Farewell dinners are always hard. They’re even harder when you’re not really in the mood to go out in the first place, but you need to say goodbye.
Tired, hungry, and desperate to end the week on a good note, my friend D and I decided to meet
the one abandoning us our friend in a restaurant near where D lives. D had previously dined there with a few other friends and he easily convinced me with the words ‘great food, good prices.’
Fairly new, Open is located in the new DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel along the Corniche area, right opposite Frasier Suites.
The hostess greeted me immediately as I entered the restaurant. I like the place already.
Not many people, but the ambiance was great. Chalkboards with witty lines, comfortable boots, modern furniture. It felt very urban. Best of all? As a fairly new restaurant, it wasn’t that busy! Note to all, it’s also open 24 hours.
A menu for drinks and a menu for food, both too big and heavy to hold at the same time. The menu features a wide array of dishes, all to fulfill their ‘open’ philosophy. Want a Lebanese starter, an Asian side, a Western main, and an Italian dessert? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
D allowed me to act on my weird cravings and so I got an order of Soujouk and Dumplings. Our waiter informed us that it was happy hour and we happily ordered some much needed drinks. Beer for him, a strawberry lemon mojito for me! We decided to finish off the food first before deciding on what to order next.
A bread sack was served immediately. I say sack because the bread was literally served inside a sack. How cute is this?
We munched immediately, and I was happy that instead of the usual Balsamic and Olive Oil dips (which they had also, don’t get me wrong.), they also had their own special dips. One was something with olive oil and sesame seeds, the other was a mixture of cheese and pesto. Uhm, hello, you can never go wrong with cheese and pesto. The best part? When the waiter noticed we were running low, he brought us even more dip. A+++ service right there.
They served both dishes at the same time, perfect for the kind of light dinner we wanted.
The soujouk, a Lebanese sausage that’s cooked in pomegranate molasses, garlic and coriander, tasted great. I’ve had soujouk only twice before, to be honest; Once in Lebanon, eating it with the locals in the middle of the Byblos Souk, and the other time just recently here in Qatar. But I still felt experienced enough to judge the taste.
This soujouk had the right amount of heat in the meat, and the right amount of tart in the sauce because of the molasses. The addition of the french fries was also a nice surprise. My only complaint? It wasn’t served hot.
Moving on to the dumplings, you get to choose from seafood, chicken and vegetables. We went for a mix in order to try them all. They came with two sauces, one a soy sauce with chili flakes to add some heat, the other a sweet and spicy sauce. I admit, as I bit into a chicken dumpling, I felt a bit nostalgic for the days when I could buy cheap dumplings or ‘siew mai’ just about anywhere. (2.5 QR for four dumplings? What a steal!) The spicy soy sauce just added to the nostalgia, the familiar flavours dancing happily on my tongue. It would have been better if they had offered regular soy sauce as well, as both sauces were spicy and there was nothing available for those of us who couldn’t handle the heat. Okay, just D. My only complaint? Again, it wasn’t served hot.
T came long after we finished our meal, but since he had already eaten dinner we stayed just for drinks and good conversations.
The drinks, our fatigue, and the fact that we loaded up on bread right before our meal, all made us way too full to order any more food. I was really tempted by the dessert menu, but I was just too weak.
The restaurant is still in the soft opening stage, having just opened its doors last November 1. According to the staff, the grand opening is expected to happen sometime in February.
All in all with what was spent, Open is quite affordable if you compare it to other restaurants in the hotels nearby. The ambiance, flavours, and great service just adds to the whole experience in a positive way. Will I be back? For sure.
Of course in the end we found out that we still have a couple of days left with him and that meant yet another ‘farewell meal’.
This is not a sponsored post.