Spain, it’s one of those countries which I’ve been wanting to explore more since I went to Madrid for a very quick holiday many years ago. I loved the buzz in and around Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, the two places which I frequented while there.
Two of the things which I loved most about this city apart from its history and beautiful architecture are the friendliness of people and their food.
I love the Spanish cuisine but that’s already a given since I’m a Filipino, most of our dishes are derived from a particular Spanish dish or influenced by it. Good thing though that with all the Spanish restaurants opening up in Doha, you don’t need to fly all the way to Spain to experience their dishes.
The question now would be, how original are the dishes served in the Spanish restaurants here in Doha? I got an answer to that question a few days ago.
I was invited to try Aceite at the fabulous Melia Doha Hotel. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a taste of a Spanish fare so I was really looking forward to it the whole week. When we finally arrived at the restaurant, it was already a bit busy with a few other dining tables already occupied while the bar area was already buzzing. A live duo entertaining us with Spanish songs livened up the place even more.
We didn’t wait any longer and immediately ordered our food and a bottle of wine. For starters, I initially wanted gazpacho but changed my mind the last minute and ordered deep-fried baby calamari with ink aioli. Fickle is my middle name.
The calamari was how it’s supposed to taste like, nothing really special to it. The Greek Mister had marinated white fish with apple aioli which I found very salty. He enjoyed it though and gobbled it all up in no time.
While we’re having our starters, I noticed that every single table around us were having paella as their main course. I even overheard the lady sitting opposite us exclaiming with delight “oooohhhhh I’ve been dreaming about that the whole week” when the paella was served to their table. The good thing was, we ordered paella as well for our mains and this lady got me all the more excited for it too.
I could smell the deliciousness of our lobster and seafood paella even before I saw it, there’s that distinct flavor and fragrance this dish has which immediately makes your tummy growl. As soon as we had some of it on our plate, we immediately dove into it and relished its taste. If you’re sitting beside us, you’d probably think that we’re having some sort of an orgasmic party going on with all the sounds we’re making but really, we’re just eating paella. It was that good.
I had to fight with The Greek Mister to save me some of that crunchy layer on top of the paella pan as he was so quick to finishing it all off. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the same crunchy layer at the bottom of the pan which paellas are famous for.
For the uninitiated, it would be called the “burnt” part which would be a sign of a chef’s carelessness but for a true paella fan – it’s called “socarrat” which shows the chef’s masterful skills. This is what you may call as the icing on the cake for a paella. My spoon was ready to scrape it off the pan but I was somehow disappointed that it was non-existent in Aceite’s paella.
I must admit that the whole paella experience would’ve been the best if there was socarrat in it but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t love it. It was really tasty and it isn’t hard for me to say that I’d be ordering it everytime we visit Aceite.
We ended our evening with a churros because you can’t possibly end a Spanish fare without it.
I’m definitely going back to Aceite for their paella but I’d probably specify next time that I would love to have something to scrape off the pan. I also loved the service in the restaurant and was impressed that the manager is very visible around the restaurant all throughout our dinner there.
If you’re planning to visit Aceite, paella is definitely a must but just a piece of advice – their serving is huge! You’ve got to be really very hungry if you plan on having it only for yourself.
I was a guest at Aceite, Melia Doha however as always all photos are my own and opinion stated is genuine and in no way influenced.
Aceite at Melia Doha
Tel No (974) 401 99999