The Soul of India

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Celebrated as the culinary jewel of India, Jamavar Doha at Sheraton Grand Doha, lets OHLALA’s Emille Loyola-Artiga enter its innermost heritage for an exquisite journey from the royal kitchens of the north to the succulent options of the southern shores.

Pride. It is the most special emotion to have, a deep pleasure and happiness derived from one’s own collective triumphs. This is the feeling that reverberated as we entered the newly-opened Jamavar Doha, at Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, which is bedecked with enchanting interiors from the vibrant apothecary bar to the emerald-green chandeliers and the intricately placed seating areas.

Jamavar Doha is perfectly located in the heart of West Bay and as we neared the hotel entrance, the aroma subtly filled the air. At the entrance, we were warmly welcomed by a tall amiable gentleman in pagri. His graciousness and engaging charm immediately got us all even more excited to embrace the culinary journey we were about to experience.

Once inside, it was easy to appreciate how Jamavar Doha vivaciously disrupts the local dining scene with a high-end experience like no other. Drawn by its artful details, we scoured the place before we made our way to the spacious round table and comfortable sophisticated sofa seat. The name Jamavar stems from the vibrant 16th–century shawls of the state of Kashmir, India, and the first restaurant opened at the Leela Palace Bengaluru in 2001. The space is adorned with semblances of the intrinsic paisley pattern of the shawl which adds to the rich, royal and majestic atmosphere.

Hritik, who meticulously attended us the whole evening, explained the menu, which is a set offering both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, as Lalit, the Bar Manager, skilfully served our signature mocktails to start with. Jaipur-The Pink City, is a classic and authentic Indian drink prepared the Jamavar way, a refreshing mix of Rooh Afzah, strawberry, blueberry, pineapple, homemade cardamom syrups and rose water.

Meanwhile, the Kala Khata, a signature Jamavar Doha mocktail, is a theatrical masterpiece, made of blackberry, black grapes, tamarind, a homemade spice blend and munakka, served in a strikingly unique glass with dancing smoke, a truly delightful sight. Both drinks were works of art and precision from the bespoke glasses to the presentation.

Chef Debdash Balaga masterfully and thoughtfully created the menu that offers a series of fun tasting plates adapted authentically from India alongside some exclusive signature Jamavar Doha dishes, based on the culinary wealth of the Leela as well as the culture and heritage of India. Each dish has a story to tell and, with pride and enthusiasm, Chef Debdash describes that each of the spice blends are made entirely from his kitchen and the ingredients are hand-picked and sourced directly from India.

Starting with the appetiser plates, Palak Patta instantly became my favourite, with batter-fried spinach, chutney, sweetened yoghurt and house spice. The fried spinach is perfection, and I was craving for more, whilst the cottage cheese Kasundi Paneer Tikka doesn’t fall far behind. Served with Kolkata mustard and papaya relish it’s a perfect vegetarian indulgence.

Meanwhile, the light and refreshing papadom was served with a quadruplet of dips of which the stand outs were the rose flavoured yoghurt and orange pepper dips. For non-vegetarians there is ‘Andra-style’ Beef Uthapam, which is served with rice pancake, mustard and southern spice, or Murgh Malai Kalimirch, with chicken morsels, royal cumin and enriched cream, dreamily flavoured with cheese, garlic and black pepper. The tasty meats melted in my mouth. Served with green salad, this is easily a full satisfying meal on its own.

Before the curries and biryani main courses, we were amazed with the sorbet performance, unpretentiously named, Jamavar Lemon Sorbet, this refreshing drink made of lemon sorbet, apple juice, cranberry, guava juice and cotton candy is served inside a glass lid cover with swirling smoke. This invigorating blend of flavours is as impressive as it is beautiful.

Our culinary expedition continued as we marvelled at the main courses grandly spread on our table. Served with steamed rice, paratha bread and nan (garlic and buttered), the vegetarian menu started with Nawabi Kofta, a raisin stuffed paneer dumpling mixed with yellow gravy and spread with almonds and khoya. Bhindi Do Pyaza is a flavourful mix of okra, onions and tomatoes, a delight worthy of revelation.

The non-vegetarian ensemble included Murgh Makani, a classic tandoor roasted chicken, so tender that it melts in the mouth, seasoned with farm-fresh tomato gravy, fresh cream and fenugreek. Similarly divine is the Laal Maas, a lamb shank slow cooked to perfection for eight hours and playfully mixed with a Rajasthani chilli blend. Naturally, our Indian epicurean expedition would not be complete without their very own rendition of the biryani, or what they call Rampuri Murgh Dum Biryani, a classic but with a special Jamavar touch of aromatic basmati rice, chicken, home-ground spices and kewara. And the Dal Jamavar, for an impeccable finish, is an exceptionally slow-cooked overnight lentils, mixed with herbs, cream and butter. Having revelled thoroughly in this enchanting cultural and gastronomic quest, it was easy to imagine how the dessert would be. It did not disappoint. We weren’t able to speak a word after our first taste of the Tian of Saffron Jalebi, a popular homemade dessert in India, a divine mixture of reduced and thickened milk, Bengal gram twisty and almond slivers enhanced with pistachio crumbles that compels you to take more. Soft, spongy and utterly delightful, it is understandable that this is a favourite household dessert in India.

Jamavar Doha reflects the essence of India’s heritage and takes an authentic approach to Indian cuisine from across the majestic sub-continent. It showcases distinctive cooking styles and the rituals of India’s ancient nobility. From the ambiance to the people and from the ingredients to each of the masterful creations, pride lives intrinsically, and makes you appreciate every minute of the journey.

For more information or to make a reservation, please call Jamavar Doha on 4485 4444.

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