A couple of weeks ago I received an invite through Zomato to be a guest at the grand launch of the Manhattan Fish Market! I had been there once before at the recommendation of a friend, however I’d only gone for takeaway and I can’t really judge a restaurant based solely on that. This was a good opportunity to experience the food properly!
My visit started off weird. When we arrived, there was a lot of confusion as to who were the staff, who were guests and who were ordinary customers. Most of the staff weren’t wearing uniforms and I think they had hired hostesses for the evening, so we stood staring blankly a bit before someone finally approached us.
The restaurant had apparently been separated into two parts for the night, with Zomato/grand launch guests allocated to one half and regular customers to the other. We took our seat in a booth, and since we were only two at the table, we were asked if other Zomato guests could join us. Sure! The more the merrier.
The interior was great, very fun and lively. I love restaurants that like to play around. Also, SO MANY FISHTASTIC PUNS. This pleased me. Idiot that I am, forgot to take more pictures! Best part though was that there were lots of cute fishies swimming in fishbowls!!
For the event, all the guests got to try the best parts of the (rather extensive) menu through a set menu. Seemed like a lot, especially since I was already familiar with the size of the platters and knew what to expect for the main. Luckily, most of the items were for sharing so that’s good. We were excited to begin, and lucky for us, the service was quick and so we were served immediately!
We were served the soup first. Now, I really don’t like beetroot. The taste is weird, the texture is weird, it’s really not my thing. This soup didn’t taste like beetroot at all though! It was delicious and creamy, and actually tasted a bit like mushroom soup. Not at all what I expected. Very nice start to the meal.
The drink for the evening was the ‘citrus mint’ which was really just lemon mint. I wish they had let us choose our own drinks though. The drinks menu had a lot of cool choices I’d love to have tried, and it would have been a good opportunity to show off their more original flavours rather than the usual lemon mint. Don’t get me wrong though, it was a REALLY good glass of lemon mint.
First starters served! Between the two of us, we shared a bowl of fried country mushrooms, basically just mushrooms deep fried in batter. Sauce was too sweet, and I tasted more of the batter than the mushrooms. It wast just OK but not something I’d order again.
We were then served another starter, which was weird because it wasn’t on the set menu for the evening. Not complaining, this was way better than the mushrooms! Mussels in garlic sauce, it was so good we were dipping our breads in the sauce (which they expected as you can tell….)
It was at this point that we were joined by two other Zomato guests. Zomans…? Are a real friendly bunch! They faced a few problems with service though, getting only one of their starters, then getting their main course before the soup. They kept calm through it. I was the one irritated on their behalf, though the staff were quick to apologise and of course it was understood since it was quite a busy night for them.
Time for the big event of the evening… The main course! Throughout the evening we had been seeing the staff torch delicious smelling seafood platters for others. Finally, our time had come! It was a fun experience watching them, though it seemed like such a fire hazard. We were half afraid for one of the little boys at a table next to ours because his curls seemed very flammable! Don’t worry about accidentally getting burned though since they are….
We got our Manhattan Seafood Flaming Platter and instantly dug in, getting a bit of everything. Our two table mates wanted to finish their starter first so we went on ahead. Funny thing was, just minutes after getting their soup, they got their own seafood platter! It was different from the one we received though, so we were able to try a little bit of everything. I just don’t get how the staff thought that one platter was only good enough for two. They’re huge! Two platters, four people, and after just having loads of starters? Nope, we weren’t able to finish everything!
The prawns were delicious. Not sure what the sauce on them was, but they had torched it well enough that it was nice and gooey when we started eating. The deep fried mussels were also good, though not better than the ones in the garlic sauce. Both fishes, the baked Mediterranean fish and the deep fried fish, were good. I preferred the baked fish though, since the deep fried one, though delicious, was something you could get anywhere when you order fish and chips. The flavours on the baked fish were delicious and it was cooked perfectly. Not a fan of squid or calamari so didn’t try those, but did not hear any negative remarks, only positive ones!! I’d definitely go back for the platter again, but only in the company of at least three other people. The garlic mussels are also something I’d order for sure. The fact that everything was served on a bed of rice made the Asian in me really happy!
It was a bit difficult eating everything though because they gave us such tiny plates to eat with. Huge platters, tiny plates. Not well thought out!! We had to ask for the plates to be changed several times.
Now, aside from the awkward start, the night would have been perfect if not for one thing…. The service. It’s not that they were slow, it’s the exact opposite! They were super quick (for us anyway, can’t say the same for the people that joined us…), but to the point that it was getting really annoying. It was almost as if they were serving as fast as they could in order to get us out faster. In fact, we were asking for another clean plate to finish off our mains, and they brought us dessert right away instead. At one point we were almost approached by another hostess, but she was stopped by her colleague who quickly whispered “They’re not done yet, leave them alone.” A little too enthusiastic or eager to have more free seats?? Not sure, but it was distracting.
But I will stop complaining now, because the food was more than enough to make up for it and I know I won’t experience it on a normal day!
The dessert was OK, tasted good but nothing special. Wouldn’t go to the restaurant just for this, and the chocolate sauce on top tasted like the kind you find in a Hershey’s bottle. Also, it was really heavy after the meal we had just had. We each got our own cake instead of sharing! The picture makes it seem small, but believe me it was massive.
Anyway, my verdict: Manhattan Fish Market is definitely a restaurant everyone needs to try. Value for money, huge portions, delicious food. What’s not to love?
I’ve leave you all with this corny joke…
The Manhattan Fish Market is located at Ghanem Business Center, Mezzanine Floor, Showroom No-6, Bin Mahmoud Area, Doha, Qatar. It’s in the round building right opposite Radisson Blu.
I was an invited guest at this event, thanks to Zomato. HOWEVER all opinions, rants, and thoughts are my own.