Carbone is a modern celebration of rich romantic tradition offering Italian-American cuisine. Hannah Nesbitt went there to find out what makes their menu so unique.
The Doha flagship marks the sixth Carbone in the hospitality company Major Food Group’s roster, along with Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Miami, Dallas, and the New York original, which opened in 2013 created by Mario Carbone, Rich Torissi and Jeff Zalaznick. The brand is known for creating a contemporary, celebratory and highly exclusive dining experience inspired by the storied tradition of the mid-century, New York-style Italian restaurant. Boasting a seating capacity of 180 and a year-round, air-conditioned terrace, Carbone has established itself as the premier spot for those seeking to see and be seen.
The restaurant’s traditional and elaborate décor is fronted by heavy-draped curtains and the welcoming front-of-house staff. Our captain for the evening, Ervin, took us to our table on the terrace, where the sleek patio heaters’ flickering flames added to the setting’s ambience, and chilled Motown music played gently in the background. The interior seating offers circular booth tables complemented by subdued lighting accentuated with both chandeliers and table lights. Generous flower bouquets contribute an added level of meticulous attention to detail.
The exquisite menu was explained to us and the sharing concept meant we opted for a few dishes in order to taste the best of what was on offer. The bread basket was the first of many dishes to arrive at the table with a choice of two freshly baked types, Grandma’s bread, a sourdough with a tangy tomato topping, and a buttery garlic bread, accompanied by 24-month-aged Parmigiano and a punchy pickled cauliflower dish. Opting to try two mocktails, we selected Menta – a blend of mint, lemon, apple and soda water, and Il Coco – a concoction of pineapple, coconut, lemon and ginger. Served in tall glasses with simple decorations, they had light and refreshing flavours.
Before long, the Caesar salad trolley was brought to the table; with each ingredient laid out, Ervin skillfully mixed the delicious crunchy lettuce leaves with the traditional Caesar dressing. After ensuring the leaves were suitably coated in the punchy dressing, the parmesan was grated and topped with oversized croutons and, to conclude the preparation, salty, savoury anchovies. The flavours perfectly complemented each other and set the bar high for what was yet to come.
Antipasti dishes were quick to follow the freshly prepared salad. Again, the trolley was brought to the table to show the meticulous preparation of the house specialities, Carpaccio Piemontese, Burrata & Caviar and Shrimp Cocktail. The carpaccio is made with thinly cut slithers of prime American tenderloin and topped with cremini mushrooms, walnuts, black truffle dressing and rocket leaves. The meat itself was perfectly seasoned and melted in the mouth, with the mushrooms adding a little extra bite to the soft and tender texture. The burrata dish was constructed under our watchful eyes. The soft creamy cheese cut open and laid onto a crisp bread and generously accompanied by Black Diamonds Caviar (Imperial Beluga Premium) to complete the dish. The Shrimp Cocktail is composed of poached Red Giant Prawns Carabineros, sourced from the shores of Spain’s Canary Islands, and complemented by zested horseradish and classic cocktail sauce.
Carbone prides itself on its signature pasta dish, the restaurant’s world-famous Spicy Rigatoni. This delectable dish is a speciality at Carbone, where it has gained a reputation for its irresistible combination of heat and creaminess. Cooked to perfection until it reaches the ideal al dente texture, it boasts a tantalising sauce with a Calabrian chilli kick, beautifully balanced with richness from the cream. This harmonious blend of flavours creates a truly satisfying and memorable dining experience.
A light Pesci course was served featuring a flame-grilled seabass, the charred lines offering a distinct smokiness and adding extra crunch to the skin. The fish itself was cooked perfectly, with moist, flaky pieces falling away to the fork. A handful of steamed asparagus tips was presented alongside to add a refreshing bite and extra texture.
The desserts offered the finest quality, traditional Italian favourites. The one that stood out for me was Carbone’s Chocolate Hazelnut Terrine. A rich hazelnut treat topped with smooth vanilla ice cream and gold leaf for that further grand touch – delightful for the eyes and palate.
The attention to detail in the preparation, presentation and serving of each dish was second to none, with special attention given to any dietary requirements accommodated by the brand’s Executive Chef, Matteo Dayem.