Set in the heart of the Souq Waqif, Doha Gymkhana has been making waves since its inception. Reminiscent of the Gymkhana clubs from the era of British Raj, they promise a culinary journey to India combining the duality of the past and the present. Being a history buff and a foodie, you can say I was more than excited when I received the invitation for their blogger’s evening featuring a cooking class and tasting of their new menu.
Walking in from the beautiful courtyard of the Souq Waqif into the restaurant, one is instantly transported into a different world. Charming furnishings, antique curiosities lining the shelves and historic photographs of Indian royalty and British aristocrats on the walls, it truly gives a vibe and feel of what would be the meeting place of the elite in 19th century India.
First up we were given a warm welcome by the manager and introduced to the chefs who would be teaching us a famous South Indian dish “Madras Fish Curry” and their classic “Masala Margarita”. As I was accompanied by my littlest one who decided it was the right time to wake up, I missed most of both the classes but got to taste both the delicious preparations and thankfully we were given a copy of the recipe too!
The Madras Fish curry was well balanced between tangy, sweet and spicy with tender fish pieces.
The Masala Margarita was just awesome! A mouthwatering combination of lychee, guava and citrus juices with notes of mint and cumin, served in sugar and chili rimmed glasses, it was an absolute hit!
After the cooking classes, we got a chance to sample the Gymkhana chaat made to our preference at their chaat station and order drinks from their beverage menu.
They have an excellent choice of mocktails. The ‘Frozen Pinna’ served in a whole pineapple looked spectacular. I didn’t taste it but it got an approving nod from those who did. Another hit was ‘Coconut Bonkers’ which I tried. It was deliciously sweet coconut water blended with fruit juices infused with sandalwood syrup. Served in a whole coconut shell placed over a wicker basket and a liberal amount of dry ice activated when serving, it was totally snapchat and instastories worthy. Taste wise it was amazing too, I just wish it was a tad less sweet.
Coming to their new menu. For appetizers We had “Tulsi Fish” which was tender pieces coated with a spicy-bitterish basil sauce and tasted great.
“Moong ki Khasta” are lentil patties with a yogurt filling. “Achari Chicken Tikka” was hit as well.
For the main course we tasted dishes from a variety of Indian cuisines. There was the Rajasthani “Laal Maas” to “Patiala Bhuna Gosht”, chicken and prawn curries and even vegetarian dishes such as “Mushroom mutter kaju” served with a variety of breads like zaatar naan (good), butter naan (the best) and olive missi roti (not a fan).
My top picks from the curries would be:
“Patiala Bhuna Gosht” – the lamb is very tender and laced with a fragrant gravy
“Murgh Khurchan” – a delicious chicken and bell peppers curry
“Daal Wadi” – A slightly and delightfully sour lentil daal with green lentil dumplings and potato cubes.
The dessert plate arrived with three beautifully presented tasting portions.
“Lemon Cheesecake” – didn’t quite care for it.
“Cassata Kulfi” – superb especially liked the vermicelli it was served with
“Baked mango yogurt” – This was so heavenly good, I could eat tubs of it morning, noon and night! Definitely must try!
I am not very easily impressed with the Indian food when eating out but at Gymkhana they totally nailed it. Every dish was above average and most were outstanding. Pair it with impeccable service, the ambience and vibe of the place it’s one of the top rated restaurants for all the right reasons. Prices are bit on the higher side but worth it. I would absolutely go back for a special occasion dinner, inshaAllah!