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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Quisine, Guy Savoy’s restaurant at the Pearl-Qatar, is closing Nov. 21

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The only restaurant at the Pearl-Qatar operated by a Michelin-starred chef, Quisine by Guy Savoy, has announced it imminent closure.

After two years at the man-made island, Quisine will close its doors for good on Nov. 21.

According to its communications manager, things “just didn’t take off the way we expected.” It was Savoy’s first restaurant endeavor in the Middle East, and the spokesperson said he has no immediate plans to open another in the region.

The upscale restaurant’s closure follows the shuttering of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze on the Pearl in 2012, months after businesses there were ordered to stop selling alcohol.

Speaking to Doha News, Quisine’s assistant manager said their restaurant had never served alcohol because it opened after the ban was instituted. She said the lack of spirits was probably a reason for business not being that good.

But another possible factor may have been that people were not used to or interested in the type of luxury dining experience Quisine had to offer, she said.

Would you eat at an upscale restaurant like Quisine? Thoughts?

45 COMMENTS

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Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

My answer to your question at the end of the article is No. Not only I don’t particularly like French cuisine and I think it is overrated, I am also not ready to pay a salary of a labourer here to try some fine authentic bla bla dining, even if I can afford it. For the third of that price I can enjoy the best buffet in a 5-star deluxe hotel.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Immature decision

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

How is closing a loss making business immature?

Peter Parker
Peter Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

But this was a DRY loss-making business, and so should have been forced to trade indefinitely for the greater good, surely Pete?!

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

Absolutely!

They should have kept the name, sacked the chefs and replaced them with Nepalese cooks, and served 5 star shwarmas to the Lamborghini brigade?

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

Quelle surprise !?!

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Yes I would have eaten there if they’d had a decent glass of wine on offer to complement the food.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I did hear a rumour that the Pearl will reverse the ban on alcohol in December, but that is unconfirmed. If they did make this u turn and it is possible they will it might reverse the fortunes of the Pearl. Although you still have the problem of getting on and off.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I think it would be a great idea

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The problem becomes ‘once bitten, twice shy’ for restaurateurs. Many invested in establishments with the rules being set to allow for ‘beverages’…after opening the rules are changed and no ‘beverages’ are allowed. If ‘beverages’ are allowed in Dec/Jan, what is to say that winds don’t change again four months later? Not a CAPEX investment that I would be willing to place a bet on!

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

“But another possible factor may have been that people were not used to or interested in the type of luxury dining experience Quisine had to offer”

Problem is that many of the people that are used to or interested in that type of dining consider a glass of wine part of the experience, so this is not another factor, but one and the same

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

honestly i just didnt like the food.

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

Realistically, there is an Emperor’s New Clothes aura around most high end eateries? I see them as a competition as to who is prepared to pay the most money to be seen there? The sustenance value is non existent, much like looking at a blank canvas and declaring it must be high art?

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Has anyone tried it? Was it any good?

Davhimself
Davhimself
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

yes, we went there twice. we thought it was the best restaurant in Doha (followed by Yum Yum and Idam). Too expensive but food was great and a real experience. Shame.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Davhimself

How long has it been open for ? When will it close for good ?

Borte
Borte
6 years ago

My husband and I dined twice at Quisine; once for its 11-course tasting menu and once a la carte. It was by far the best dining experience we’ve had in Doha – for quality and inventiveness of the menu, and highly knowledgeable staff. Whilst we are used to having wine when dining, our experience at Quisine made us realise that it wasn’t at all necessary or missed. It is a real shame, and surprise, that the quality of this restaurant hasn’t prevailed over the usual, often bland, alternatives in Doha.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago

Was DN down today due to some domain related issue like renewing domain or updating DNS?

Omar Chatriwala
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Yes, it was. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago

I stopped outside to look at their menu even before they’d opened, and I knew then that I wouldn’t be dining there; too expensive for my taste.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

The restaurant received “great support” since opening? Why the need for lies. Just come out with the obvious truth – restaurants like these are too expensive for a place like Doha.

The 12 course tasting menu in the Paris Guy Savoy restaurant is 420 Euro (2000 riyals). And no, that doesn’t include the drinks.

Rich European diners can afford that, but in a place like Doha there simply isn’t enough people with enough money to afford these sorts of meals, hence the restaurant closing.

PS – Guy Savoy, please note that it’s “Las Vegas” not “La Vegas”.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

“Rich European diners can afford that, but in a place like Doha there simply isn’t enough people with enough money to afford these sorts of meals, hence the restaurant closing”…..as opposed to the 200,000 Qataris whose household income exceeds most of those rich European Diners? To expand on the point, I think the more of the percieved “Fine Dining” outlets that close, the less inclined future Michelin Chefs will wish to open up here, of course Alcohol is a major sway factor and that’s something the Pearl Management will have to decide in the end. Taking a walk the other night along the marina, it was actually sad to see the lack of business with the perfect weather.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

If you look a bit harder I think you’ll find that regardless of incomes most of the wealth in the world is still concentrated in the advanced economies. These are more likely to be the people that *in numbers* can afford to eat at fancy high priced restaurants should they choose to do so.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Looking harder, advanced economies do have the benefit of supporting populations to match. As mentioned to another reader, we don’t know the disposable income available in comparative terms. The aggregate domestic and expat spend alone with no tax burdens may be far higher in relative terms that “The advanced” economies. Everything to scale of course. We are just talking about potential Pearl customers lol!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

The very point of buying an expensive number plate is that you are only buying 1 of them. That’s what makes it exclusive (by definition) and therefore expensive. When it comes to a restaurant, you need to be serving tables day after day, night after night. The population in Doha is simply too small, and on the whole too poor to sustain restaurants like this.

Sure there’s the odd multi-millionaire and billionaire but how often will each of them come to this expensive restaurant each year? 99% of Doha’s population cannot afford this sort of stuff, and those who can are too few in number to sustain it.

If there were enough people with enough money the restaurant would still be open, surely?

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Not sure the “Dining” population that can afford this type of outlet is as small as you suggest it is. No one really has an barometer of Local or Expat Leisure spending thus far that I have seen. I agree that the percentile of customer opportunity is lower, but it’s relative to the type of business you want to attract also. Ultimately, I feel a combination of poor positioning, no alcohol, accessibility, standalone status and location would likely be the overriding reasons of lower covers. As for the number plate, Following your logic, then there should be only be 1 Bentley or 1 Lamborgini in the city., rather than several hundred of each. Exclusive may mean expensive, but it does not necessarily mean limited capacity. I think Guy Savoy arrived too early.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

I totally agree that Quisine suffered from the perfect storm of poor position, no alcohol… all thing things you mention.

But on to your other points – in 2012 there were (according to the Guardian at least) 212,000 millionaires living in Paris, and about 22 billionaires. By contrast there are 12 billionaires in Doha, but only about (“only”!) 30 multimillionaires in Doha. There might be just as many super-rich people in Doha as Paris, but beneath that there are nowhere near as many ‘rich’ people.

And as for the definition of exclusive, the dictionary I use lists meanings as:

: not shared : available to only one person or group

: only allowing in people from a high social class

: available to only a few people because of high cost

Exclusive is a word that is derived from exclude, in this case excluding through cost.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I will have to disagree with your assessment of the affluent population in Doha. Just a handful of Al-Thanis will already make the 30 odd multimillionaires. That is leaving the rest of the young millionaires who will become multimillionaires not too far in the future and also the old money that have been around for ages. As for billionaires … we cannot compare Paris to Doha or even Qatar. We need to look at the per capita millionaires and billionaires based on a countries population. The alcohol factor played a huge role in the restaurant’s demise and if not careful … the entire Pearl will be a deserted island.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

Actually if you read what I wrote, Qatar DOES compare very favorably to other countries when it comes to billionaires. As Doha news reported recently, there is an estimated 12 billionaires already living here, compared to other cities like Tokyo, also 12 (in a population of 13 million) or Singapore – 13 billionaires in a population of 5 million, or even Los Angeles (19 billionaires in a population of 10 million.

Doha has plenty of money, it’s just that most of it belongs to a small number of people.

Other than the dozen billionaires here, and a few hundred millionaires, the rest of the population would have trouble saving enough with their monthly salary to even afford the 1000 riyal meal (plus more if you want a glass of coke) that a restaurant like this is charging.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Simple Math Michael , population of France 67 million. Population of Qatar 2.1 Million, take a look at the word ‘Comparative” or even “Relative” in the dictionary you use. As for using the Guardian as your source of reference, we won’t go there. Whatever way you want to chew it, Qatar are still the richest nation per capita. Hence the “Potential” to spend more on things such as fine restaurants (and Bentleys) . I won’t use words like exclusive in the literal sense again, just to avoid confusion.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

French fine dining – wine = flop. How’s that for math.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Not been to IDAM? Check the trip advisor comments, then recalcuate.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

One place has been adapted with some local influence and created on purpose with no booze (ducasse said he’s taking on a challenge of changing the menu so that the lack of alcoholic drinks is not an issue), so it doesn’t compare and it wasn’t positioned as usual French fine dining. While the other is the usual formula minus the wine.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

So he adapted, in the French Style, created a successful concept and works without alcohol. Seems comparable to me. Maybe a flop for you without alcohol, but not for others who have enjoyed the experience.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Yes if you don’t adapt and don’t serve alcohol it’s a flop, which is why it shut, no one said ducasse is a flop. My point was you can’t serve typical French fine dining without wine, regardless of how many millionaires there are in town

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

You are assuming it shut for that reason, you actually don’t know. It is likely more than one reason, not just the alcohol. As for serving French fine Cuisine without wine, that’s it, simply your point of view. I am not saying it will ever be wildly successful, but it remains an option for some to enjoy the finer points of the food without the supposedly essential alcohol component. Better a glass half full than not on the table at all.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Yes, an option for some, which is not enough, and yes, it’s just my opinion, which is what you’d expect in a comment section

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Yep, not enough for some, but not all. A little like replies in a comments section………

Sylvain Touolu
Sylvain Touolu
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Where Ducasse is actually making the money is on the management of the cafe inside and outside the Museum.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Yes, that’s exactly my point. Qatar has a fair bit of money on a per capita basis. But in the grand scheme of things, in terms of the absolute numbers, there isn’t actually that much money here compared to France.

Once you exclude the handful of super rich billionaires who have most of the money, the rest of the Qatari population is pretty middle class. There certainly aren’t a lot of people who can go and fill up a restaurant like Quisine night after night.

If you want to know how much Qataris and non-Qataris ACTUALLY spend per month on food and eating out, why don’t you take a read of the Qatar Statistics Authority’s Household Expenditure survey?

In a country where the average monthly income for expats is less than 6000Qar/month, how on earth can a restaurant charging 1000Qar per person expect to thrive?

Monthly individual expenditure :

• Average monthly spending was QR 5,742 and QR 4,186 for Qatari and non-Qatari individuals respectively, and QR 4,847 for both.

• The monthly food spending was QR 929 (16%) and QR 628 (15%) for Qatari and non-Qatari individuals respectively.

• The results showed that the Qatari individual monthly average spending amounted to QR 329 on clothes, QR 485 on housing, QR 563 on furniture and home appliances, QR 1,105 on transport and communication, and QR 660 on costs of travelling abroad.

• The results showed non-Qatari individual monthly average spending was QR 1,430 (34%) on housing expenses and QR 732 (17%) on transport and communication.

• The monthly median expenditure was QR 5,326 and QR 3,943 for Qatari and non-Qatari individuals respectively, and QR 4,546 for both.

Monthly individual income :

• The Qatari individual monthly average income was QR 10,200 of which QR 6,826 was received from salaries and wages, QR 445 from employers and self-employment, QR 227 from property incomes, QR 1,570 from estimated rent of owned house, QR 222 from water and electricity exemptions, and QR 910 from current transfers (including retirement).

• The non-Qatari individual monthly average income was QR 5,651, most of which (QR 5,474) was received from salaries and wages, QR 145 from employers and self-employment, and QR 32 from current transfers, property incomes and estimated rent.

• The monthly median income was QR 9,620 for Qatari, QR 5,040 for non-Qatari and QR 7,297 for both.

http://www.qix.gov.qa/portal/page/portal/QIXPOC/Documents/QIX%20Knowledge%20Base/Publication/Population%20Statistics/Household%20survey/Source_QSA/Household_Expenditure_Income_Survey_Outcomes_MDPS_AE_201.pdf

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Thanks for the stats, but again they are not really “Relative” to discussion and are covering the general population, who obviously have extremes in incomes, We are talking about those % of wealthly expats and locals who can afford such meals, what % of the population are they, and how frequently they actually eat socially and their average spend. (In Restaurants). None of the above available from the QSA. What would be helpful would be to obtain the average spends from the 20 top hotel outlets and see what people are really spending. (In the income bracket we are talking about relative to this article, not the general population). Also same “Relative” discussion on GDP of France vs Qatar, not really sure there’s much point to compare it as it sort of goes off the point of the article.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

and plus here there are rich people with no gourmet/French/international tastes and knowledge, so it is a part of the market, even if existing, that it is not reached. Doha is cheap.

MarkDoha
MarkDoha
6 years ago

For me there is something about the careful pairing of great food and good wine that is quintessetial to a French dining experience. It has never even crossed my mind to visit Guy Savoy. It’s as ludicrous a proposition as going swimming in a dry pool.

KK
KK
6 years ago

Are we surprised…

Edward
Edward
6 years ago

I think that the alcohol was the main reason, but the related overall issues at The Pearl made it inviable. The Pearl is just moribund; there was supposed to be a Four Seasons hotel on the island in Porto Arabia, which should have been open by now and would have driven traffic to Quisine. That project seems to be dead too. None of the higher-end restaurants are doing well except for Burj al Hammam. Retail is struggling badly. Overall it’s a death spiral from which The Pearl will likely never recover, or at least will never recover in the form that was originally envisioned. The Pearl was supposed to be a vibrant environment with a variety of dining and entertainment options. As it is now, no one would want to live there or make it a destination at all.

The restaurant was nearly completed when they took alcohol away. The saddest part is that alcohol was dropped in an extra-legal, informal way, supposedly temporarily at the time, with no communication or redress. And none of the Qatari owners of these businesses want to complain or even discuss alcohol openly due to the social taboo. This should give pause to anyone considering to invest in Qatar — the authorities can capriciously change the rules anytime and shrug their shoulders when small- and medium-sized businesses with a lot of investment that was based on those rules fail. A reminder that there is no rule of law in Qatar.

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