In one of his last restaurant outings before the recent restrictions, Craig Ferriman had the pleasure of an evening at Maya, located at Kempinski Residences & Suites Doha, being cooked for by Chef Sergio Galaz.
Maya is possibly the best Mexican restaurant that you’ll find in a five-star hotel. That’s because it isn’t TexMex, rather it’s the truly authentic and traditional food of Mexico cooked with five-star flare but honest to its culinary roots.
We started with Chef Sergio’s homemade guacamole; it was almost worth leaving my house for that alone! The difference between real guacamole made right and with fresh ingredients as opposed to out of a jar, couldn’t be more stark. The tortillas with guac were a great way to start and whet the appetite. The Scallop Ceviche we were brought was fresh, tangy and exploding with different flavours. The next appetiser we tried was grilled Al Ajillo Shrimps. The pan was full of them so, like all things here, there was plenty to share.
Ajillo combines guajillo chilli peppers and ajo (garlic). If you are predisposed against garlic, then this one is not for you. Fortunately for me, I love garlic! Lightly toasted sliced bread was placed on the side to effectively let you make your own prawn toast and, with a light sprinkling of lime on top, I could eat this as a snack for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Chef Sergio told us he’s proud that his food is correctly balanced and so the true foodie should have no need for sauces to fulfil the dish. I would agree with him and in many cases on his menu there are no sauces at all because what he brings you is the finished article.
Of course, no Mexican restaurant could function without limes, so I was glad to see those accompanying most things. Tacos are king at Maya, especially when it’s Taco Tuesdays and you can eat tacos for 15 riyals each all night! I tried three of the best: the brisket beef on a corn taco, the shrimp tempura taco and lastly another beef, this time Wagyu. I took a bite of all three and the explosion in my mouth was indescribable.
We also sampled three main courses. The beef fajitas were done perfectly and both spicy and succulent. Quality prime tenderloin served on a grill on a bed of peppers with freshly produced tortilla wraps kept moist in a side pot.
A whole salmon on a bed of sweetcorn had a light sauce drizzled on top and was a solid and filling dish. The pescado offering was sea bass which was a handsome serving for those with large appetites. It came piping hot on a pan to retain flavour. The two desserts we ate were both winners. The top pick for presentation points was the in-house version of Tres Leches which featured coffee and chocolate sponge cake and was immaculately served up in a deep dark bowl.
And my ultimate favourites were the churros, which were the best I’ve eaten in this town. Staff service is particularly high here and noteworthy for the depth of knowledge of the menu and ingredients, mixed with a relaxed vibe. The restaurant itself is dark and seductive with lots of hidden or semi-private spaces to gather with friends. The key to enjoying Maya is sharing!
For more information or to make a reservation, please call Maya on 4405 3325.