It’s an act of faith when you make a return visit to a restaurant that had originally left you disappointed.
Our first impressions of the Urban Jazz Kitchen seemed to be all about what was missing, and how they could do better. We never imagined we would ever return.
However more than a year later we found ourselves tempted back by a new menu inspired by New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz.
Urban Jazz Kitchen
Finding the Soul of New Orleans
We recently visited Urban Jazz Kitchen on two separate occasions trying out a variety of dishes to make sure we gave the new menu a chance.
The interiors are still the same at Urban Jazz Kitchen; all industrial birdcage-style lighting, funky chairs and open kitchen. The outside terrace overlooks the Marina making it the perfect spot to relax and unwind in the cooler evenings.
The menu however has been completely overhauled taking it from eclectic international fare to a more focused offering. There are a few main courses which have been added to the menu to appeal to local tastes such as the Oriental Chicken and Shish Tawouk. But now it’s mostly all about the food and flavours of New Orleans. Think cajun seasoning, shrimps, and apple pie!
Nothing says New Orleans more than Gumbo and Po-Boy, both of which are offered on the menu at Urban Jazz Kitchen. The Gumbo stew is hearty and warming while the fresh spring onions really makes it pop. However the dish is presented in an overly-large bowl with a prissy presentation for a dish of humble beginnings. It also really needs some bread to help soak up all that delicious stew.
The Shrimp Po-Boy sandwich was almost perfect; it just needed some spice and it would make for a perfect midday meal. The accompanying fries were covered in a cajun seasoning keeping the dish close to its Louisiana soul.
We also enjoyed the Triple Play Appetiser Platter with buffalo wings, drumsticks and breaded chicken. The breaded lollipop chicken was excellent, and we would recommend this appetiser if you are sharing between two or three friends.
There are a quite a few burgers on the menu, with both beef and chicken options. However there are very few vegetarian items on the menu; you would have to contact the restaurant to see how they could cater to vegetarians and vegans.
From the Burgers section we ordered The Fitzgerald and The Ballin’ Jack – both come with Cajun Fires, and have house-made beef patties. There is only a slight difference between the two burgers; the variety of cheese, and one has onion rings while the other has mushrooms.
In terms of presentation the Fillet Medallion main course wins; three fillet medallions are served on a hot stone with vegetables and mashed potatoes. The meat was very good and even had the right type of grill marks. The only odd thing was having the sprig of rosemary peeking out from behind the first piece.
A few of the items on the desserts and beverages menu have been priced quite fairly compared to what you would ordinarily expect. The Urban Jazz Kitchen versions of freakshakes have alliterative names which makes them stick in your head. The Outrageous Oreo is as you would expect, rich and chocolatey; the addition of a cake with a musical note on it brings in the jazz theme quite nicely.
But the desserts menu really holds the appeal with some decent portion sizes at reasonable prices. Somewhere Over The Rainbow is priced at QAR 30 – you will be surprised at the size of this dessert. There is enough to share with at least two other people, even if you may share somewhat grudgingly.
Pretty pastel rainbow layers makes for an instagram-worthy dessert, which you will definitely crave the next day. The ice cream on the side was a later addition to the menu as the cake is quite rich and definitely needs something to cut through the sweet frosting, but we don’t think chocolate ice cream is the right choice. Also there isn’t actually enough ice cream for the size of the cake. Although the value and portion size makes it the perfect dessert for sharing.
For the Lava Cake fans there are three versions – you can choose between chocolate with salted or spiced caramel, and a red lava cake. Unfortunately our Chocolate Lava Cake had no gooey centre once it was cut open, but for those of you who like a little heat with your chocolate you will enjoy the spiced caramel.
Flavour was the main issue that we had with the old menu, and the Urban Jazz Kitchen culinary team have actually managed to miraculously save a venue that we felt had always deserved better.
We are already looking for an excuse to head back for another shot at that chocolate fondant!
Our Verdict – Urban Jazz Kitchen has finally found its soul!
For more information and bookings call +974 4409 5269 | +974 3390 8801. Urban Jazz Kitchen currently offers delivery for the Pearl residents.