Food Review: Salsa
Doha is a hub for culinary excellence, with a surplus of world-class eateries strewn across the city. Mexican is one of the most popular and vibrant cuisines in the world, with a focus on taking simple ingredients to create complex flavour combinations. However, if you’re a lover of Mexican food, like myself, you’ll be more than aware that there’s a distinct shortage places to get your fajita fix.
For me, few come close to Salsa. Located in Doha Marriott’s Restaurant Gallery, the eatery has been serving top-drawer North American cuisine for as long as I can remember.
The first thing that struck me upon entering was the amazing interior decor. It's been a little while since my last visit and I'd forgotten just how striking the space is. Bright furnishings, blocks of flat colour and Día de Muertos inspired wall art - Salsa is a visual masterpiece.
Shortly after being seated my order was taken, allowing for me to soak in the amazing interior. However, before I had an opportunity the live entertainment began, performing a wide variety of chart-toppers and golden-oldies with an acoustic Mexican twist.
I started with two of the restaurant's recommended dishes - Nachos del Campo and Ceviche de Camerones. The Nachos were topped with a plethora of much-loved Mexican favourites - cheddar cheese, refried beans, Jalapenos, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream.
I was a little apprehensive ordering the Nachos. I mean, how good could they possibly be? Could they be any better than what I'd be able to concoct with a bag of Doritos in my kitchen? Yes - The answer is yes.
They were fresh and understated, with the classic flavour combinations marrying together brilliantly - perfect as a sharable Hors-d'oeuvre before your main meal.
Next came the Ceviche de Camerones - a cocktail of lime-marinated shrimp seasoned with cilantro and green chilis, served on a warm tortilla.
This was sensational - a great palate cleanser. The refreshing citrus flavour was brilliantly balanced and manages to remain fragrant rather than overpowering. It's a dish that I'd order again in a heartbeat.
Following my starters, I sampled two staples of Mexican cuisine - Traditional Beef Tacos and Fajita de Pollo.
We're all familiar with these classics, aware of the textures and tastes we've come to expect. Therefore, because of how finely tuned these dishes are, it makes it difficult to truly impress. Salsa's effort was great, and I believe it was down to one thing - the quality of the ingredients.
Take the Beef Tacos for example. This tried and tested recipe of spicy minced beef, beans, sour cream and avocado is one that we all know and love. However, the difference between restaurant quality Tacos and the ones you make at home is primarily down to the ingredients.
The Tacos were moreish, and the fact that there weren't more than just three was heartbreaking. The various accompaniments that filled the plate allowed for each of us to create our own custom creation.
The Fajitas were equally fantastic. Succulent strips of chicken breast, white onion and bell pepper coated in a spicy marinade. As you'd expect, a side plate was packed full of sour cream, guacamole and the other usual suspects. These were some of the best Fajitas I've ever tasted - 10/10.
All in all, Salsa was a triumph. It's easily the best Mexican in town.