Barely a week after I arrived in Qatar comes the change of year from 2014 to 2015. It’s a time to be merry and a time to splurge. Or at least that’s what my friends and I believed in.
We booked at InterContinental Hotel Doha for New Year’s eve and decided to have dinner in one of its in-house restaurants. Our first choice was the Coral Restaurant for its dinner buffet but it was already fully-booked then. We were offered other restaurants but we chose to dine in Mykonos. The treat? A four-course set menu and a taste of Greek celebratory traditions.
In New Year’s eve, we arrived at the restaurant just in time for our reservation. The restaurant was already in a festive mood, full of diners and with the bouzouki band’s music already filling the air. Mykonos is as Greek as it could get with its blue and white color combination that you could almost imagine you are in Santorini.
We were seated outdoors which was fine in winter. We have a good view of the Bouzouki band which was almost just across our table. Tables were filled with treats and accessories that we could use to welcome the New Year. Each one of us gets a token which I will later reveal 🙂
In a little while, dinner was served and started with bread.
Our dinner set consists of
- pumpkin veloute’ with foam of black truffle and parmesan which I really, really enjoyed I would have asked for a second serving if I could
- Foie gras terrine with pear poached in sweet wine, nuts and brioche. Duck liver. A big slab of duck liver. I know this is what sushals die for, but I just don’t have that sushal’s taste buds. After a while, I gave up and just settled for the poached pear instead
- Scallops roasted with avocado and apple tartar, lime foam and paprika. Another one that I enjoyed a lot
- Veal fillet “deconstruction” Wellington with mushroom pure potatoes and gravy. It would have been nice, but again, it was served with duck liver that I don’t understand just how many duck livers should we have that night.
- Dessert! Dark chocolate sphere with vanilla ice cream. I liked the presentation and was amazed watching the choco sphere melt when poured with hot chocolate. Sweet tooths like me surely enjoyed this little treat.
The bouzouki band lent a very festive atmosphere to the restaurant as every now and then, diners would stand and do a line dance. It was contagious but we were too shy to circle around the tables we just watched.
Just before midnight Mykonos’ crew brought a big Vasilopita cake for all diners to partake. This cake, in keeping with the Greek tradition, also contains a secret gift for the lucky one who gets that slice where it was hidden. I wonder who could he be and what did he get.
The highlight of our night was the plate smashing tradition of Greece that we will also get to experience. Greeks believed that doing so wards off evil spirits. We were given ceramic plates to smash onto the floor. It was fun, and all of us participated.
We welcomed the New Year with more music (and dance for others) while we blow our horns to ward off more evil spirits, I guess.
It was a different experience, all “looking Greek” to me with pun intended. I’ve been away from home for too long that I have learned to enjoy and celebrate occasions with what I have and who I am with. I enjoyed the New Year’s eve celebration nevertheless and was as hopeful as everybody were that 2015 will be a blessed one for me.