It’s not everyday that you get the opportunity to sit in the lobby of a brand-spanking new hotel; in Doha it is becoming a regular occurrence. Visitors and residents to the city have seen four new hotels open in as many months. The Westin Doha is the latest opening in an increasingly competitive and burgeoning market.
Located on Salwa Road it offers a relaxing escape from downtown Doha – we envisage it becoming popular with the many professionals working in the area. Although it gives off an austere image with its muted colour scheme and dark furniture, the light floods in during the day perfectly highlighting the delicate Bohemian crystal chandeliers.
Visitors to the hotel can enjoy the restful sounds of the lobby water feature or the call of the local birds on the outside terrace. As a market leader in wellness the hotel has a six pillar philosophy of well-being which includes Move Well, Work Well and Eat Well. Guests can also enjoy the heavenly spa, outdoor pool and oasis garden for a revitalising experience within the heart of residential Doha.
But we digress; this is not a hotel review. Rather we are here try the foodie offerings at Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Doha’s all-day dining venue. The sophisticated dining room has a contemporary design, with an excellent range of seating options including couch seating for relaxed dining. Conceptualised as a global cuisine restaurant diners can choose the QR99 lunch buffet or order from the a la carte menu.
Executive Chef Yann Giacomoni talks passionately about the ‘market fresh’ concept behind the food at Seasonal Tastes. “As chefs we love working with the product. And it is very much coming back to modernity, to fashion. We want to work with quality products grown by little farmers – not too much chemical, no pesticides.” French-born he has extensive culinary experience having worked across the globe from Antigua to China.
At Seasonal Tastes proteins change daily depending on what is available in the local market. There is an emphasis on using organic produce and superfood ingredients – this is seasonal cooking taken to the highest level of nutritional flavour.
Health and well-being is incorporated into the menu with superfoods utilised in the fresh juices, including a surprisingly good Beetroot juice. The superfoods station provides guests with a variety of health-conscious ingredients such as Chia seeds, Bee Pollen and Quinoa. But despite the emphasis on healthy dishes the salad options are varied and interesting, and includes an Egg & Beetroot Salad, and a delicate Smoked Salmon offering.
The usual Middle Eastern appetisers are available from Baba Ganoush, Fattoush, Muhammarah and Warak Enab. Chef Yann refers to this inclusion of traditional regional foods as a ‘sense of place’ – a way to reflect the food culture of the region.
The bread station houses a variety of rolls from certified organic loaves to country-style varieties. Breads are rotated so that diners can enjoy the impressive cheeseboard. Quite a few of the cheeses are ‘denominazione di origine controllata’ products – cheese that has been given protected status by the European Union. You can consider it to be a quality control mechanism, which requires protected cheeses to be produced within a particular region using regional diary products only.
The live cooking station features Chicken Rotisserie and Baked Hammour. Proteins vary everyday depending on what is available fresh at the market, and can include prawn, calamari, and tuna which are grilled or cooked with simple marinades to provide a lighter option. There are no accompanying sauces which reflects the wellbeing concept, but it was missed – however the Kebab was surprisingly juicy on its own if a little flat on spicing.
Hot main courses are arranged around a circular pillar and reflects mainly Middle Eastern flavours with Sayadieh Fish, Stuffed Courgettes and Vermicelli Rice. Continental offerings included Lamb Chops, Patata Bravas and Roasted Chicken. A smart choice in the healthy category was the spicy Lasooni Palak, a Spinach-based Indian dish with an intense garlic flavour (buttery naan would have been the perfect companion to the dish).
The extensive range of cheese and fruits exists to provide a healthy balance to the desserts station. Desserts are limited in variety, but cover the main categories with continental cakes, arabic sweets and decadent chocolate treats.
The ‘Chocolate Amenity’ promises deep flavours with its use of different types of chocolate, but doesn’t make a big impact. Instead the winner in the chocolate desserts is the triple layer Mousse which packs a rich and indulgent hit of cocoa deliciousness in one small bite. But the ultimate dessert stars are the luxurious homemade ice creams and sorbets, which includes an irresistible Chocolate and Nut Ice cream.
The Westin Doha is currently in soft opening so elements of the dining experience are constantly being assessed and improved by Chef Yaan. For lovers of seafood you may be pleased to know that the dinner buffet has a special display of the bounties of the sea.
Chef Yaan informed of plans to increase buffet options when The Westin’s other two restaurants (Sabai Thai and Hunter’s Room & Grill) open. Their famous ‘Bubbalicious Brunches’ are scheduled to begin after the official opening of The Westin Doha. The special characteristic of this family-friendly brunch is that it allows diners to visit four of the F&B outlets in the hotel providing a truly diverse variety of food.
We are well aware that we have just reviewed two QR99 Lunch Buffets in a row – check our Shangri-La Doha lunch buffet feature. We recognise that people will want a comparison of the two promotions. We can distinguish the two based on the foods – one has an emphasis on a variety of global cuisine, whilst the other is incorporating healthier options into its range of offerings.
Both restaurants are located in business area with a dense population density. One has an outdoors terrace with a garden and pool; the other has a vast range of live cooking stations. One is contemporary in design, whilst the other offers a traditional feel.
It should be noted that, whilst Sridan’s Lunch Buffet is priced at QR99 for a limited period, Seasonal Tastes have locked in at that price. Just remember that both hotels are still in soft opening, so the buffet is likely to change and service may be a work in progress. Ultimately the decision on where to enjoy a lunch buffet depends on what you are looking for. We hope we have helped you to make a more informed decision. Now we are off to try more ice cream flavours!
Fo more information and booking call +974 4492 1555 or email [email protected]
Qatar Eating was a guest of The Westin Doha.