Tucked away somewhere at the start of the bay is the stunning Arabic influenced hotel Sharq Village & Spa. The property was one of the first hotels to be built in line with Qatar’s vision of hospitality and luxury back in 2007. Set in an Idyllic costal spot the hotel has built a reputation for offering contemporary service with a traditional feel. Its well know not only for its authentic architectural structure but also for housing Six Sense, one of the best spas in the country. That said, In my opinion unfortunately with the no of newer 5 star properties and restaurants opened in the city over the past few years The Sharq village and spa’s – food outlets have become less talked about and hence obviously taken a back seat. With the Friday sundowners becoming a hotspot Al Dana slowly turned into more of a weekend chill out place and less about dining and its food.
I was invited last week to have a taste of all whats on offer at Al Dana one of the well know restaurants in the past and was very glad to know that an attempt was being made by its management to revive and reintroduce the restaurant with a casual dining concept and great food.
Al Dana is a signature seafood restaurant that has a newly appointed Greek Chef – Evangelous Liakouris. Chef Liakouris holds fort and promises to bring a vibrant freshness of the Blue Zone Ikarian diet a well kept secret to longevity. Now just who wouldn’t want to add a few more years to this lovely thing called life right!
We arrived on time and before being seated got a tour of the fresh seafood market. The market had on display fresh catch of the day and a variety of beautiful ripe food ingredients which we were told we could add to a little basket and then have it cooked just the way we wanted it.
I was easily sold until Chef Liakouris later arrived at our table and asked if we he could surprise us. In a conflicting state of mind I mentioned we had no allergies to anything at all and then threw ourselves into the hand of the pro leaving him to decide our fate.
As we anxiously awaited our first course of surprise we were served the freshest home made bread ever with a slice of pretty looking caper butter on a stone that was absolutely delicious.
Dish 1 – Sea Bass Ceviche Tiger Milk, Mango, Coconut, Cancha Corn, Coriander, Chili, Lotus
The dish was fresh and beautifully presented. It had the right amount of seasoning and a hint of lemon that left a fresh tingling taste in out mouth.
Dish 2 – Burrata Smoked Tomato Syrup and Focaccia, Multicolor Cherry Tomatoes Glazed with Molasses and Basil
How could you ever go wrong with a fresh & creamy burrata? The crispy fried bread and cheery ripe tomatoes added a wonderful texture to the soft smooth cheese making it a perfectly light & healthy starter for the weight watchers.
Dish 3 – BEEF FILLET TATAKI Smoked Tomato Aioli Sauce, Mushroom Carpaccio, Homemade Truffle Mayonnaise
Rare and well done 🙂 This one will bring a smile to the face of any meat lover. One bite into the meat and we were convinced it was handled and treated with care. It was also juicy as obvious in the picture and well seasoned.
Dish 4 – POACHED LOBSTER Celeriac-miso mousseline, walnuts, pineapple, Pomegranate, and green apple
This has got to be my favorite dish of all. If you love seafood as much as I do then this one has got to make it on your order. Every bite was a mouthful of freshness with different textures and flavors from the fruit. Interestingly its a dash of miso that lifts of the humble celeriac puree.
Dish 5 – GREEK SHRIMPS SAGANAKI Tomato, basil and feta cheese
My least favorite dish of the night. Personally for me just lacked the right amount of Oomph! Too much tomato sauce and feta. It was all to sweet and sloppy for me.
Dish 6 – MUSSELS IN COCOTTE Mussels, saffron sauce, tomato and dodoni cheese
This was another stand out dish. A delicious sauce with pieces of feta hidden in every other bite of a mussel. My only regret was I wish I wasn’t as stuffed and tired so I could finish tackling every little mussel in that pot. FYI: love the pot it was served in. It looked like it came straight out of a mama’s kitchen.
GRILLED SEAFOOD PLATTER Omani lobster, tiger prawn, hammour, salmon, scallops lemon butter sauce For 2 – 450 QR
Lovely seafood platter that was enough to feed four people and probably still have some left. Soft and perfectly seared scallops got my vote in this gigantic bowl of sealiciousness 😛 (A made up word*)
DECONSTRUCTED BLACK FOREST – Mango cremeux, chocolate ganache, cherry sauce
And if you think you could leave without this you would have had only half of the heavenly experience of dining at Al Dana. For many of you that read my post regularly and know that I am not a dessert person you would understand how significantly good this is when I say I could go back every day just to get lost in this forest!
Final Verdict :
I truly believe that Al Dana is one restaurant that is definitely under appreciated in this city. Its the underdog that proves old is gold. It offers hospitable service at extremely reasonable rates, the portion of dishes are ridiculously generous and has a variety of meat options for the carnivores. Its quite simply good food in abundance. I’m really not sure why I’ve never chosen to dine here in all these years. This place deserves a great review for the stunning food it dished out and since dining at the restaurant I’ve suggested it to many friends that have returned with a similar experience. Whats next for me is to try the chefs menu which is a 17 course meal for which a minimum of 4 persons is required and is priced at 250 per person.
And with that I conclude this food adventure and a great find!
Bon Appetite X
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Also check out C lounge by Al Dana – questandmark.com/2016/02/05/c-lounge-by-al-dana/
For restaurant reservations and more information on Sharq Village and Spa, contact the hotel at +974 4425 6666 or visit the website at www.ritzcarlton.com/SharqVillage