Monday, 6 April 2015

Let's not even mention the fact that it's now Monday, and this post is two days overdue, as the past week has been super busy even up until today and I genuinely haven't had a moment to sit down and write until now!

The week started out quietly, just work and some 24-watching in the evenings with Matt.

On Wednesday, the temperature had turned right up. Matt and I both had the day off so a pool day at the St Regis was on the agenda.

The St Regis seemed to think it was a good idea to install three giant Oryx statues around the hotels property...two at the entrance and one by the pool...I'm really not sold on them and think they are pretty terrifying, what do you think?!

We sunbathed and swam, and were handed some refreshingly cold, fragranced flannels by the pool attendants. I laid mine over my face and my delightful boyfriend decided to have a little fun!

Some might say a vast improvement ;)

After a few hours down at the pool, we decided to take a walk to Le Vesuvio at Katara for some lunch - they have a deal of 3 courses for 75QR which sounded pretty good to us. We had been to Le Vesuvio before and despite the incredibly slow service, we enjoyed our meal, however after the experience we had on Wednesday I doubt we will be hurrying back.

The restaurant was quiet, with only a handful of tables and plenty of staff, but once again the service was painfully slow. None of the staff acknowledged us when we arrived, so we hovered awkwardly at the entrance waiting for somebody to seat us. When they did, we were seated with barely a smile or a welcome of any kind. We sat outside in the shade which was lovely, as the restaurant overlooks the amphitheatre which is stunning.

I decided against the three course meal deal as I didn't really see anything that took my fancy. Standardly, I opted for the gnocchi, which was nice but slightly overdone so a bit on the soft side.

Matt ordered the shrimp salad to start, which he enjoyed, and the fruit platter for dessert which he also enjoyed, and which was very nicely presented. His main course, however, was an embarrassment, and I am pretty surprised that they feel happy to serve it to their customers. He opted for the fusilli pasta with turkey ham, and as soon as it was put in front of him I knew he wouldn't like it. The fusilli for a start didn't look (or apparently taste) like fresh pasta, which you would expect from an Italian restaurant. It was coated in a watery tomato sauce, with a few slices of processed turkey ham and a few pieces of broccoli. It looked like a student meal knocked up by somebody who can't cook, and tasted like it too (heck, it looked like something I - Worlds Worst Cook - would make!! Not what you would expect from a restaurant like Le Vesuvio.) Safe to say we won't be hurrying back, and I would highly recommend steering clear of the fusilli if you do eat there (but the gnocchi is good, provided they cook it properly!)

That night, we stayed in watching 24 and were very surprised to look out of the window and see that a sandstorm had descended upon Doha! It was so eerie, as you literally couldn't see anything out of the window. Normally we can see the Pearl, and Katara, and all of the lights of Doha but the view was 100% obscured by the sand, almost like the world had ended...creepy!

Marion's lovely flatmate Amelie had landed that night (luckily before the sandstorm blew in and caused havoc with flights!), and the next evening we all headed out to Strata for a girls night. My iPhone camera doesn't do it any justice at all, but the view from the 55th floor of the Intercontinental hotel is pretty amazing, and the perfect setting for a few cocktails, with the DJ playing some great music from his decks behind the bar.

The next night after work we headed up to Rooftop at the St Regis. The weather was perfect to be spending the night up on a roof top bar. Unfortunately Jemma couldn't make this night out as she was producing a late night show, but Marion, Amelie and I met up with Marion's colleague and his friends, and Matt joined us later on.

We reunited with Jemma the next night at La Spiga at the W hotel. It wouldn't be a Doha Diaries post without some food snaps, so without further ado...

Jemma and I opted for the Insalata di Spinaci Novelli (spinach with goats cheese, mushrooms, sun dried tomatos, and caramelised walnuts, to you and I!)

It was enormous, and probably not something I would order again unless I was sharing it. The caramelised walnuts really made this salad, and it's a shame there wasn't more of them as they were so delicious! Without them, it really was just a big bowl of spinach leaves with not enough of the extras (mushrooms, goats cheese, tomatoes, walnuts) to really balance it out. Marion and Amelie shared the Insalata Mista, with carrots, tomatoes and fennel.

Onto the main event...let's start with me as I am SO predictable. I'll give you three guesses...
The gnocchi with tomato sauce and mozzarella was cooked to perfection. Please forgive my blurry photo, I think I was so excited to eat it that I didn't take much care over photographing it!

Jemma opted for the mushroom risotto which I don't seem to have taken a photo of, whilst Marion went very light and healthy with the salmon tartar...

Last but not least, Amelie chose the calzone, which was pretty epic!

The restaurant manager Dennis was once again so accommodating, and yet again spoilt us with some complimentary desserts, one being the Tirimasu which wasn't too overbearing with the coffee flavour this time so I managed to enjoy some, and also the strawberry and Chantilly cream millefoglie which was really lovely.

Such a lovely, fun evening full of laughter and good food with these gorgeous ladies, and the perfect end to a really fun week!

As always, I hope you had a great week wherever in the world you are reading from :)

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