Qatar is booming, we can all agree. New buildings are popping up daily and the streets are filled with construction trucks and cranes. Education City is a perfect example with its maze of detours, closed entrances and walls just high enough to make you wonder what is on the other side. However, within this ever-growing area is a diamond in the rough.
A little green oasis of peace and tranquillity that immediately calms your senses the moment you walk in—the Chef’s Garden is a restaurant situated within the walls of Education City in the Marwan Club in Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre.
Opened in October 2014, the Chef’s Garden has slowly been making waves throughout the Doha community for its fresh, healthy menu options and the beautiful dining area that overlooks a perfectly manicured garden. If that isn’t enough to immediately catch your attention, then this will be: the restaurant caters to families with an indoor kids’ club, outside play area and childcare specialists to watch your children in the kids’ club while you eat—all complimentary.
Chef Eric Cousin uses only the freshest and healthiest of ingredients on the menu, which changes seasonally based on the produce for that particular time of year. The restaurant embraces a farm-to-table concept and has partnered with three different local organic farms, including Al Safwa Farm, the only certified organic farm in Qatar. It also has its own garden area, from which Cousin harvests herbs and vegetables to use in unique, healthy menu options.
Originally from France, Cousin has now settled in Doha with his family and endeavours to make the restaurant part of the 2030 Qatar Vision by aligning it with the pillars of health and family values for the citizens and residents of Qatar.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week and the food is not only delicious, but reasonably priced as well. Salads range from QR 45-55 while the sandwiches and main courses range from QR 40-65. There is a dedicated children’s menu with items ranging from QR 11 for the tomato soup to QR 25 for the salmon sliders. During our visit, we tried the kale and quinoa salad, which was light and refreshing; the delicious homemade quiche was packed full of fresh local vegetables. The lamb burger was another family favorite. Our extremely picky two-year-old son gobbled up the children’s macaroni and cheese dish and finished off our parmesan truffle fries. He even ate the tomato bruschetta on warm bread and sipped my cucumber mint mocktail. For a little boy who shuns vegetables and anything green, this was a huge success for our lunch date out.
Keeping kids entertained
If your children are not the type to sit quietly at the table and only want to run around there is a moderately sized supervised kids’ club next to the dining area. There are two small ball pits, a television with cartoons, two children’s tables for games or reading and soft play mats so they can jump around and burn off any extra energy. There is also a kids’ jungle gym and trampoline outside on the lawn, and in the cooler months, the tables outside make a perfect spot to sit and watch your kids play while sipping the homemade ginger ale. Please take note, however, that a little further down the lawn is a swimming pool, so don’t let the little ones roam too far on their own. The pool is only available for club members through Qatar Foundation or guests at Al Shaqab Hotel, but you can sit at the tables next to it. The loungers are also reserved for members only.
The restaurant also has a dedicated room for events and parties. The juice room next to the dining area can be turned into an events room for anything from business meetings to kids’ birthday parties. The room itself is QR 500 to rent out and then you can choose from set menus from the restaurant. For meetings and special events, the menus range in price from QR 45 per person for just coffee and tea and up to QR 395 per person for a VIP-plated dinner. For children’s birthday parties they have three set menus ranging from QR 70-110 per child. They also offer planned activities for the children’s parties such as Zumba, face painting and children’s yoga for QR 40 per child. You can also have a cooking demonstration for QR 50 per child or you can have a cooking demonstration, a garden tour with the chef, and young chef aprons and certificates for QR 180 per child.
The Chef’s Garden is definitely a welcomed newcomer to Doha and my family and I can’t wait to go back again. With local organic ingredients as well as low-fat and gluten-free options, the Chef’s Garden is sure to please everyone in your family.
The Nitty Gritty
Hours: Saturday-Thursday 7:00–22:00, Friday 7:00-11:00 and 13:00-22:00
Location: Situated in the Marwan Club at Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre
Directions: The roads within Education City are constantly changing but as of the writing of this article, the driving directions are as follows: from Al Rayyan Road turn onto Al Shaqab street and turn into Gate 7 on your left. Make your first left and follow the Chef’s Garden signs past the horse paddocks. Turn left into the Marwan Club. Parking is out in front or off to the left of the building.
GPS coordinates: 25.309893,51.432873
Phone Number: +974 4409 5041