When I arrived here first in Doha four years back, inspite of the region being very familiar having lived here for more than 17 years, the country and the married life however were definitely very new to me.
We still had the habituary residence-visa struggle that came with the blood test, fingerprinting, then the driving license classes and tests to go through.
Since the husband also was new to the country and with friends who had done their visa procedures years back, I remember turning to Qatar Living at every stage then. I foraged the forums for latest information be it for immigration office timings or to find out how long do the blood test results take or about other residents such as myself who had to undergo fingerprinting three times over and over again! It surely proved to be a treasure house of information back then, later and now. I have used it while scouting around for deals on second hand cars and also not very long ago, for information while applying for a Schengen visa.
The information available was handy without a doubt for new expats not just within the country but for even those who were planning their move to Qatar.
I was only delighted when Rochelle Zonnenberg, Sales and Marketing Manager, Qatar Living showcased about the upcoming food blogger event on the occasion of their 10th anniversary and seized the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers.
In a country where the blogging community is still in my opinion in a nascent stage, events such as these become extremely significant in bringing together and connecting the fellow bloggers.
Qatar Living was celebrating their 10 years and also in addition, was bringing forth a brand new look for their website. Qatar Living has 26 million monthly page views and can be truly considered to be a one-stop information portal about anything in Qatar.
The event was held at The French Olive, a fine dining restaurant located in Al Sadd. The French Olive offers two of the best European cuisines i.e. French and Italian. And oh boy, weren’t we in for a treat! It was only fair to say that both the hosts, Qatar Living and The French Olive made us feel like royalty with the exemplary food, service and special treats.
You can have a look at the menu below customized for the event which was specifically highlighted by the restaurant manager, Cristina that all the dishes were also available on the regular menu. She also explained that they took great pride in sourcing seasonal and the freshest ingredients. If certain ingredients were not fresh, they prefer not serving them at all than serve a frozen or a stale version.
The menu was so extensive that by the end of the evening it appeared that the seams of our waistline could almost not bear the pressure from the lavish spread of food.
To start off the bread basket was phenomenal both on the taste front and the wide variety being offered. We were told breads were baked fresh every morning which is why they have introduced a happy hour starting everyday from 7pm with a buy 1, get one free offer.
Prawns and Couscous
The prawns were cooked to perfection and the combination of the peppery prawns with the couscous was a first for me, but went along really well. This is definitely a healthier yet filling option on the menu.
Although not a fan of fish, tuna tartare seemed quite interesting with absolutely no indication of the raw meat and flavoured so perfectly. The dish was presented nicely with the garnish of a boiled quail egg.
Barley and Mozzarella Salad
Again an interesting combination, would I try this had I come by myself? Probably not, but loved the freshness of the mozzarella and the chewiness of the barley. Again a delightful way to introduce “healthy” ingredients such as the barley into one’s diet and a restaurant menu at that.
My favourite: Prawns and Couscous
Had only heard about this fried Italian starter and wasn’t this the best way to get acquainted! We had two options with one being a mushroom option and the other one -four cheese. I especially loved the crispy hot exterior with the gooey mushroom flavor on the inside. Definitely a must-try on the menu!
Duck Fois Gras
Did not try this as do not eat duck nor fois gras.
Risotto Al Funghi
The dish was too rich and buttery to my liking, but having said must say that the mushroom flavor was intense and quite lovely. Probably this dish could be had by itself and not on such an extensive menu.
Most definitely enjoyed the tagliatelle pasta with the fresh mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes. The symbolic Italian combination that was simple yet so fresh.
Unfortunately did not try as you could see we almost practically full by this course and yet had the Second course and the Dessert to come.
Since I do not eat either beef or salmon, they most sweetly changed my dish to a grilled chicken breast with braised vegetables and mashed potatoes. Chicken was cooked perfectly without being dry but this cannot be considered a specialty and could be easily available on any of the town’s restaurants offering continental cuisine. But considering their limited time for preparation and short notice, they did quite a good job.
This was undoubtedly the most phenomenal course of the evening with all of the three desserts vying neck to neck for the award of being the tastiest. The dark chocolate cage especially created for this evening around the crème brulee was exceptionally delicious so was the tiramisu and the creamy panacotta with the berries.
One cannot ridicule a person who would visit the restaurant just for the wide selection of desserts and pastries. That would be me ! J
The French Olive ambience is lovely with beautiful lighting, open spaces and private dining options. On weekends, breakfast is served upto 4pm, perfect for those late risers.
Having said this, I have to admit that I had given a so-so review to the French Olive earlier couple of months back. But this evening and a delicious breakfast, which I had, post this evening by myself has most definitely changed things for me. The only dish that remains to taste and review again would be the Pizza, which I hope to do very soon in the coming days.
|Eggs Benedict Breakfast|
Last but not the least, each of the participants received a personalized gift in the form of a cupcake with frosting having the name of the respective blog. This completely blew me away and was the perfect icing on the cake. (Pun intended!)
Thank you Qatar Living and The French Olive for an unforgettable evening!
I was a guest of The French Olive for the dinner and not for the breakfast, but the views expressed here are completely mine and absolutely honest.
The French Olive
Barwa al sadd,