another beautiful and light starter.

We’re given a decent break between courses so we’re ready when they come. Again, the presentation is outstanding, particularly with my fish dish, and the side dishes have a real inviting and home-cooked look to them.

My sea bass is cooked beautifully – the skin is crispy and the fish is flaky – and the lemongrass foam complements it so well. There are cooked spring onions sprinkled across and two soft potato fondants on the plate, which actually encourage me to make audible yummy sounds.

The Wagyu steak is just as impressive. It is medium-cooked all the way through, just as my companion had asked, full of flavour and the fat of the sirloin melted in his mouth. At a push for criticism, it is a tad too salty, but that doesn’t stop him from eating the entire cut. And while he ordered the mushroom sauce with it, he can’t bring himself to pour it on and mask the steak’s flavour, although he practically ate it like a soup because it was that creamy, rich and well-balanced.

I always say it’s the side dishes, however, that really make or break a restaurant – as it shows just how much attention to detail is given – but these ones really excel. The home fries are potato cubes cooked with peppers and smoked paprika and manage to toe the line between comfort food and upmarket dining well. The truffled macaroni cheese is a proper treat; it’s creamy, indulgent and very moreish. And the underestimated but hearty celeriac is cooked with a beautiful honey glaze that adds a good amount of sweetness to an otherwise quite nutty-tasting veg.

Finally, we move on to desserts, and I have to go for my all-time favourite carrot cake, which turns out to be just as consistently delicious and skillfully presented. There’s a perfect icing-to-cake ratio and there are some nice touches such as carrot peel and a tangy lemon sorbet. Meanwhile, my friend tries the ‘pina colada’ which is an exclusive creation here. It comes in a glass with layers of coconut foam, pineapple sorbet, diced pineapple, demerara jelly and vanilla creme patisserie, which when combined together are creamy, tangy and sweet in equal parts. Fantastic.

So, what’s our verdict? If you’re looking for a smack-your-lips-fantastic meal that offers honest and unpretentious yet still-fine dining then you definitely won’t regret going here.

The bill (for two)
1 x bottle of water QR18
1 x salt-baked beets QR60
1 x lobster bisque QR45
1 x sea bass QR180
1 x kobe sirloin QR400
1 x celeriac QR20
1 x home fries QR20
1 x macaroni cheese QR20
1 x carrot cake QR50
1 x pina colada dessert QR50
Total QR863

By Time Out Doha staff  | 30 Sep 2013

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Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PMMonday: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PMTuesday: 12:00 PM to 2:00 AMWednesday: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PMThursday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PMFriday: 1:00 PM to 11:00 PMSaturday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM / 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Show number 4499 0685
Doha, West Bay, Doha, Qatar

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