Orient Pearl is a gem on the Corniche. Astonishingly, FACT’s Craig Ferriman only discovered it in the past few weeks. He takes a seat to make up for lost time, discovering a venue that is truly a unique place to relax and socialize…

I always knew where Orient Pearl was but not exactly what is was. If you find yourself driving along the Corniche in the evening, you’ve probably noticed a stunning and colourful fountain with plumes of water shooting out in a majestic display next to the new National Museum. Well, that is the rather welcoming entrance you get at Orient Pearl. It’s emblematic of the time you’ll spend there; warm, rich and vibrant. They seem to fancy their water features because we sat down in the centre of the restaurant next to a sheet of glass with cascading water that created a calming ambience. The entrance to the place was plush and made me think I was entering a fivestar hotel feeling momentarily but it was quickly apparent that anyone is welcome and as I turned into the large expanse of the dining area, it was a beautifully designed yet cosy and comfortable setting.

This is a Lebanese outlet where the food is spectacular. It got off to a good start with a range of pleasant appetisers; a tangy tabbouleh which was fresh as anything as were the yalangi vine leaves and the fattoush salad. The hummous was superb and as good as you’d enjoy in Beirut. Their fatayer was a little different to ones I’ve previously tried in other places because they were open and flat rather than a closed pastry. I actually prefer it this way because it means less pastry and more flavor and filling, be it cheese, spinach or meat. A stand-out dish for us was the kibbeh labaniyeh which is yoghurt and white rice. That was particularly delicious and one I would order time and again.

Our mixed grill was complemented by an interesting rice of wheat, tomatoes and special oil. It was obvious the meat was of the highest quality but I was delighted to discover that the produce is all sourced locally at Baladna Farm here in Qatar. Juices are made fresh in house. I had a very natural orange juice with the oranges hand squeezed on the premises. A plentiful menu of shisha is also available.

It’s worth saying something about the service. I’ve lost count of the number of times lately that service has been a bit mediocre in places. You pay a lot and the food is good, but the service is inattentive or just lacks a smile. Here at Orient Pearl, the owners have taken enormous pride in the entire experience and personally trained their waiters to very high standards. From crisply laundered uniforms that leave them looking sharp and elegant, to the warmth of their smile and the attention to detail, swift service and delicate presentation, they live up to a high standard and really do make you feel like everything is being taken care of.

Though there are some tables, we sat on a sofa for that extra cushy comfort. Wherever you sit, light seeps in from the ceiling or the large windows and the sea view is magical at any time of day. I got the sense that nobody leaves in a hurry from the Orient Pearl and I can completely understand why. ✤