Saturday, 13 December 2014

Thursday night's dinner date was with the lovely Jemma.

We got our gladrags on and stopped for some festive snaps by the Christmas tree before heading out to meet our driver.

Jemma always looks fabulous! I have wardrobe envy almost every day living with her.

I had heard and read such good things about Papermoon, so when Jemma suggested it for our dining spot I was more than happy to finally be giving it a try.

It is no secret that La Spiga by Papermoon at the W hotel is my favourite restaurant in Doha - despite the fact that they took my beloved ravioli with truffle cream sauce off the menu! - so I was intrigued to see how it compared with the original Papermoon.

The outside reminded me a little of a members only London club, tucked away at the side of the Jaidah Square building. From the road, we couldn't see it as the signage was written in Arabic, but after a little wander we spotted it and headed inside.

The lift is printed with black and white movie artwork. We were whisked up just one floor, and the lift opened out on the reception area, before widening out further into a large restaurant space. I always think La Spiga seems quite small, but Papermoon would definitely be well equipped for larger parties.

The black and white movie artwork continues throughout the restaurant, lining all of the walls, just as it does at La Spiga.

Under the watchful eyes of the Hollywood stars, we perused the drinks menu, both opting for fruity mocktails. Papermoon is a dry restaurant, which we knew before we went. If you are looking for delicious Italian food accompanied by a vino or two, then La Spiga would be my recommendation over Papermoon. Jemma and I aren't big drinkers anyway, so were more than happy with our delicious, colourful fruit concoctions.

The restaurant had a lovely, relaxed vibe to it. Unobtrusive music played in the background, loud enough to hear but soft enough to talk comfortably amongst your dinner companions without having to raise your voice to be heard. Around the restaurant, a mix of couples, trios, groups and families dined. It wasn't packed by any means - we had a row of tables to ourselves - but it was early, and the majority of diners were eating outside on the beautiful terrace.

I am a big fan of open kitchens in restaurants - having worked in one at the latter end of my teenage years, I have seen what decorum goes on behind closed doors (I have been witness to a dinner plate being hurled at a waitress by a chef!) - so I was very pleased to see that the kitchens at Papermoon, whilst not open as such, were windowed, so you can have a little peek at what the chefs are creating backstage. Pizza, however, is cooked up out in the open, in the giant pizza oven situated behind our table.

Torn between the vast menu choices - pizza and pasta in abundance, as well as a large variety of meat and fish dishes - we made our decisions and dived in to the bread basket. Unfortunately, the bread offerings were nowhere near as impressive as the Anvil Rooms bread basket, which remains unbeaten.

Our waiter was great - incredibly friendly and so efficient. Plus, when he spotted our cameras, he offered to take our photo which I always think is a nice touch.

Somebody else decided they too wanted to be in our photo!

No sooner had we taken our first few bites of bread, our main meals had arrived. Probably the speediest service I have ever experienced in a restaurant. For me it was a good thing, as when I'm let loose on bread I don't stop until my main course arrives, and then I can never finish it!

I opted for the homemade potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce. I was delighted to see gnocchi on the menu with a cheese sauce, as everywhere else I've been, it has always come with a tomato based sauce. I'm a cheese fiend, and I think it just compliments gnocchi so much better. This gnocchi was made with spinach, which the menu doesn't specify, so I was a little surprised when my green dish arrived!

Regardless of the colour, it was absolutely delicious, and I know that it is a dish I will crave until I get to go back and have it all over again! Perfectly cooked gnocchi, in a subtle cheese sauce. Even with lashings of parmesan, this dish wasn't overly cheesy, just perfectly flavoured.

Jemma decided against pizza, and chose the homemade ravioli with ricotta and butternut squash, butter and sage, which was my second choice, and looked amazing.

Absolutely full to the brim with delicious pasta, we decided to settle the bill and head home.

That's a blatant lie. We definitely stayed for dessert.

Who turns down chocolate lava cake with vanilla icecream? Not us!

Overall this was a fantastic meal, from start to finish. The food was wonderful, the service was excellent, and the restaurant was a pleasure to dine in. The website describes Papermoon as delivering a 'fashionable, relaxed ambience', and I certainly felt this. It would be the ideal spot for a dinner with loved ones, friends, and colleagues alike.

We popped our heads outside to have a quick look at the lovely terrace area as we were leaving, and the tables out under the heaters sure did look cosy. One for a date spot next time, maybe?!

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