September came with a tantalising treat for our big appetites. This month’s Cucina de Badir led us to the beautiful Marsa Malaz Kempinski for an experience of Spanish flavours at El Faro…

El Faro is a stunning Spanish restaurant located at Marsa Malaz Kempinski The Pearl Doha. I’m greeted by warm and welcoming staff and a true Spanish chef, Raúl Cob Ferrer. With such palatial surroundings and a cool venue, I was ready to set new standards for Cucina de Badir.

We started off with the famous, and incredibly delicious, Spanish Paella. Chef Raúl has a great energy about him; his character is truly friendly, and his passion and dedication to showcase food from his own culture and heritage, is beyond genuine and impressive. We head to the kitchen ready to cook up some paella. This is one of the most famous and exquisite dishes in Spanish gastronomy. Seafood paella, especially, is characteristic of the culture. By adding shellfish and seafood with fish stock, we begin.

We heat up the paella pan, adding olive oil, followed by the various seafood like fish cubes and whole prawns, and let the ingredients fry for around seven minutes. The prawns and mussels are set aside to use for presentation topping at the end. By this time, I can smell the mouthwatering aromas in the air. We then add tomato paste, chopped garlic and saffron to the paella dish with the seafood contents in it – and we let it all cook together. Next, we add rice to the sofrito (a popular sauce used as a base in Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American cooking) and let everything cook for a few minutes, mixing all the ingredients together.

Chef Raúl has a great energy about him; his character is truly friendly, and his passion and dedication to showcase food from his own culture and heritage, is beyond genuine and impressive.

We proceed by covering our mix with our fish stock for a few minutes as Chef Raúl gives me some cooking advice. He says that for paella it’s important to add twice the amount of stock in ratio to the rice. This, he says, will help the rice cook to perfection. The dish is left to cook on medium heat until the broth has completely evaporated. To finish off, we add our already cooked mussels and prawns, along with a strip of red pepper and a slice of lemon, as visual garnish. Just wow! It looks irresistible, and tastes just as delicious as you can imagine. Before sitting down to devour the paella, we had one more dish to cook – another Spanish favourite – patatas bravas.

Patatas Bravas 2

This dish is a foodie dream on a plate. We started by chopping our potatoes into cubes then fried them in a pan on low temperature, for around 10 minutes. Then for a quick two to three minutes, the heat is turned up a little to make the potato nice and crispy. After, put the potato cubes in a bowl and mix with a little olive oil, and garnish with salt and Spanish paprika (called pimento). Serve on a plate with the magic ingredient – garlic mayo – that is homemade at El Faro. Patatas Bravas usually tastes amazing with a sauce that is a little spicy and tangy.Paella

We ended this lovely Spanish cooking experience by tucking into two culinary delights – both bringing real Spanish taste to Doha’s shores. The service at El Faro is great, the chef is a fantastic guy, and the food is to-die-for – what more could you ask for? Nos vemos en la próxima Cucina de Badir.

GO: Visit El Faro at Marsa Malaz Kempinski The Pearl Doha. Call 4035 5011 or email restaurants. marsamalaz@kempinski.com for reservations and more information.