There are two very specific reasons to this blog post title and both are extremely special. One – my baby girl turned a month old 🙂 so a big milestone for us to celebrate and Two – Dinner at Zengo by Richard Sandoval was simply unforgettable.
As for the later, a couple of weeks ago I was invited to the opening of Zengo. It was meant to be the first event I was to attend post delivery and was absolutely psyched about it. However as fate had it, my baby girl was suffering from serve colic the day of the event and I had to cancel my attendance last minute. This past week however I was luck enough to reschedule the tasting and as pumped as the first time around I managed to make it to dinner.
Now much like the inspiration behind my blog, Chef Sandoval created Zengo as to express and give meaning to his world travels. The restaurant serves up his voyages around Asia, the spice route and the far east on pretty little platters. Zengo offers Pan asian cuisine which incorporates chefs Latin American influence of flavours and ingredients giving the food a nice twist. A twist that will leave you a little bit fuzzy & dizzy just like that feeling of being in loveeee……
So whats all the fuss I’m making about this place? for starters the restaurant is situated on the 61st floor of the Kempinski Residences & Suites Doha. The restaurant comprises of a large open dining space that is entirely non smoking, an upstairs bar and lounge where smokers are welcome offering the same dining menu as below, a lounge called Z lounge on the opposite side of the restaurant that also has a VIP area upstairs with its very own entrance and that can be booked for private events. The restaurant & lounge pans all around the 61st and 62nd floor of the building giving diners & drinkers an unobstructed 360 view of the city. The bottom dining space is equipped with an open kitchen, sushi station & dim sum counter that is run by Master Dim Sum Chef Ziliang Zeng. If you’re not impressed yet then let me tell you about the stunning interiors of Zengo.
For anyone that has the slightest eye for architecture and design this place is a marvel. I strongly suggest you make an early reservation so you have enough time on hand to let your eyes wander around and appreciate all the details of this structure before you dive your head into the menu that will leave you equally amused. Even better ask for a tour and the friendly staff will gladly walk you around. Its humongous so give yourself some time.
Sushi open kitchen
The floor plan is clean, sophisticated, spacious and opulent but in a modern minimalistic way with hints of asian inspired traditionalism flowing through the space. This very same concept then transcends through the well thought out menu, food, presentation and even the service. It offers a consistent and homogenous overall experience.
That spectacular view is just perfect for #date night.
The Bar Upstairs
We couldn’t have started the night without cheering with a cocktail. The view was so speculator that it just was an absolute necesity to kick start the experience.
I ordered a Khing whisky comprising of Bourbon whisky, ginger beer, Thai chilly ginger syrup, fresh lime and cilantro and The Mr. ordered a Z-61st which I liked much better than my drink. It had Bourbon Whisky, almond liquor, orange marmalade, fresh orange, egg white & sugar.
And now for the real reason why I suggest you dine at Zengo. The food… the food…the food. Oh my word…. The Food!
An extensive menu made it very complicated to choose from and such was our dilemma that night. We opted to venture into the unknown and treat our minds and palate’s to all thinks new. Although we are well versed with most of the asian flavours its the combinations that were most intriguing to us. We were throughly impressed with the marrying of simple ingredients with complex & modern day cooking processes that created a whole new dish that was somewhat deceiving at first until the first bite and burst of textures in our mouths.
Here’s what we tried:
Citrus fruits, togarashi, Pickled onions, dill oil and lemon gel
– Fresh and citrusy as beautiful as the picture. Loved the sweet & zesty lemon gel that elevated the dish.
Wagyu Beef Tiradito (Seared wagyu beef, jalapeño and truffle ponzu)
– The mix of textures were just fab with the crispy fried jalapeños.
Thai Seafood Ceviche (Shrimp Scallop Tuna Salmon Finger lime and Mango yolk)
– Our favourite dish of the night. We loved how this cleverly thought out dish played mind games with us. The cutting open of what we perceived to be an egg yolk only to find that it was a mango yolk 😛 The mix and balance of thai flavours were just spot on.
Angry Zengo (Tuna, avocado, cucumber, sriracha sauce)
– Not our kinda sushi. We were told that the angry zengo is available at Zengo outlets around the world. I think the problem with this sushi is that tries to please too many palates ultimately losing the identity or authenticity of just being a simple plate of sushi.
New Volcano (King crab, wasabi mayo,unagi sauce fried in tempura batter)
– Was delicious and crunchy.
Octopus tempura (Spice flour served with pins dipping sauce)
Duck Maseca Panckaes (Confit duck in chipotle bbq sauce with fried shallots and rice crackers)
Salmon Miso (Fried fermented cassava and Taro chips)
Pan fried Short rib dumplings
We had so many courses by the end of the tasting that we were stuffed and decided to leave the curry, wok & grill section of the menu to another day. After all we were already looking for an excuse to go back and dine at Zengo. We then settled for a deconstructed Japanese cheese cake to end the night as sadly we were offered the signature dessert a bit too late. The dessert worth making a trip back we were told is – a warm chocolate pudding baked in a thick wooden box that needs exactly 27 min. to be prepped. Chef Marco that runs Zengo explained the delicate process of making the dish and compared it to a warn Italian soufflé which sounded so divine that he convinced us that a trip back was an absolute must. Now I am already dreaming of next meal at Zengo and hoping to try the neglected part of the menu with some of my favourites of that night. The full menu for Zengo is available on Zomato.
Honestly although we didn’t pay for the food the estimated damage after calculation was 750 QAR for 2 people. We did however pay for our drinks which was a total of 520 QAR (excluding tip) for a bottle of wine and 2 cocktails. The price for a cocktail starts at 65 QAR and a bottle of wine from 390 QAR onwards. Id say the Zengo is a medium to high range restaurant and dining experience but delivers on all aspects you pay for. I wouldn’t say its a place for often dining but more of an occasional one when celebrating something special.
Overall we had a wonderful experience and were pleased with the well knowledgeable staff attending to us. Our server named Budi was extremely sweet and knew all about the processes and techniques of cooking. He made sure we had time in between our courses and gave us our space every time we had to attend to the little one who accompanied us 🙂 We also appreciate Chef Marco coming out to discuss our dining experience, get feedback about the menu and for letting us take a picture with him.
It certainly was a night that ended on a high note. We couldn’t have celebrated Amelie’s first big milestone at any place better than at the very best on top of the tallest tower in town. #feelingontopoftheworld
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