The beautiful film ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ chronicles Michelin-starred chef Jiro Ono and his lifelong devotion to crafting the perfect sushi. Watching it inspires my hunt for wondrous new creations. No longer just a piece of raw fish perched on vinegar-infused rice, the sushi realm has expanded exponentially with funky ingredients and fusion flavours. In Doha, we see the widest range in what I think of as nouveau makizushi, the new-age rolls. My favourites include:
Yee Hwa – Al Sadd
Green World Roll – QR45
This Korean Japanese restaurant impresses with its extensive menu of nearly 50 varieties of maki. I love the one with tuna, capelin roe masago and seaweed – it’s so green it had to be called Green World.
Savanna Roll – QR45
Vegetarians, look no further. Meticulously arranged, paper-thin mango slices are paired with cream cheese and wakame. The flavour is delicate and the sweetness just right, making this a winner.
L’Wzaar Seafood Market – Katara
Spicy Shrimp Tempura Maki – QR26
One of the most competitively priced sushi around! The roll of battered shrimp is served atop a splash of spicy mayonnaise flavoured with chili and coriander. Avant garde for sure, but veritably delicious.
Asia Live! – Marriott Doha Hotel
Asia Live! Dragon Roll – QR49
Dragon in name and size. A hulking portion of prawn tempura is wrapped in rice, topped with eel and tuna then blowtorched for a mild, burnt flavor. For aficionados, don’t waste the crispy prawn head!
Oishi Sushi – Royal Plaza
Shake Skin Maki – QR42
No need for fancy sauces here. The crispy salmon skin — oily and bristling with flavour — makes this roll a perennial pick. For an even more traditional setting, ask to sit in the washitsu rooms.
Blue – Grand Heritage Hotel and Spa
Crunchy Crab Meat Roll QR40/QR75
Brace yourself, there’s a lot going on. Kanikama crabsticks appear two ways, fried in batter inside and as a salad on top. Along with avocado, cereal and sweet eel sauce, this roll is reminiscent of fireworks.
Junko – The Pearl
Soft Shell Crab Roll – QR80
The trick is to devour this roll while steaming hot. The soft shell crab is still crunchy, a sensation reinforced by the fresh lettuce and toasted sesame seeds. Wash it down with green tea, and it’s a wrap.
Spice Market – W Hotel
Spice Market Roll – QR 70
Often cited as Doha’s best sushi house, and for good reason. The signature freshness of fish and perfect ratio of rice-to-protein are evident in the eponymous roll of salmon with garlic, lemongrass and dill. Oishi!
** A version of this article appeared in Time Out Doha – January 2014