Love at the movies; food at the movies. How often they converge, a reflection of their inseparability and compatibility. Food is a captivating storytelling device on film. And these tales of romance through the decades show how the delicious can parlay into portraits of affection, ardor and desire. If anything else, they also provide glorious inspiration for a date night — in or out.
It Happened One Night (1934)
MRA Bakery – QR3
Cary Grant and Claudette Colbert sizzle in the screwball romantic comedy ‘It Happened One Night’ (only one of three films to ever win the Oscar Big Five). Sparks fly as they banter over doughnuts and coffee, and we learn about the art of dunking forever – ‘Don’t let it soak so long. Just dip and plop in your mouth.’ A vital lesson to remember on your next trip to MRA.
Open daily 6am-2am, TV Roundabout/New World Centre (4442 2074/4442 2072)
La Varenne – QR40
‘A woman happily in love, she burns her soufflé. A woman unhappily in love, she forgets to turn on the oven.’ From the black-and-white Hollywood romance ‘Sabrina’ comes the tenets of this French classic after a broken-hearted Audrey Hepburn runs away to Paris to become a chef. At La Varenne, the lemon soufflé is always perfectly risen and wispy as if it’s made on Cloud Nine.
Open Sun-Thu 11.30am-3pm, 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-4pm, 7pm-10pm, Tornado Tower, West Bay (4499 0680)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
La Patisserie – QR12
Audrey Hepburn. Gazing at diamonds. With a Danish pastry in hand. Immortalised on screen in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, this image of longing is a cultural icon of our time that’s inspired countless reproductions. Should you find yourself in need of some pastry and retail therapy, the flaky Danishes at La Patisserie are the perfect accessory for pearl shopping at Souq Waqif.
Open daily 10am-9pm, Al Bidda Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel, Souq Waqif (4433 6666).
Annie Hall (1977)
Il Teatro – QR100
Trust Woody Allen to make lobsters poetic. In his seminal piece ‘Annie Hall’, he cooks the live decapods with Diane Keaton to frenetic hilarity. And it’s when he’s unable to recreate the moment with someone else that he reaches an epiphany about love. Arrive at your own philosophical epiphanies with the lobster rigatoni at Il Teatro, a dish so delicious you could call it poetic.
Open Sat-Thu noon-3pm, daily 7pm-11pm, Four Seasons Hotel Doha, West Bay (4494 8888)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The Anvil Rooms – QR55
Food abounds in ‘When Harry Met Sally’. The ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ scene in a deli is perhaps the most fabled. But, for me, romance blossoms sweetest when Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan share a moment of frivolity ordering an imaginary slice of pecan pie. Relive the moment at The Anvil Rooms, where the caramel and praline will make you proud to partake of the pie.
Open daily noon-3pm, 5.30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 7pm-11pm, Tornado Tower, West Bay (4499 0685)
Pretty Woman (1990)
Maxim – QR55
Everybody loves a Cinderella tale. In ‘Pretty Woman’, working girl Julia Roberts meets magnate Richard Gere. But the chasm dividing their social classes is evinced when mishandled escargot goes flying across the restaurant — those ‘slippery little suckers!’ The faux pas is easily avoided at Maxim where the snails arrive sans shells, swimming in an unapologetically buttery sauce.
Open daily 6pm-midnight, Radisson Blu Hotel Doha, Salwa Road, Intersection of the C-Ring Road, Rawdat Al Khail (4428 1555)
Notting Hill (1999)
Jones the Grocer – QR9/QR18/QR140
Introducing a new love to friends is often nerve wrecking. Julia Roberts charms her way into Hugh Grant’s circle in ‘Notting Hill’ over a fight for the last piece of brownie at dinner. There’s much reason to fight for the fudgy and nutty brownie from Jones the Grocer, beautifully topped with lashings of chocolate shavings. And to suit every fancy, the treat comes in three convenient sizes.
Open daily 8am-11pm, The Gate Mall, West Bay (4407 7175)
Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar – QR30 for six pieces
As a food of love, chocolate needs little introduction. Indulgent and intoxicating, the emotions it evokes are wonderfully captured in ‘Chocolat’ when an enigmatic Juliet Binoche arrives in a sleepy village and ignites passions with her chocolaterie. No longer just about milk, white or dark, chocolate comes in myriad variations to excite the taste buds. Just take a look at the sampler box from Alison Nelson’s.
Open daily 8am-10pm, 1 La Croisette, The Pearl (5041 0515)
** A version of this articles appears in Time Out Doha, with photo layout credit to the magazine **