As we walked up to the entrance of La Mar and Manko, we were instantly drawn to its amazing decor even from outside. Both are in a separate building, like an annexe to the hotel, which really makes them stand out. As we entered, we were warmly greeted and asked if we could first have a drink at the bar, which was no problem at all. It was a lovely dimly lit bar with an extended pisco menu amongst other classic cocktails. The pisco sour was absolutely amazing and the bar staff were very friendly. We were then escorted to our table inside and loved the large open kitchen and restaurant area. However, since the weather is now perfect to sit al fresco, we asked if we could move outside and enjoy the stunning beachside vibe. We were not at all disappointed with the ambience, really soft Latin music playing with perfectly dim lighting and something magical about it. It didn’t feel like we were in Doha at all (aside from the gorgeous view of West Bay from where we were sitting, of course!) we truly felt like we were on holiday away from all of life’s worries.
The service was fantastic and waiting staff really made the effort to explain every dish in detail as well as inform us in depth about food options when it came to my food intolerances. We may have got a little carried away but ordered almost one of each type of dish except the mains, since they were sharing style small plates. Every dish we tried was amazing, particularly the Cebiches and Causas (Peru’s delicious take on a mashed potato with many, many twists of flavour – we recommend the Olivada and the Casera ones).
Once we had finished eating, the staff were more than happy for us to pay Manko a visit, as it was the soft opening. We were really excited since this was the first Manko outside of Paris, and the first in the Middle East. We went up the stairs and loved what we saw; inside was very large and comprised two bars, facing a large wine cellar view as well as a team of bartenders making more delicious pisco sours. Once again, we requested to sit outside on the terrace and it truly was such a spectacular view facing the sea and amazing Doha skyline. The team at Manko really made an effort to come and speak with us at length, including the head Chef Ruben who had flown in all the way from Manko Paris to train and set up La Mar and Manko Doha. Since we had tried pisco sours downstairs, we asked them to surprise us with their own speciality cocktails and that’s exactly what they did (so make sure you try the Pisco sour Manko and Rosa Mama). They showed us around and there was another large bar area on the terrace which wasn’t yet opened but would be opening along with the official Manko opening the following week, which we visited a week later.
So, the second time we visited Manko, we first paid a cheeky visit to La Mar first to have another Cebiche and Causa, but made sure we kept enough room in our stomachs to try the food at Manko. We chose to sit by the dedicated terrace bar upstairs at Manko, and ordered more pisco sours. With regards to the food, we were not at all disappointed. Considering you’d expect simple bar snacks, we realised we could have easily done with eating nothing beforehand, as the menu was vast and even included mains as options. We tried the tuna tartar maki, shrimp cebiche with plantain, quinoa mini burger, and chicken bao buns. These all tantalised our tastebuds with the most amazing flavours, and it was nice to be able to order a few dishes to share. Dishes were Nikkei (fusion Peruvian and Japanese), one of our favourite types of cuisine, so we were truly in heaven.
The bar at Manko, including the terrace, stretches the entire length of the building and truly has the most fantastic views. On various days of the week, they have DJs all the way from Paris which really gives it that party theme, and other days you can visit for a more chilled midweek drink with lounge music. Shisha is also available outside on the terrace. Drinks vary in price around the 50-70 QAR mark. There is a great Mediterranean vibe to Manko, and truly believe this is the new place to be.