Mezzo offers a blend of Arabic, Indian and international dishes prepared from a lively open kitchen. FACT’s Craig Ferriman visits for a dinner with a difference.

Mezzo is the lobby level restaurant in the ornate and prestigious AlRayyan Hotel, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. It is designed with stunning opulence and decadent grandeur. It is attached to the Mall of Qatar. What better way to treat yourself after a day of shopping.

Mezzo caters to both Arabic and international tastebuds. On my visit, I focused on the former. We were offered complimentary mini lamb shawarmas on arrival, which acted as a little amuse-bouche. Cold mezze dishes got us going. A bread basket of pittas and rolls arrived with bowls of hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, moutabel and baba ganouche. All were fresh and very tasty.

I really enjoyed the hot mezze which featured lamb and cheese sambousek, spinach fatayer, lamb kibbeh as well as cheese and zaatar manakish. There was labneh brought with it but what I really appreciated were the sauces put in the middle of the table, especially the pomegranate sauce made in house which drizzled beautifully over lamb kibbeh.

Mashawi mushakale was a shrewd selection for the main course. It’s essentially a classic mixed grill featuring shish kebab, kofta kebab, shish taouk but by far the thing to write home about were the lamb chops. Superbly seasoned and insanely delicious. It was more than enough for two people so an ideal sharing dish. I did try out more things though to get a real sense of the place.

If you like sharing, the seafood platter is incredible. It definitely gave people plenty of FOMO when they saw snaps on my Instagram. It featured lobster, shrimps, scallops and squid. Side sauces included lemon butter and garlic sauce, which were great with the lobster. Of course, you don’t have to share! The menu is filled with popular favourites including chicken biryani, lamb tagine and shish taouk.

I met some of the staff, including the chef. The kitchen is talented and versatile as it also manages to offer a wide selection of international dishes from pizzas cooked in their giant oven, to Italian dishes and universal favourites like a chicken shawarma or a mean beef burger. I barely had room for dessert on my visit but I dipped my spoon in their Um Ali, which was good but the aish el saraya really suited my mood. It’s pistachio and orange blossoms served with berry skewers were more subtle in flavour and the ideal finish for me.

The mocktail menu was fairly short and standard but the drinks were made well. Staff were very attentive and welcoming and couldn’t do enough for us. I left feeling very happy and delighted to return. My only advice would be to visit after your shopping. If you don’t, you may lose all interest in getting the retail part done and get totally derailed in Mezzo. ✤