Al Sufra is located within the Marsa Malaz Kempinski on The Pearl – a man-made island off the coast of Doha. Al Sufra translates to ‘the dining room’ and focuses on Levant-inspired flavours from Cyprus, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. The spacious restaurant offers a wonderful calm atmosphere, blended with traditional Arabian elements and friendly staff.
Al Sufra won the award for ‘Best Mena Restaurant’ (Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards 2016) as well as ‘Best Middle Eastern Restaurant in Doha’ (Qatar Food & Travel Arabia Awards 2016) and the food, atmosphere & friendly staff certainly did those awards justice when we visited! What further added to the lovely atmosphere was the live music played by Arabs Got Talent phenomena, Jennifer Grout.
We started the meal with one of my all time Middle Eastern favourites – hummus, which is a blend of chickpeas, tahini, lemon & olive oil. The Hummus Bel Lahmeh was hummus topped with pine nuts & lamb.
With the hummus came a generous basket with different breads.
Another starter I ordered was Freekeh Soup, a vegetarian green wheat soup. I have seen it before in some of my cookbooks and was curious about it as I have not tried it before. Freekeh is also gaining in popularity due to its great health benefits and I loved the earthy, nutty flavour of it!
We continued with traditional Arabic flavours by ordering Al Sufra’s signature dish Makloubeh which means upside-down in Arabic. The name refers to the way it is served – our waitress brought a hot red casserole to the table which she carefully turned upside down to reveal the delicious insides.
Different versions of this dish can be ordered from the menu – we had the Chicken Makloubeh, a wonderful combination of layered succulent chicken, fresh vegetables, rice, potatoes and various spices.
Once the makloubeh has been turned upside down it was topped with fresh herbs and pine nuts and served with some Arabic yoghurt. It was plenty for the two of us and is certainly one of the restaurants’ must have dishes.
For desserts, we delved into a selection of lovely Arabic pastries.
On our way out we walked past the pastry chefs Levantine sweets that have been carefully placed on a counter from which customers can choose a carved wooden box and fill them with their favourite sweets to take home with them or to bring back home as a little present. (Prices a la carte)