Location: Gulf Mall, Al Gharafa
Eating Occasion: Lunch (they serve dinner too)
Cuisine Type: Italian
Cheap and Cheerful Mid Range Expensive
Highchair Available: Yes
Changing Facilities: Public toilets, as you come out of the restaurant take a left and keep walking straight – they’re signposted.
Private Dining: No
Family Section: TBC
Smoking/Non Smoking: Non smoking
Timings: 12.30pm – 11.30pm (opens at 2.30pm on Fridays)
Contact Number: 4476 3545
When I first saw this restaurant, I almost took myself to Specsavers (british joke – sorry); I just couldn’t figure out what it was called:
We arrived about 10 minutes before the restaurant opened for the day and interestingly there was quite a few people queued up already. Always a good sign (so long as you don’t have to queue for ages)!
On opening, we were promptly given a highchair and menus. The restaurant website was on their super cool menu http://www.MELENZANE.com !! “Ohhhhh right I see it now” I thought to myself. Apparently it means eggplant.
The feel of the restaurant is very black and personally reminded me of an intimate concert setting, it really stands out from any of the neighbouring eats.
We were served some warm mini breadsticks with the most flavoursome tomato paste. I could have eaten an entire basket as my meal.
There’s a dedicated kids menu – we ordered Tara the Crunchy Chicken Strips with Homemade Fries. Their other options are: creamy penne, spaghetti bolognese or margherita pizza – all 33 QAR each.
At first glance, I was like OMG the salt!! It’s actually Parmesan. The chicken is coated in cornflakes and added quite a nice flavour, Amrit and I had to try them out – it would have been rude not to. I don’t think it’s an issue for older kids but for young children like Tara, the whole cornflake coating isn’t ideal. The fries I have to say were delicious and Tara thoroughly enjoyed them. She nibbled on a few pieces of chicken (minus the coating) too.
I ordered the Arrosto Pumpkin salad (50 QAR), detailed on the menu as frisèe (frizzy in appearance and slight bitter taste on the edge) lettuce, roasted pumpkin, beans, cashew nuts, laced with balsamic, Dijon mustard and honey dressing, topped with Parmesan cheese. I added shrimps for and extra 27 QAR. Overall quite a pricey salad if you ask me.
In concept, the ingredients of the salad work well together; in reality, the dish did not live up to my expectations. The overall appearance didn’t resemble the picture on the menu itself. The shrimps were overcooked (although their flavour was good). There wasn’t enough butternut squash and there was far too much dressing and Parmesan. The flavour of the dressing was so strong, that it overpowered the actual taste of the other ingredients. Would I order this again – definitely not, unless they improved it.
Amrit ordered the Steak Rosmarino (125 QAR): Grilled beef tenderloin, served with a creamy mushroom and rosemary flavoured sauce. He chose Oregano Potatoes (homemade fries covered in Melenzane oregano and Parmesan blend) as his side.
Overall the dish wasn’t bad, the steak was slightly overcooked, the sauce was well flavoured and the fries were great! I asked Amrit if he’d be happy to order the same dish again. His response; “Providing they didn’t overcook my steak – yes”.
Dessert – OMG !!!! We were given the Lotus Cheesecake: it’s Melenzane’s signature dessert, apparently they have people come specifically to the restaurant just for this delight. I can see why!!! It’s a delicious vanilla battermix on a biscuit base (slightly soft), topped with dulce de leche and crumbs. We polished off the whole thing between Amrit and I (Tara was allowed a tiny bite). I highly recommend!