Posted on Saturday, 21st December 2013
Quisine by Guy Savoy Doha is the first restaurant in the Middle East by the famous three Michelin starred French chef, Guy Savoy. Quisine embraces the same philosophy of Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris and therefore bears many striking similarities including a menu that adopts many of the dishes available in Paris, albeit with some local twists thrown in.
Chef Guy Savoy believes that the environment in which you eat in is as important as the food itself, and accordingly the interior of Quisine also embraces Guy Savoy’s deep passion for style and beauty. Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the Interior Designer responsible for many of Guy Savoy’s other restaurants, also took charge of designing the Doha outlet. With Quisine by Guy Savoy he has created a spectacular space with a monochromatic colour scheme that creates both a sense of harmony and indelible comfort. A mesmerising wall of flickering flames also greets diners as they enter the restaurant.
Only restaurants in hotels may serve alcohol in Qatar. Consequently Quisine by Guy Savoy does not offer alcohol which has dampened the number of visitors who come to the restaurant. Even though Quisine was really quiet when we visited, this did not detract from the quality of the food. To whet our appetites, our meal began with a couple of small bites including some lovely foie gras on toast with truffle vinaigrette and a deliciously light waffle cube with parmesan cheese. The sweetness of the waffle contrasted well with the saltiness of the cheese.
This was followed by the amuse bouche, a fresh and spritely gazpacho soup that sang with flavour. Accompanying the gazpacho was a ‘hidden surprise’, a tasty vegetable square of celery, fennel, cucumber and carrot hidden underneath the soup.
A starter of blue lobster “cruit” was delicious and incredibly complex. It consisted of layers of brunoise beetroot, a crunchy lobster coral pancake and a carpaccio of sweet lobster. Served cold, the flavours of the various components worked together in great harmony and were further enhanced by some fragrant kaffir leaves. The ‘cruit’ referred to the cold steam effect created by the use of dry ice that covered this lovely dish with a mystical fog. Accompanying the dish was a scrumptious and intensely flavoursome lobster consommé.
An artichoke and black truffle soup (QR220 – about £37.30), one of the signature dishes at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris, was lusciously creamy yet light and airy at the same time. The flavour of the artichoke was well balanced and subtle, and shavings of beautiful black truffle graced the top of the soup. Divine as the truffle was, this did not surpass the decadence of the accompanying toasted mushroom brioche, lavishly spread with truffle butter which melted from the warmth of the bread. The brioche itself was also buttery and light and tasted heavenly when dipped into the soup.
A crispy sea bass with sweet spices (QR320 – about £54.20), another signature dish, boasted the crispiest and crunchiest of fish skins. The skin was sensational, and resulted from being pan-fried for a longer than usual period of time. The fillet itself was also beautifully cooked and moist, and married wonderfully with Guy Savoy’s special blend of 12 secret spices and a light vanilla foam. As an alternative to wine, a delicious apple and celery infusion was provided as an accompanying drink to enhance the taste of the fish course.
The breads were interesting and included a varied selection of sourdough, rye, leek and herbs, five cereals, seaweed, tomato and tandoori, a lemon and thyme fougasse from the South of France, and a walnut, apricot and raisin bread. But the best of the lot was the buckwheat bread which was amazing with a crunchy bake and soft tasty core. The breads were all wonderful and we were served a different bread with each course, one that had been especially selected to match that dish. All the breads had been freshly baked on the day and to the highest order, and showcased the bread making skills developed at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris which had been brought to Doha.
In a nod to the relationship between France and Qatar the first of the pre-desserts was a lovely chestnut (France) and date (Qatar) drink infused with vanilla which was nutty, sweet and fragrant. There was also a rich raspberry and avocado mousse and a lovely floating island with a pineapple sauce.
The Pearl dessert (QR95 – about £16), so named after The Pearl area of Doha in which the restaurant is located consisted of a white chocolate dome containing a filling of mango, pineapple, and a banana and passionfruit sorbet. The final flourish was a pineapple sauce poured over the dome which added a tangy touch to this refreshing dessert.
A chocolate fondant (QR95 – about £16) was not a fondant in the traditional sense, but a layered dessert with a chocolate base, praline, chocolate ganache and an interesting chicory cream. It was dark, rich and decadent. To complete the dessert was a thin, crispy and elegant dark cocoa tuile and some crunchy hazelnuts for added texture.
Also available as part of the dessert selection was a trolley from which you could take your choice of ice creams and sorbets, ‘conserves’ and select pastries (QR95 – about £16). The flavours of the conserves were inspired by Guy Savoy’s childhood and included a caramel cream that was rustic and homely, and a beautiful vanilla rice pudding. Ice creams included a variety of flavours of which we tried a lovely almond milk and a rich salted caramel.
And if that wasn’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, there was also an array of petit fours including chocolate and banana marshmallows, marshmallows with almonds and chocolate macaroons, all of which were beautifully done. To wash down the desserts was a choice of teas brewed from freshly grown tea leaves on a tea trolley.
This was an elegant and stylish haute cuisine experience. Not only was the cooking fault free, but each dish had also been beautifully constructed to heighten one’s sense of smell, sight and taste. The décor was a resounding success as well and the service was incredible. Moreover all the little added touches such as the selected breads with each course and the freshly grown teas helped to round off a truly complete dining experience. Perhaps the only draw back was the lack of diners in the restaurant and hence the lack of ambience. But regardless, Quisine by Guy Savoy is probably one of the best meals to be had in Doha.
Food rating: 4.5/5
Service rating: 4.5/5
Three courses – about QR510 to QR845 (about £86 to £143),
The 8-course Prestige Tasting Menu is QR845 (about £143), and
The 11-course Colours, Textures Savors Tasting Menu is QR1,050 (about £178).
Excludes drinks and service.