Located in the luxury quarter of the Mall of Qatar, TWG Tea has set up its first branch in Qatar and it’s what every tea lover has been dreaming of. Think beautiful blends to sip away on as you tuck into tea-infused dishes off the menu; FACT’s Craig Ferriman went to check out just why this place has become synonymous with elegant in-mall dining and, of course, great tea…

It’s an almost inconspicuous circular island, the venue of TWG Tea. You might think that something situated out in the open in the middle of a mall is an unusual idea, but alas, TWG Tea is ensconced in a peaceful water feature and the intelligence of the modern mall’s design means that the acoustics drain away any excess hubbub. Some rather delightful boutique jewellery and clothes stores surround the venue, should you wish to contemplate a swanky purchase while you sip on your exquisite beverage. The ceiling is entirely glass giving the illusion that you’re outdoors under the sky when you’re there during the day.

The hyper-modern mall that was constructed in the middle of absolutely nowhere, can be a 45-minute drive to get to from Doha’s city centre. But, thankfully for shoppers and diners alike, the roads are being greatly improved and finishing fast, and soon you won’t even need to drive there because the metro will be open! With all of these developments in mind, a trip to the Mall of Qatar is actually a welcomed respite from the capital’s bustle. TWG Tea has around 70 branches globally. To the joy of tea drinkers, this branch boasts 400 types of tea – WOW. The menu is so extensive that it looks like a small novel – and it was so cute. Things start to get interactive and involve the customer from the get-go. You can choose your tea by geography. Perhaps you’ll go for a classic Indian tea or maybe you’ll prefer a Chinese herbal tea – whatever your palate desires, TWG Tea can cater to it. I was amazed at seeing teas that stretched as far and wide as the Honde Valley in Zimbabwe to Zealong in New Zealand as well as a classic Early Grey from England.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. Even their food used tea in the making of menu items; like their tiger prawns with a tea vinaigrette which is not an appetiser you would think to have, or expect to enjoy, in a place branded for its tea – but think again, because these were some of the most flavourful prawns I’ve ever tasted! The lamb shoulder was soaked in a tea marinade with eggplant and zucchini – meat eaters will adore this dish. I even had a chicken green curry which was mixed with Genmaicha green tea and featured furikake, a Japanese seasoning which was used as decoration. Not only was it appealing to the eye, this was one dish that I could see myself ordering time and again – in fact, the cravings as I write this are REAL.

The staff at TWG Tea are not just waiters but have an expertise in tea and a real knowledge of what they are serving and what goes well together. Francis is the resident in-house tea expert and quick to share information with guests, answer any questions and make fabulous recommendations. When it came to trying something from their dessert trolley, I chose a vanilla and cherry mousse and asked Francis to pair  a tea that would go well with it. Francis knew just the thing for it and proceeded to get out ‘Sakura, Sakura’ which is a Cherry Blossom red tea – simply delicious. Not knowing much about the place before I went and not having any expectations, it was one of the most intriguing new culinary discoveries I’ve had in a very long time in Doha. Take a seat at TWG Tea and let the team surprise and delight you!