Fact: I am becoming a tea connoisseur. My tea collection at home is growing and I have shared my fascination over afternoon teas here and here. While the tea culture in Qatar is relatively young and the trend of afternoon teas has just started, I am happy to see these baby steps coming to fruition. As the majority of Qatar still prefers coffee, and the general knowledge about tea is boxed in “hot water and tea bag”, finding a salon that specializes tea is as rare as finding a unicorn. Luckily, such unicorn was seen over Mall of Qatar as Singaporean brand TWG Tea opens its maiden Qatar branch: TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha.
Over the weekend, I was invited for lunch by TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha and to say the least, it was an afternoon well spent: dining, and learning.
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha
Tagged as the “finest luxury tea brand in the world”, TWG Tea has become a point of reference for tea lovers thirsty for knowledge. They have the largest tea collection in the world – numbers well over 800 different single-estate, fine harvests and exclusive tea blends is beyond impressive.
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha offers over 400 selection of its finest tea. While it may be half of their entire collection, it will never run short of offering a wide variety much more than any other cafe or restaurant in the country.
Popular TWG Tea Collections
Among the popular ones being sold in their Doha store are:
Including this Gold specked tea leaves from the Grand Harvest Collection:
Apart from the impressive tea collection, they also showed me how they meticulously prepare their teas. No! It’s not teabag and hot water! It spells that night and day difference. That afternoon, they showed me how their signature 1837 Black Tea is being prepared.
From weighing the tea leaves by the gram to pouring the hot water and carefully timing it, to meticulously checking the clarity and consistency of the tea after brewing, clearly, this is not your typical tea bag afternoon affair.
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha Accessories
Apart from the tea itself, TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha carries its luxurious collection with elegant tea tins, a myriad of hand-blown glass, porcelain, stoneware and cast iron teapots, fine bone china teacups, saucers, creamers and sugar bowls, as well as tea filters and tea scoops of all sorts.
And since we are talking about luxury, how about this:
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha Gastronomy
If there’s any other thing that blew me away aside from the tea selection, is the menu that TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha has. I thought the invitation was just an afternoon tea with a few sandwiches but lo and behold, they have a pretty impressive menu that goes with their equally impressive teas. What is even more impressive is that majority (if not all) of the menu items are tea-infused. Integrating a myriad of these signature teas into savory recipes, I was completely blown away.
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha Set Menu
Apart from the regular menu, they even have a Set Menu which changes every month. I decided to give it a try and see how these “tea-infused” dishes really taste like.
The subtle incorporation of the tea flavors into the sauce is greatly appreciated. It gives a kick to the tuna without over-powering it. It has a delicate sweetness yet there’s a sour hint from the slaw that gives it a well-balanced flavor.
Tuna was seared perfectly and the texture was on point. It was flaky from the outside but butter-soft from the inside.
The coleslaw was playful companion to the tuna and a perfect stand-alone palate cleanser before the main course.
Lobster soup was another hit. It packs a lot of flavor depth and if the color alone is any indication, this soup is an absolute treat. It might be a bit runny when served but it slowly thickens up to a perfect consistency as it cools down a bit. Served with crunchy croutons and tea-infused butter and bun, there is no way you’ll miss this one out.
The chicken was lightly seasoned and moist. The accompanying Asian cucumber slaw infused with earl grey is to die for. The subtle aroma of the earl grey and the refreshing cucumber combines a perfect combination of aromatic freshness. It’s a rather bold take on a fusion dish combing Asian elements infused with a popular western tea flavor.
The vibrant colors on my plate was a visual feast and I highly appreciate the overall presentation of the dish.
Another savory take on a rather bland pasta dish, it has the rich lobster flavor combined with the perfectly seasoned sauce. The cherry tomatoes provide a gentle sweetness to the sauce and prevent it from being over the top savory. The tea flavor is so subdued that you won’t notice the taste but instead, the specks sprinkled on top of the dish is a visual reminder.
The fish is roasted to perfection. It is flaky but not dry. The juice is kept intact. It oozes and glistens when you slice a piece off.
The dessert selection is taken from the patisserie trolley which during my visit, I opted to try the tea-infused pastries and traditional chocolate mousse and cheesecake. While both the mousse and cheesecake were both equally divine, I highly suggest giving the tea-infused pastries a try.
I was initially taken aback by how plain these pastries were: green matcha tea and citrus tea-infused madeleines but the taste is just immaculate. I particularly enjoyed the citrus taste, the slightly firm but not dense pastry which when topped with jelly and cream is match made in good heaven!
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha Patisseries
Part of TWG Tea’s innovative concept is the introduction of tea-infused patisseries which are crafted by hand to ensure the very finest quality to customers. I am plesantly surprised how good these pastries are, I became an instant convert.
If I’ll sum up my recommendation in two words, it will be “JUST GO.”
As Doha’s dining scene is slowly picking up and getting vibrant (despite the ongoing political seige), I am happy to see a welcome addition to the growing number of specialty shops around. Sure, this remains an unpopular (or even unheard) choice for a place to dine and spend your afternoon, but there is nothing left not to love about TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha. The quality is exquisite, the portions are adequate and the prices are very reasonable.
I have high hopes that people will discover this place sooner as it is a pity that a place like this doesn’t get the traffic it deserves. Whether you are a tea lover or a coffee-addict, you still have plenty of reasons to visit and try what this quaint restaurant has to offer.
The location might set you back especially with the on-going constructions happening around the city but, like myself, I hope this could be one solid reason why you will take that extra effort to go to Mall of Qatar. I am all set for another visit next weekend to try their breakast menu and other items. Did I tell you that they have Wagyu Beef too?
Have you been to TWG Tea Salon Doha? How was your experience?
Address: Opposite Valentino, Ground Floor, Mall of Qatar, Dukhan Highway, Al Gharafa, Doha
Open from 10AM-11AM
Set Menu Price: QAR70 (inclusive of hot or iced tea)
Wheel Chair Accessible: Yes
I was a guest at TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Doha in this occasion. However, all photos and opinions are mine.