I am a dessert fiend. Proudly and passionately. For me, sweets don’t just finish a meal – they make it. And since the best things in life seem to come in twos and threes, I’m a proponent of multiple helpings of the good stuff. Here’s my list of some of Doha’s most delectable… and all found outside hotel walls.
The Anvil Rooms
(Tornado Towers – 4499 0685 daily noon-3p; dinner 5:30p-10p, Fri/Sat 7p-11p)
This is the real deal. Every mouthful tastes deep and decadent – the perfect balance of nut and caramel. The praline sauce and cinnamon ice cream further amp up the flavours that transport you right to the American south.
Quisine by Guy Savoy
(The Pearl – 4002 7245 Mon-Sat 7p-11p; Sun closed)
A lustrous silver orb is placed before you. A warm mango coulis is poured over it, melting the white chocolate shell to expose a fruit sorbet of banana and passion fruit. The dinner theatre makes you oooh, then the exotic flavours make you aaah. So elegant in its simplicity yet brilliantly executed, ‘The Pearl’ is a sheer revelation.
Apple Tarte Tatin
(Katara – 4408 1500 noon-10.30p; Thur/Fri noon-11:30p; Sun closed)
Listed as the ‘torta di mele’ or oven baked apple pie, this modern interpretation of a French tarte tatin is quite simply the bee’s knees. Tender apples are piled high over pastry, bound together by a caramel then drizzled with honey. I say, “Yes, please.”
Al Aker Sweets
(Mid Mac Roundabout – 4411 3111 9a-11p, Fri 1p-11p)
Two options: a crispy crust of vermicelli threads or a soft semolina dough… both over melted Nabulsi cheese and sprinkled with pistachio. Don’t be deterred by the queues for this syrup-soaked pastry – they move quickly and ensure your kunafah is piping hot and primed for devouring.
(Katara – 4408 0733 8a-10p; Thurs-Sat 8a-midnight)
Talk about black gold. Each of the handmade gems in this homegrown chocolatier whispers indulgence. Varieties such as lemon mint, karak and dates make perfect gifts for abroad, but for a personal afternoon treat, I turn to the lavender. The intense flavour from just one piece lingers beautifully with a cuppa.
Lemon Meringue Tart
Jones the Grocer
(The Gate Mall – 4407 7175 8-10:30p; Thurs/Fri 8a-4a)
Crave something tangy? The lemon curd in this tart is bright and zippy, crowned with an ultra smooth, glossy meringue teased into elegant peaks. Best part, it even comes in a bite-sized version that’s ideal for an on-the-go treat.
(Villagio Mall – 4447 4001 9a-10p, Thurs /Fri 9a-11p)
There’s a reason this luxury French confectioner sits on an empire of meringue shells. Its nano-sized double-decker macaron is exquisitely airy and the myriad fillings consistently luxurious. Signature flavours such as rose, vanilla and lemon are stunning, as is the limited edition melon.
Arabic Ice Cream
(Al Sadd – 4442 8182 9a-12:30p; 4p-10p)
Disregard the neon shades of the ice creams and get a multi-flavoured cup or cone. Instead of an actual scoop, you get thin layers piled on each other then rolled in crushed pistachio (optional… but, really, mandatory). Old-school Doha at its finest.
(Dar Al Salem Mall – 4450 9407 8a-11pm, Fri closed 11:30a-noon)
Celebrity cupcakes aside, it’s the banana pudding from this New York insittution that sets my heart aflame. Wafers soaked in vanilla pudding and whipped cream to a cake-like consistency with fresh bananas swirled in. Talk about one little tub of a whole lotta love.
Luncheon Dessert Trolley
(Tornado Towers – 4499 0680 noon-3p; Fri noon-4p)
Indecision finally pays off. When you’re deliberating between ice cream or tart, cookie or pudding, splash out with three of everything! The daily-changing trolley is temptation on wheels. Look out for the ethereal raspberry white chocolate macaron, dulce de leche mousse and pistachio almond financier.
** A version of this article appeared in Time Out Doha – December **