maître d’ - IDAM, Doha
Written by Oryx
Located on the top floor of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Alain Ducasse's first venture in the Middle East offers refined contemporary French Mediterranean cuisine with a twist of eclectic Arabian flavours.
Nestled under the dome of the museum, IDAM – which means 'generosity' – recreates the timeless classics of local and regional cuisine.
As one of the worlds most decorated chefs, Alain Ducasse has earned a reputation for phenomenal cuisine, and for his first restaurant in the Middle East he has created an innovative dining concept reflecting international influences.
Together with executive chef Romain Meder, Ducasse presents a sophisticated seasonal menu of original creations, with most of the fresh organic ingredients sourced in Qatar.
Dishes include delicate chestnut soup; crayfish and halloumi royale; tender octopus with potatoes lightly flavoured with saffron; chamba of local fish and soft/crunchy Egyptian rice; seared line-caught red snapper and Omani shellfish; tender camel with duck foie gras truffle and souffléd potatoes; and Awais lamb with beetroot, curly kale, and pumpkin.
Desserts also form an essential part of the menu, from the chocolate and honey shortbread with saffron and pine nuts to the milk pastilla and green tea/mint granita.
The décor, designed by Philippe Starck, is fitting for the restaurants position inside one of Qatar's most iconic landmarks, with a spectacular, elegant interior that balances modernity and classicism, creating a dynamic environment with Arabian touches.
IDAM's main dining area features floor-to-ceiling bookcases, reflecting Starck's passion for the elegant and poetic intelligence of Arab literature. Not just part of the design; guests are encouraged to read and learn about arts and culture.
Philippe Starck's unique design concept for IDAM emphasises the importance of life, creating a venue that takes guests on a journey of discovery. His vision is to "bring life through the ceremony of eating with family and friends and succeed in a sophisticated and mixed cocktail of culture and life". Upon entering, guests are met with lush black carpet laced with white Arabic calligraphy that recalls the folk tales of the Islamic Golden Age, One Thousand and One Nights. Contemporary monochrome furnishings adorn the 60-seat dining area, highlighting the story that Starck is trying to tell, "Only the black and white was strong enough to support the richness of the real colour of life," he says. The combination serves to highlight the "beautiful colours of the people" and the natural tones of the materials.