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"We don’t know about you, but we’re excited to have a restaurant of this calibre in the downtown area. IZU, by chef Izu Ani, is a contemporary Mediterranean spot in the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, Doha. As soon as we enter the space, there’s an unmistakeable sense of calm.

The venue is split over two floors and there are seating areas inside and out. It’s still hot on our visit so we take a seat indoors.

The dining room is very elegant, all white and beige hues giving off a peaceful and romantic vibe. The truly excellent lighting also helps (it’s attention to detail like this that makes the best stand out).

Friendly staff explain the menu to us and make some recommendations. Most of the dishes on offer have a big French-Mediterranean influence, something Izu has perfected at previous outlets.

Fresh bread arrives at the table and our waiter suggests we order the burrata. We follow his lead and are pleased we did. The cherry tomatoes are fresh, drizzled with peppery olive oil and the creamy cheese is wonderfully delicate. It’s almost like biting into a cloud.

A watermelon salad is also excellent and refreshes the palate after the rich burrata. We wish we’d waited until after the crab and prawn croquettes, which are punchy with seafood flavours.

One thing about all of the food, is that it looks incredible. The sea bream main is no different. It’s baked en papillote (that’s French for ‘in paper’, don’t you know?) and takes around 30 minutes to prepare. The staff bring the entire baked fish to the table, then take it back to the kitchen to fillet.

The slow-braised beef short ribs arrive next and are unbelievably soft, perfectly marinated and fall apart with the merest prod of a fork.

Another must-try is the wagyu steak, which is one of the best we’ve ever tried.

Desserts include tarte tatin, pain perdu, chocolate mousse and more dainty treats (for anyone who is more of an ice cream fan, the hotel has a pretty special gelato bar, as well).

Everything we’ve tried has been super. With IZU, Doha has an excellent restaurant that lives up to the hype."

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