Craig Ferriman headed outside for a taste of Arabia at the beautifully presented Walima at Mondrian Doha.
Walima means to join together and feast – often as part of a special occasion. And when you enter Walima, at Mondrian Doha, it feels like walking into the setting of a grand banquet.
The interiors are stunning with lanterns of varying bright colours hanging low from the ceiling. The lighting creates a warm but also party-like vibe. Blessed as we currently are with near-perfect weather, we availed ourselves of a table outside on the stunningly designed terrace. It’s full of cabanas draped in red balloons and the tables all have lights that continually change colours. The cabanas are great for small group gatherings as they allow some privacy. We had a choice of a cabana, sofas or tables to sit at, and we opted for the latter.
The Lusail Expressway looks hectic below but is not noisy and the garden terrace itself is a calming oasis, especially after sunset. It juts out from the glistening spread eagle of the main tower and its shining lights twinkle above. The menu is largely a typical Arabic mezzes and grill affair. The quality, however, speaks for itself. The cold appetisers were neatly presented with the hummus delicately served in a criss-cross pattern. The moutabel, tabbouleh and eggplant were all good and the bread was warm and fresh. The hot mezze was served on a round bowl – perfect as a sharing platter. The kibbeh sajieh served with minced lamb leg and bulgur was amply sized and broke apart beautifully upon biting into it. The spinach fattayer was particularly good also.
Not far from our seats was an industrial-sized barbecue. The chef was busy producing big sharing plates from the charcoal grill. We sampled the mixed mashawi and the mixed seafood. You get a lot when you choose these! The mixed mashawi featured a well-presented array of lamb kofta, Lebanese kofta, chicken tawook and sumptuous lamb chops, with cherry tomatoes and onions liberally sprinkled over the top. The mixed seafood was generous. We were treated to lobster, shrimps, seabass, calamari and a little yogurt sauce. The long strips of lobster were gorgeous, the shrimps didn’t disappoint, and the addition of the sea bass was greatly appreciated on our table.
The desserts ranged from traditional Arabic classics, like the umm ali and the baklawa, to more international favourites such as the homemade ice cream or the chocolate lava cake. I tried the baklawa of which there was plenty, and it was perfect for the sweet-toothed fiend. The chocolate lava cake melted upon tapping it and was delectable. Staff were very welcoming. The maitre’d walked us to our table and ensured we were comfortable. We were well attended and asked if we wanted additional food and drinks. The ambient atmosphere combined with high-quality cooking of popular and much-loved dishes proved a winning combination for an evening out.
For reservations and more information, please call Walima on 4045 5999.