I was the first person to use water taxi yesterday from MIA Park to Katara. Since I had a three year old with me, I did enquired about the age limits at the information counter and they confirmed that there is no restriction until a parent is with the child. The ride took 12-15 mins to Katara and costs QAR.25/- pp one way. It was a different experience to visualize Doha from the other side.
Though I reached around 1615 pm at Katara, the crowd had already started building in.
At Katara, there were approximately 10 food stalls which are a part of the normal high end restaurants out there like Saffron Lounge, Mamig, Sukar Pasha etc. And then a few street vendors we see like any other day.
My first trial was a cheese Kunafa from one of the street vendors . That was absolutely delicious – it was not less or not too heavy , just the right amount of sugar level. Costs QAR. 18/- .
Meanwhile my little girl found what she wanted and its non other than ‘ice cream’ from the ice cream parlor van parked next to kunafa vendor. She did really enjoyed it. Who else wouldn’t be.
We then moved to the main food station area of the high end restaurants of Katara. I am a huge fan of Saffron Lounge by Chef Vineet Bhatia and there was no way that I would be missing the food from their stall. So, the time was almost 0530pm and I went for a nice masala chai and chicken kathi roll priced at QAR.5/- and QAR.20/- respectively. The meat of the kathi roll was beautifully cooked with green chutney and onion, it tasted good, but I really wished if they could serve it in a paratha rather than a tortilla wrap. The masala chai had some nice flavor and since I am kind of suffering from throat pain, it gave a good refreshing feeling out in the windy climate.
What you should not miss at Katara is the Sukar Pasha stall. They stole the show. They were the most fun and enthusiastic vendors among the all and the hero was their ice cream guy. You could hear him yelling out “Ice cream Ice Cream” with the ringing bell going on. And no one can pass the stall without having a look at this guy. Talking about the ice cream, my choice was vanilla and definitely worth trying. The texture is different from the normal ice cream – it’s creamy, soft but gooey.
Another dish you must try is their delicious pieces of slow roasted lamb on a charcoal with some rice. Though not being a red meat lover, this one did hit my favorite list.
The really huge grill at the Mamig Restaurant was interesting . It is said to be an authentic way of grilling food.
Later in the day, we bought a fancy looking deep fried potato spiral with chilli salt seasoning. I tried it just because of the reason that I have been seeing lots of pictures of it in social media and I wanted click one picture through my lens. It tasted like a thin strips of potato with some chilli salt hit to your taste buds. Though deep fried, it is not very crunchy nor so soft. QAR.10/- per piece .
Talking about the entertainment, Katara had Live cooking theaters where some of the great chefs prepared their best recipes. The fresh cheese Halwa prepared by one of the chef was heavenly, I loved it.
Katara also had Nily Nils Glow show and LED drummers later in the night. I did watch the glow and not the LED drummers as my little partner was almost tired.
And I put an end to my QIFF 2016 at Katara and returned using the water taxi service at 08.30 pm.
If you want to visit all the QIFF 2016 venues, you are more than welcome. In case you are thinking of sticking to one place, I guess MIA park is the best with huge lots of stalls and entertainment everyday.
I wish there were screens near the Live Cooking theaters in Katara just like MIA. We were unable to see what’s going on up on the stage. Being a non Arab speaker, I did not understand what the chef was talking and if there were screens, I could at-least see the ingredients and would have had some idea about the dish.
I did have a bit of an issue while returning from Katara as the beach area to the harbor was restricted and there were no one whom I could enquire about the service. Apparently one person reached on spot just in time when the water taxi took off and he stopped it for me. If he hasn’t been there, I would have had to wait another half an hour to take my next ride. And please note that you have to take your water taxi ticket from Counter No. 15 or 16. or else you will have to walk back And forth once again.