My expectations of Qatari cuisine and culinary tradition were imminently exceeded during my recent trip to Doha. I visited Spice Market's Doha outpost, located in the W Hotel, on behalf of Jean-Georges Vongerichten to oversee operations, train sous-chefs and implement menu adjustments as needed.
Towards the beginning of the trip, I had the pleasure of enjoying a meal of traditional Lebanese classics prepared by the W banquet department. We began with white rice and small plates of herbed hummus (a Qatar delicacy), eggplant with tomato and beef tartare. Grilled Kebabs of Chicken and Roasted Lamb came next, both rich in flavor and cooked to perfection.
Beyond the hotel we visited The Souq, a ragingly popular market area. The Souq offered an endless variety of Iraqi foods and spices and an eclectic assortment of novelty items for tourists (think swords and genie lamps). While shopping for local ingredients I indulged in 'mezze' - the Middle Eastern term for traditional small fare. Freshly baked flat breads and chickpea puree with a succulent minced duck were among my favorite dishes. The local fish was also prepared immaculately although the appetizers may have left the biggest impression. The simplicity of fresh herbs and cous cous salad tossed with lemon and olive oil dressing was truly inspiring.
I documented my trip -- and what I ate -- in photos, which appear below. Let me know what you think!