15.5 C
Doha
Friday, February 26, 2021

Qatar restaurateur puts chemical reactions on the menu in new venture

-

All photos by Chantelle D’mello

Combining carbon dioxide, calcium and liquid nitrogen may sound like the start of a chemistry experiment, but a new restaurant in Qatar is using the scientific substances to push the boundaries of its menu.

Zaffran
Zaffran

The concept, dubbed molecular gastronomy, is a subdiscipline of food science that focuses on the chemical reactions in food. It’s led to chefs and restaurants creating new textures and flavors in food while reimagining popular dishes and incorporating science into everyday cooking processes.

Coined in 1988 by Hungarian physicist Nicholas Kurti and French physical chemist Hervé This – who visited Qatar in 2013 – the concept has been popularized and rigorously explored by famous Michelin-star chefs such as Adam Melonas, Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adrià.

While several of the Qatar’s top hotels feature dishes showcasing molecular gastronomy at their various restaurants, the concept will make its first appearance in a standalone restaurant when Zaffran Dining Experience opens its doors in the Al Emadi Financial Center on C-Ring Road on Sept. 2.

Bohemia bar manager Simon Mhaidat
Bohemia bar manager Simon Mhaidat

It follows the opening of what proponents call the Middle East’s first “molecular bar” in the Marsa Malaz Kempinski hotel.

Bohemia cigar lounge features drinks that are prepared with an element of theatre including dry ice, dramatic lighting and other special effects.

Elsewhere in the region, several Indian cuisine restaurants are currently experimenting with molecular gastronomy, including Dubai-based Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor and Tresind.

The emirate is also home to Scoopi Cafe and Sub Zero, both of which offer buttery-soft servings of nitrogen-frozen ice cream.

Restaurant origins

For Zaffran Dining Experience owner Nitin Shroff, the restaurant is a follow-up venture to his first Qatar eatery, Zaffran Cafe, which is just off Salwa Road behind the Radisson Blu hotel.

“I’ve always wanted to go into food and beverage, but none of my family members or myself had any background in it. So what we thought of doing was to start a small concept, Zaffran Cafe, that sells Indian street food. Based on the success of that, we decided to take our food to the next level, and this followed,” he said.

The project, which has been in the works for some 14 months, cost some QR6 million (US$1,647,720) to create, with the bulk of costs going towards training staff in new techniques, buying specialized machines and setting up the space.

With equipment imported from the US and chemicals sourced from Qatar, the restaurants hopes to offer diners a novel sensory experience.

Offerings

The project’s molecular gastronomy offerings are mixed in with a wide-ranging menu of popular Indian and Indian-fusion dishes.

The restaurant’s deconstructed pani puri is a take on the popular Indian street snack, which features bite-sized portions of flavored water (“pani”), tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, vegetables and chickpeas inside a hollow and crisp deep-fried casing.

Zaffran
Zaffran

Using varying quantities and mixtures of calcium and sodium, the deconstruction involves a culinary process known as “spherification” that involves shaping a liquid into sphere.

Visually, the dish – served in small individual bowls – resembles green Jello domes that burst when eaten, releasing the taste of pani puri.

Other menu items include dehydrated chicken infused with vegetable juices as well as drinks infused with dry ice, where solid carbon dioxide is mixed with tea or other beverages, producing a smoking concoction.

Future plans

According to Shroff, the food has been deemed completely safe for consumption.

Zaffran
Zaffran

“It’s all elements that are in our bodies and ones that we ingest naturally, so it’s fine to eat,” he said.

After the restaurant is operational, Shroff said he hopes to experiment more with his menu by merging Indian cuisine with Middle East, Japanese and other Oriental and European dishes.

Would you dine in a molecular gastronomy restaurant? Thoughts?

27 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
27 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago

What a joke … Nobu opens in Qatar once it’s lost it’s Michelin stars and now this outmoded, overpriced nonsense that even Heston Blumenthal disowns. Second rate, poor value, past its sell by date … just like too many of the Western expats in Qatar.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

I like the last sentence, and I totally agree. This place is full of useless expats who are giving almost nothing to the country. It would take a bit of time to get rid of them but it will happen before 2022 hopefully. 🙂

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

But who would be left to do all the work …? There aren’t enough citizens to do it ? We are a necessary evil.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

By 2022 there will be hopefully more Qataris to take up most of the jobs expats are currently doing.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yes I’m looking forward to the day when I return as a tourist and a Qatari is….Washing/gassing up my car; waiting on me , bussing my table and getting me another glass of water at the restaurant; cleaning my hotel room; sweeping the streets; hanging from a 50 story building washing windows; walking my dog; cleaning out my cat’s catbox; mowing the grass in 50* weather; building the infrastructure here in 50* weather; oh the list is long and varied. Qataris can’t be bothered to get out of their cars and walk 20 steps to buy a pack of smokes at the store. lol you be funny. But like me ever coming here as a tourist (why and for what?) it’s just a fantasy.

Grantley
Grantley
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

And serving us pork and alcohol in QDC. LOL LOL LOL

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

LOL that’s rich!

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Even if the oil price goes down to 20USD per barrel, Qatar will always be able to afford the cheap labour. However, in the future you will see more and more Qataris managing their own shops in malls and other places rather than hiring an Indian/Egyptian/Lebanese shop manager to do it for them.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

fil mish mish

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Huh?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Qatari workforce participation rates have been dropping, not rising, for years. Why all of a sudden should we expect that Qataris will be working as the floor manager at Carrefour?

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Sooner or later the new generation will have to take up the available jobs. Based on the vision of the government, this means that the number of expats will either drastically decrease after 2022 or will remain the same to sustain the economy. This means that more positions will be made available to locals, including store managers and sales executive, as long as they are reasonably remunerated.

Now that said, for now it is not clear how the government will proceed after the WC2022. At some point they used to talk about the 2030 vision but not anymore.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

You can’t be a manger without first being the managed. Recipe for disaster if not.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Lets hope it includes those ‘Useless expats’ that spend all day on the Doha News forum………………….now they really give ‘nothing’ to the country don’t you think?

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Like the locals on here?

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Leaving just how many to do “the real work”? I’ve read some sweeping generalisations Yacine but that beats the lot. Give us an example please. Also, from my personal experience, there are employees in Qatar who are unable to make any telling contribution simply because the employer doesn’t understand their professional capabilities and gives them roles that choke their effectiveness.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying they are all useless. Many of them are competent but are rendered useless by their stupid managers or the environment around them. I have seen many of these and I have seen even Qataris who were very keen on learning and doing things the right way but were not able to achieve anything whatsoever because of their managers (both locals and expats). Some managers are happy with the status quo and lack any vision or desire to fix and improve things, and they force their team to follow their pace and suppress any endeavour to improve things if it is not coming from them or does not follow their “status quo strategy”.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Lol….. Money…..fool…..

And parted….

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

Meanwhile some of the workers here struggle to afford to eat…

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago

I like chemistry but these nuts make me contemptuous. What an imbecility!

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

For goodness sake! 6 million riyals for such a stupid project! He should have donated his money to QAWS or some labourers organization. So sad to see this nonsense happening here.

Grantley
Grantley
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Spot on, Yacine. Another vanity project. Like we don’t have enough already..

Pete
Pete
5 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

You can’t call this a vanity project. It’s a business expected to make a profit. The exact opposite of a vanity project. But I do agree it’s a load of nonsense.

Michael L
Michael L
5 years ago

But who would be left to do all the work ? There aren’t enough citizens to do it ? We are a necessary evil.

O
O
5 years ago

Does this makes to attract more costumers??? Better do some magical show!

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

Sorry but this seems the dumbest idea in a long time.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

No. I wouldn’t.

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Student scammed for QR 6,000 while ordering pizza online

0
With scam attacks on the rise, it's essential to protect yourself from fraudsters.  A Qatar University student who ordered a pizza worth QR 31 was...

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.