Qatar, not on everybody’s bucket list but it is gaining momentum on the tourist front especially through layover/stopover offers with Qatar Airways. I have lived in Qatar for over three years and have discovered that people’s perceptions of the country are limited and many people even expats don’t really head off the beaten track. So here are my hidden and not so hidden gems of Qatar! Continue reading The Hidden and Not So Hidden Gems of Qatar
We have lived in Qatar for almost three years and think we’ve got to know it pretty well! I know there are a lot of misconceptions about Qatar and people think there aren’t many things to see and do in Doha. So here I have compiled my three years of knowledge into the ultimate A-Z list of Things to See and Things to Do in Qatar! Continue reading A to Z of Things to See and Things to Do in Qatar
As we approached gymkhana in Souq waqif last night, it dawned on me that we had never set foot inside one of the many boutique hotels in Souq waqif! I wasn’t sure what to expect but if there instagram page was anything to go by we were in for a treat.
When we entered we were greeted warmly and taken to a table with two large wicker chairs and a baby chair quickly followed. The decor makes it feel like you are in an old colonial hotel. Beautiful and impeccable.
The menus were brought and we decided to start with the gymkhana chaat. An unusual mix of paneer, chickpeas and pomegranate on a spiced biscuit base. It was very unusual but we loved the unique flavour. It was the closest thing we have had to our experience at Michelin starred Indian restaurant in London, Tamarind!
For mains we thought we’d try something traditional and something more unusual so we opted for the home style chicken curry and the ghee roasted pepper mutton. The curry tasted similar to a dhansak minus the lentils, with sweet and sour notes. Absolutely delicious! While the lamb was pulled with a spicy kick! Neither was greasy and both packed with flavour.
We finished with a chai creme brûlée which was spiced and rich and perfect for sharing.
This is definitely my new favourite curry spot in Doha and I can’t wait to try more. But perhaps my favourite thing about gymkhana was exceptional service! It was flawless from start to finish. I feel like I’ve been missing g out not trying the boutique hotels before and definitely want to explore them more.
The dinner with lassi and water cost around 300qar!
Have you been to gymkhana? What did you think
There are loads of great restaurants in Souq Waqif to eat at but one of my favourites is Parisa, an Iranian restaurant.
So why do I love it?
The decor at Parisa, Souq Waqif
I think this has to be the most opulent restaurant in the souq. From the moment you enter through the mirrored corridor you are transported somewhere else. The mirrored ceiling, the mural walls and the beautiful foundation in the center make this a really stunning setting.
Service at Parisa
The staff are always attentive and willing to bring out more bread even after I Have consumed my own body weight in the stuff! They are also really friendly and great with small talk and recommendations.
The food at Parisa
You can’t go wrong with a kebab but Parisa excels at them. We love getting the sharing platter so we can try them all as I can never decide which one to order!
I also love their sweet walnut and pomegranate chicken stew which is like nothing else I have ever eaten.
But the star of the show is their rice. They do different kinds, saffron and dill being my favourites. It is truly the fluffiest rice I have ever tasted.
Atmosphere at Parisa, souq Waqif
In the evening there are usually a couple of musicians playing traditional music which really adds to the ambiance.
I usually haven’t left nearly enough room for pudding but I always managed to force myself to have one. I particularly love the pistachio ice cream with saffron biscuits
When to go
Parisa is great all year round but can’t be beaten when it’s hot and you need interior seating. But in truth go anytime you won’t be disappointed!
There is a second branch of Souq Waqif at the Sharq hotel but Parisa Souq Waqif has to be my favourite.
Whenever we get visitors to Doha the first place they want to go is the Souq Waqif. Why wouldn’t they – the Souq is awesome and gives people a flavour of something uniquely Middle Eastern. Souq Waqif – meaning Standing Market, is located just off the Doha Cornice. A beautiful spot when you can get a real taste for the local culture. It was therefore no surprise when family came to visit Baby E that they wanted to go to the Souq. Baby E was born as we were heading into summer so was this going to be possible?
It absolutely was! But there are certainly ways to do it that make it more enjoyable for all so here are my top tips for visiting Souq Waqif with a baby in the Summer!
Do as the locals do!
Embrace the night-time. The souq doesn’t really come alive until the evening anyway so do as the locals do and head down to the Souq after sundown. This will be a more authentic experience, have a better atmosphere and cooler for everyone!
Baby carrier or pram?
This was a big debate we had. The Baby Carrier would make manoeuvrability a lot easier – The main street of Souq Waqif is cobbled, off which are a series of small narrow alleyways lined with shops and traders which aren’t to be missed for a true Souq experience – but carrying a baby that close to you was likely to make us both hot and sweaty. Given the time of year and the heat we opted for the pram. Yes this was a bit more cumbersome but a decision I am glad we took. When we return in the Winter we would definitely use the carrier but for summer months the pram is a must!
This goes without saying for adults, but follow all the rules and customs about keeping shoulders and knees covered as to not cause offence but remember these rules don’t apply to little ones. Dress your little one in vests only to keep them cool but be sure to have blankets with you as many of the Souq restaurants have fierce air-conditioning.
Ask for Lifts
Some of the restaurants have upstairs with lovely terraces or seating areas. Be sure if you are travelling with a pram to ask if there is a lift. The restaurant we were in had one but it was tucked out of sight!
I personally don’t like taking Baby E to places that are smoky, even with shish smoke (which some people wrongly say isn’t as harmful!), so we tend to visit restaurants where they either don’t serve shisha or where smokers are separated from diners.
These are our top five tips for visiting the Souq Waqif at night with a baby! What advice would you give?
This post was done as part of the #CityTripping Linkup hosted by MummyTravels