FACT Qatar May 2023

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fact magazine 1 MAY 2023 VOL 9. ISSUE 11. QR15
fact magazine 3 K-Pop In Qatar In The Know Bentley Bentayga Azure Greek Journey Fashion Focus Art As Education 08 22 36 84 88 92 CONTENTS

Sshh… it’s a secret!

It’s great to visit a place but living like a local is a different thing. This month’s cover story is all about the things you only know when you live here – we’ve got fab things to see, do and visit as well as chats with some of the people making up Qatar’s behind-thescenes-entertainment industry. There’s so much to look forward to, I can’t wait. When I started researching our lead feature, I was so impressed with the huge amount that’s out there – I couldn’t even fit it all in – I decided to launch a new page in the magazine. So, from next month, our Listen Up section will include at least one new discovery of something to try – it might not be new to everyone, but it will be something we’ve only just learned about and think is cool. I don’t know what it will be called yet but if you can think of something we should look at, please get in touch with me on qatareditor@fact-magazine.com I’d love to hear from you.

Elsewhere this month, we’ve continued to eat our way around the city in preparation for the Fact Dining Awards Qatar 2023 and we showcase some of the most happening spots. The festive season might be over but there’s never a dearth of dining offers, and your favourite hotels and restaurants have a whole host of new options for you to try. We’ve rounded up loads of them.

We also took a walk around Education City to discover some of the awesome artworks on show and chatted to Ameera Al Aji of Qatar Foundation, one of the people responsible for putting them there.

For travel this month, we escape to the ‘Land of the Gods’ – Greece. Offering all the trappings of a memorable getaway, from rich history and mythology to golden sunshine, lush scenery and many islands, Greece is a land of multiple contrasts. Our regulars, as always, bring you the latest from the worlds of movies, music and books and the Listen Up section features news from around the country.

I hope you enjoy reading this month’s issue as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.

FACT Magazine

Qatar Edition

• MAY 2023


































fact magazine 4 • THE EDITOR
accuracy of the information within this publication.
All Rights Reserved. Opinion expressed within does not necessarily represent the opinion of the publisher. All efforts have been made
However, FACT M.E. Publishing cannot accept legal
for any erroneous content or omissions.
“The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” – Roald Dahl
Liz O’Reilly Editorial Director



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fact magazine 6 FACT Magazine M.E @FACTMagazineME • CONNECT
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Fans of the Korean Wave are in for a major treat as the country gets ready to host its first ever K-Pop festival this month.

Taking place at Lusail Multipurpose Hall on May 19 and 20, the K.ONE Festa will feature a host of the genre’s most popular stars, with opportunities for red-carpet meet-and-greets and the chance to experience Korean culture first-hand.

Appearing on May 19 are iKon, SF9, Everglow, xikers and Sunmi. The six-piece boy band iKon consists of Jay, Song, Bobby, DK, Ju-ne and Chan. Their debut studio album Welcome Back (2015) debuted atop the South Korean Gaon Album Chart and they have since gone on to massive success with singles such as Love Scenario and the most recent EP Flashback which set a new record for one-day and one-week sales.

SF9 is a hugely successful, singing, dancing and rapping troupe. Several members are currently undertaking military service but that hasn’t stopped them putting out new music including EP The Piece OF9, released in January this year. And xikers is a 10-piece boy bad who only launched in March this year with the debut mini-album House Of Tricky : Doorbell Ringing.

Representing the girls are six piece Everglow who, in July 2022, performed at the Saranghae KSA K-Pop Festival in Jeddah, becoming the first girl group in history to perform in Saudi Arabia, and Sunmi, a solo artist who first hit the music scene in 2007 with the Wonder Girls. She’s known for hit singles such as Heroine and Siren Taking to the stage on May 20 are Bam Bam, Ateez, Oh My Girl, P1Harmony and Drippin. Bam Bam is a Thai singer, rapper and TV

presenter who’s also branched out into fashion and is known for his support of various good causes as well as his music. Eight-member Ateez have sold more than four million physical albums worldwide. Their accolades include Worldwide Fans' Choice at the 2019 and 2020 Mnet Asian Music Awards and they’ve served as official global ambassadors for Korean culture and tourism.

Oh My Girl – also known as OMG – debuted in 2015 and have been nominated for and won multiple music industry awards, including the Gaon Chart Music Award 2021 Song of the Year –April for Nonstop

Consisting of Keeho, Theo, Jiung, Intak, Soul and Jongseob, P1Harmony was introduced through a film P1H: The Beginning of a New World starring all members in August 2020. They’re currently on an international tour, including the US where tickets sold out within 30 minutes.

And Drippin are currently performing as a six-piece who released their first studio album Villain: The End last November. ✤

Tickets are available through tickets.virginmegastore.me and events.q-tickets.com

fact magazine 8 • FACT FINDS


The latest production from The Doha Players promises a fun adventure for all young (and not so young) pirates.

Taking place at Black Box Theatre, Education City, The Littlest Pirate by Kathy Macovichuk tells the tale of little Bobby who doesn’t want to go to bed and, instead, runs away to become a pirate.

In pursuit of his dream, Bobby joins Stinky Pete's Pirate School and makes a new friend. But, adventures unfold as it’s discovered the other pirates are trying to steal Sinky Pete’s treasure and Bobby must come up with a way to help his friend.

Much hilarity ensues as ‘pirates’ battle for chests of jewels and gold with many a mishap along the way. Will little Bobby and Stinky Pete triumph. You’ll just have to go along to find out – and little ones are encouraged to dress up in their best pirate garb to make the experience extra special, they can even sit on the floor at the front of the stage if they want to.

Made up of a six-piece cast, all actors and crew are volunteers and The Doha Players is a not-for-profit association. The show is being staged between May 31 and June 17 and tickets cost QR300 for a Family Ticket (two adults, three children aged three and above, babies up to two years go free). Discount Day on Wednesdays, is only QR50 each adult and child. Thursday, Friday

and Saturday it’s QR100 but there’s an early bird 20% discount on tickets till May 7. ✤

fact magazine 10 • LISTEN UP
Images by: Quincy Dino Mallari.


Qatar Airways is welcoming passengers to the newly launched Al Mourjan Business Lounge – The Garden –which is described as a scenic masterpiece.

The several-times-awarded World’s Best Airline has opened the new lounge at Hamad International Airport (HIA). Named The Garden, it overlooks The ORCHARD, and is surrounded by renowned retailers and restaurants, while offering uniquely designed relaxation spaces and areas to socialise. An exclusive sanctuary available for Qatar Airways Premium Passengers, The Garden stretches over an area of 7,390sq/m and can accommodate up to 707 passengers. It features 24 quiet spaces, each designed to offer optimum relaxation available free of charge for the first six hours, and also features seven spa treatment rooms. There is a range of premium facilities that fulfil the needs of business, leisure and family travellers with numerous dining options, relaxation rooms, a fitness studio, pedicure and manicure stations, spa facilities, dedicated private spaces, recreational areas and a nursery. The lounge has been influenced by modern aesthetics incorporating natural light in its distinct design, providing passengers with an immersive experience reflecting The ORCHARD below.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said: “This world-class lounge showcases

a sophisticated way of travel, centred in comfort, wellness and nature. I welcome our premium passengers to experience this spectacular addition to our signature lounge portfolio.”

Located in the Northern expansion of Hamad International Airport, the new lounge serves as an extension to the iconic Al Mourjan Business Lounge – South, awarded World’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining by Skytrax Airline Ratings Awards, The exclusive facilities include single and double quiet rooms; showers and washrooms; nursery; children’s playroom; game room; smoking room; a gym with treadmills, Elliptical exercise bikes and locker rooms; and a spa with main-pedi stations, neck and shoulder massage relaxation chairs, treatment rooms and changing rooms. There are also multiple dining and refreshment options across both the East and West Wings. ✤

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Pullman Doha West Bay, a premium 5-star hotel in the heart of Doha’s West Bay, combining lifestyle and design for business and leisure, has announced special offers to welcome Eid al-Fitr with Qatar residents, who are looking for a relaxing escape destination amid excellent service that caters to the needs of each and every family member

Bice’s brunch features a mouthwatering array of Italian recipes by Chef Matteo and his team, from sumptuous risottos and flavorful pinzas to perfectly cooked pastas and fresh seafood, served from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm with prices ranging from QAR 180 inclusive of soft drinks to QAR 350 for special house beverages

Avenue’s family brunch caters to those who enjoy a sense of adventure and who wants to try a new experience from around the world with every mouthful or bite The E id Bruch will be served with entertainment (and love!) from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm with prices ranging from QAR 260 inclusive of soft drinks to QAR 430 inclusive of special house beverages Children younger than 6 years old will be free of charge, and those between 6 and 12 will enjoy 50% discount at both Avenue and Bice

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The Chief Concierge of Fairmont Doha, Randy Santos is the newly appointed International President of Les Clefs d’Or

As President of Les Clefs d’Or, Randy will be the head of the Executive Committee which is elected to manage and run the association.

As Chief Concierge at Fairmont Doha, Randy Santos serves as the key point of contact for guests and VIPs throughout their stay, providing first-class service and comprehensive information about the property and the local vicinity, he is also responsible for ensuring his concierge team operate at the highest standard.

He has previously held the position of 1st International Vice President, Union Internationale Des Concierges Hotels – UICH Les Clefs dÓr International, and Founder and Past President of Qatar Concierge Society and Les Clefs dÓr Qatar.

Les Clefs d’Or is a renowned association with the cream of the crop of concierges from all around the world aspiring to be a member of this elite group. Those who are a part of Les Clefs d’Or have the skills and contacts to provide guests with the services that no others can.

Les Clefs d’Or, or The Golden Keys, is a professional association of hotel concierges with around 4,000 members working in more than 80 countries. Easily identified by the golden crossed keys on their lapels, members are an

elite, globally connected group committed to exceptional standards of guest service.

Les Clefs d’Or has roots dating back to 1929 but was officially founded in France in 1952. The pillars of the organisation are service and friendship, and before earning the right to wear the coveted golden keys those who aspire to become members must have several years of experience as a hotel concierge and prove beyond doubt that they can deliver the highest quality service.

The hotel’s General Manager, Hani Akkari said: “We are incredibly proud that Randy Santos has been appointed International President of Les Clefs d’Or. To have an exemplary leader whose accolades have been recognised by UICH Les Clefs d’Or is a feat worthy of celebration. Clefs d'Or Concierges are motivated by a genuine desire to serve their guests and this honour is reflective of the care that Randy and his team take to ensure that guests’ safety, well-being and quality of stay is of the highest standard.” ✤

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Blue Cigar, the intimate lounge at Raffles Doha, welcomes guests to an exclusive experience of old-world sophistication. Nestled in an Art Decoinspired environment, it boasts an unmatched collection of 6,000 literary classics, including 200 first editions, making it the largest book-buying project in the world.

The lounge offers an ideal place for leisurely reading sessions and inspiring conversations, with an eclectic music signature that elevates the ambience. Guests can sit back on a soft leather sofa and peruse the exceptional collection of beverages and Cuban experiential nibbles on the menu.

Blue Cigar's unique mocktails list is a must-try for anyone looking to enjoy an exquisite experience. The expert mixologists use their creativity and experience to create beverages that pay homage to literary classics.

…And The Sea is inspired by Ernest Hemingway's iconic book The Old Man and The Sea and features artisanal sancho pepper cordial, Darjeeling and camomile essence. This blend offers a refreshing and balanced taste, perfect for a relaxing evening. Those looking for adventure can sample the Priorities mocktail, inspired by Jack Kerouac's famous novel On The Road, with

cranberry juice, pomegranate mash, aloe vera and citrus. This concoction provides a unique taste that will take guests on a journey with every sip.

For a more intimate reading experience, Blue Cigar offers rare first editions and artists' releases on display, and guests can have the books brought to them with white gloves for their undisturbed reading pleasure. In addition, the lounge also features a Reader who recites passages from inspiring stories, adding to the overall atmosphere.

Behind a bookshelf, is the Secret Library which carries a unique collection of spy and detective novels, adding to the mystique and exclusivity of the lounge.

The ambience of Blue Cigar is perfect for those who want to relax and unwind after a long day at work or for those who want to spend an intimate evening with friends or loved ones.

The Art Deco-inspired décor and the collection of rare books create a sophisticated and refined environment that is perfect for the discerning guest.. ✤


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Blue Cigar: where page turners and plush corners meet.


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N 25° 24' E 51° 31' DESTINATION UNLOCKED Taste
of Anatolia By Chef Esat


The third edition of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Tourism Fair will be held later this year as part of Qatar Travel Mart 2023.

NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences and the Islamic Center for the Development of Trade (ICDT) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to host the third edition of the OIC event at Qatar Travel Mart 2023, which takes place at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre from November 20 to 22.

Commenting on the MOU signing, Rawad Sleem, NeXTfairs Co-Founder and GM, said: “NeXTfairs is honoured to declare the signing of an MOU with ICDT to expand Qatar Travel Mart’s exclusive travel and tourism platform to host the OIC 3rd Tourism Fair and promote the tourism industry in the 57 OIC countries.

“The OIC Tourism Fair is aligned with QTM and strives to encourage investment in the travel and tourism sector. It also aims to showcase the real image of Islam as a religion that promotes peace and tolerance. As the host of the World Cup 2022, Qatar is a fantastic destination to highlight how tourism can significantly boost a country’s economic growth and development.”

Latifa Al Bouabdlioui, Director General ICDT, said: “We look forward to bringing the OIC Tourism Fair to Qatar, a country that has set ambitious tourism goals. We have witnessed the country’s transformation journey, which has seen the evolution of cultural destinations, family-friendly venues, superior hotels and huge investments in infrastructure. It’s an impressive feat, which will bring a lot of inspiration to the

fair’s participating countries. Events such as these enable us to build bridges while bolstering investment and trade.” Islamic tourism is a recent phenomenon in the theory and practice of the global tourism industry. Traditionally Islamic tourism was often associated with Hajj and Umrah only. However, recently there has been an influx of products and services designed specifically to cater for the business and leisure-related segments of Muslim tourists across the globe. As a result, the Muslim tourism market has witnessed rapid growth and emerged as one of the fastest-growing segments of the global tourism market. According to a report by Future Market Insights, the global halal tourism market holds a forecasted revenue of USD255bn in 2022 and is likely to reach USD365bn by 2032.

Qatar is expected to welcome 6.24 million tourists in 2028, with visitor spending expected to reach QR102.7bn, an increase of more than nine per cent annually, according to a new report, Qatar Economic and Commercial Activities Guide 2022. The report, launched by the Qatar Chamber and based on research by Capital Economics, shows how the country’s tourism sector is becoming a vital part of the economy. ✤

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Qatar is welcoming the world to its shores with a simple and convenient visa application process.

As part of efforts to further boost tourism to the country, Qatar Tourism has revamped the Hayya platform to provide visitors a single portal to easily apply for tourist and business visas to Qatar.

The Hayya platform was launched last year and allowed more than one million visitors to enter the country during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament. Taking place with immediate effect, the updated Hayya platform will present a unified visa process to all tourists, GCC residents and companions travelling with GCC citizens and those issued with an Electronic Travel Authorization permit.

Tourists who require a visa to enter Qatar can access the Hayya platform on hayya.qa, or through the Hayya application on their smartphones.

Moreover, for those reaching Qatar via the Abu Samra land border, the Hayya platform offers a pre-registration option for faster entry for vehicles, further simplifying the travel process.

For GCC nationals, the platform provides an option to apply for an entry permit for companions. The Hayya platform also helps provide additional services that aim to help

visitors such as maps, transportation options and more.

HE Akbar Al Baker, Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive said: “Qatar’s national tourism strategy seeks to welcome over six million visitors a year by 2030. Already, Qatar is considered the most open country in terms of visa facilitation in the Middle East and the eighth most open globally, with more than 95 nationalities granted visa on arrival. We are pleased that the latest developments will further cement Qatar’s position as a leading tourism destination and will provide the opportunity for even more travellers to experience the country’s truly unique touristic offering.”

Meanwhile, Saeed Ali Al Kuwari, CEO of the Hayya Platform, said: “The relaunch of the Haya platform in its new form is an extension of the strategic vision that the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy had previously developed, a vision that centres on the sustainable legacy of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.” ✤

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The whole world knows Qatar for its amazing hospitality offering, the great job it did hosting the World Cup 2022 and lots more. But we know there’s a hidden side to both Doha and the country, one that, usually, only us locals get to experience. So, over the following pages, we go behind the scenes in Qatar to discover the things you only know, when you know!


Thomene’s Vegan Pop-Ups – born in Qatar and going regional, learn more in our mini-interview.

Fancy something a bit different? Take yourself to Bandar Aden in Souq Waqif for some really good authentic Yemeni food. You can eat with your hands and there’s the option to sit in traditional style on the floor. Many dishes are served for sharing on large platters and make sure you try the freshly baked bread, it’s something people, rightly, rave about.

Halul Café is found near Doha port and is like a taste of old Egypt with is straw roofing and red, patterned seating. The menus are all in Arabic, so you may need to ask for help, and prepare to be surrounded by men playing board games and enjoying what we’re told is some of the city’s best karak – surely worth a visit just for this. It’s open early, so head down for an egg sarnie for brekkie and take in the sights and sounds around.

If you’re missing good old British fish ‘n’ chips since the sad departure of the Frying Scotsman, you can still get your fix at The Chippy, affectionately known as Chippy’s, where they promise

the potatoes are peeled and cooked every day – none of your frozen stuff here.

And, while far from hidden, everyone should check out the food trucks at Lusail Marina Food Arena just for the sheer innovation of some of the designs, which are great fun.

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How did you get involved with the pop-up restaurants, are you a chef as well as a musician?

I am indeed a plant-based chef and a vocalist. Music and food, what more do you need!

I’ve been involved with plant-based food creation in Qatar since 2016 when I started making food for various people as there weren’t many exciting or healthy choices around at the time. I was approached by the GM of the Marriott Marquis in 2020 about doing a plant-based pop-up at their restaurant Crossroads. I also took part in a foodie panel discussion about food trends and fare in Qatar. It was filmed along with an episode as part of a docuseries they were doing.

I worked alongside their team and created two sold-out evening brunches at Crossroads through a vegan pop-up concept. I created a complete vegan menu and their exceptional team of chefs worked with me to prep and create the food. It was so successful I have decided to make it a regular event and do popups at various other restaurants.

What's the message, are you trying to educate people about vegan food?

I tend to use the wording ‘plant-based’ as it feels more

inclusive. Sadly, some people associate the word vegan with a rather militant lot wanting to convert you to this lifestyle immediately. My approach is without judgement. My aim is to always create food that is delicious and hearty and to not only make plant-based food more readily available for us plant eaters, but also to open up a whole new world food wise for those still eating meat and dairy. By veganising some of the good old comfort foods like bangers and mash, fish and chips, shepherds’ pie and various other dishes, I am trying to help them make the transition easier. Food and music have no language. They simply bring people together. It is beautiful.

What’s next?

I’m working on a cookbook [we’ll be following up on that] and the next plant-based pop-up will be at Senõr Ritas Tex Mex in Lusail on May 12. I’ll be presenting a vegan Mexican menu veganising popular Mexican recipes. The vegan pop-ups have become a very popular concept here in Qatar. I have been approached by chefs and GMs outside the country about it so I’m in the process of expanding it throughout the rest of the Middle East. By creating these pop-ups, I am giving everyone the opportunity to taste great plant-based food and to cull the idea that veganism/plant-based food is just about sprouts and salads. It is a culinary explosion of beautiful flavours, colours and textures.

Connect with Thomene foodbythomene.com

fact magazine 24 • COVER STORY
We chatted to Thomene Dilley Founder of Food by Thomene, who runs vegan food pop-ups around the country, to find out more.


To be fair Zekreet Beach is not exactly a secret, but it’s about 90km out of Doha, so it’s still usually quiet. Set along a limestone escarpment featuring pillars and mushroomshaped rock formations, the clusters of outcrops have a magical quality. Overnight camping is permitted and it’s a great place to escape light pollution for a spot of star gazing. However, be aware there are no shops nearby so, make sure to take everything you need. Also look out for ruins and ancient forts to visit on the Zekreet Peninsula.

Azerbaijani Beach is where the desert meets the sea with fine sands and crystal-clear waters. Set in a small cove on the country’s northeast coast, it is surrounded by mangroves making it a great spot for bird watching. It does get busy but Jet Skis and boats aren’t allowed so the waters are safe for bathers.

Al Jassasiya Beach is said to be one of Qatar’s most beautiful and, on a midweek visit, you might well get the space to yourself. Other than rubbish bins, there are no facilities – the nearest washroom is at a service station around 20 minutes away – so make sure you’re prepared for some splendid isolation.

Fuwairit Kite Beach qualifies for this feature because it’s new and funky. There’s a hotel and loads of water sports facilities making for a great mini-vacay experience. See the mini-feature at the end of this cover story.

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Somewhat surprising for a desert land, the Al Thakira Mangrove Forest is among Qatar’s oldest and largest forests and a real ‘must visit’. A wetland preserve, the fabulous ecosystem attracts migratory birds such as herons and flamingos and the area can be visited on a kayak tour –available even for beginners.

UNESCO Al Reem Biosphere Reserve is found in the northwest of the country and includes gravel plain grazing areas where gazelle and Arabian oryx are found as well as farmland, wildlife breeding centres, artisanal fishing communities, date palm plantations and semi-nomadic animal husbandry. It’s one of Qatar’s most significant reserves and enjoys excellent Government protection.

To reach Al Karaana Lagoons , stay on the Salwa Road (Q5) and take the junction after the Karaana turn and you’ll reach some local signage. Formerly highly polluted with water from a nearby treatment works, in the mid-2000s the Government carried out a serious clean up and now the pools are lush and green supporting lots of birds and fish. Even birds of prey have been reported. It’s a great place for walking and a picnic but, again, there are no facilities so, take what you need.

The largest of the accessible sinkholes in Qatar, Musfur Sinkhole is thought to be between 325,000 and 500,000 years old. Its opening is around 12 metres wide and it drops almost 100 metres into the earth. There are some interesting rock formations and crystals at the base of the cave but, as you would expect, it’s also dark so, take a torch.

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blowing in the right direction. Don’t want to wait for a breeze? You can trigger the sound by walking or sliding down the dunes. Located in the northeast of Qatar, Al Jassasiya is the most impressive of Qatar’s dozen rock-carving sites. It comprises a total of 874 carvings, known as ‘petroglyphs’, the earliest thought to date from Neolithic times. What may appear to be a deserted sandstone quarry is a heritage site packed with mystery. The carvings feature various shapes, including rosettes, fish, ostriches and cup marks. Carvings of dhow boats, which remain in use to this day, offer a direct link to a long ago past.

Qatar Film City is indeed a weird and wonderful spot. Found near Dukhan on the Zekreet desert peninsula it is a replica ancient Bedouin village. It’s thought to have been built as maybe a film or TV location but nobody really knows. What’s certain is that it’s totally deserted and a bit creepy, though great fun to explore and you can have fun tramping through the village square and climbing the turrets. In the same area, look out for Richard Serra’s East-West art installation . This breathtaking sculpture in the Brouq Nature Reserve spans over a kilometre and comprises four steel plates, each over 14 metres tall. To guarantee perfect alignment, Serra examined the topography of the land and beautifully enhanced the vast, desolate space in the heart of the desert. The result, though slightly eerie, is spectacular and both contemporary and timeless. About 40km southwest of Doha, you’ll discover the Singing Sand Dunes a group of high, crescent-shaped dunes which make an strange singing or whistling sound when the wind’s

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There are plenty of bars and restaurants to find live music in Doha, but where do you go if you want something other than a hotel resident band? Turns out there are quite a few spots and a good place to start would be the Doha Players Open Mic Night which takes place at the Shamrock Tavern, Magnum Hotel, on Mondays from 7pm.

It’s run by university English teacher Philip Wren from Mississippi, who’s been in Qatar since 2015, and took over when former organiser Peter Gibson left around 2018. During covid, the open mic even went online with a Facebook Watch Party event. Philip says: “Since then, we’ve been at The Shamrock Tavern, run by the amazing Garvey Brothers, Chris and Melvin. Due to some red tape beyond their control, stand up has been less common there [than at previous venues], but a plethora of amazing musicians have taken the stage as solo acts or bands and throughout the Open Mic history, many local bands have formed, such as Hot Mess, Cats With Manners and many others. The stage is open to anyone of any level, from seasoned professionals like Faraway Martin to Sarah Bolka, who plays with passion and talent, though she isn’t a full-time musician.

“The Open Mic community is my family away from home. Everyone is kind, supportive, and uplifting of everyone who gets on stage.

“I do the organisation and MCing of the event, but I couldn’t do it without the help of some great members, past and present, but specifically Peter Gibson, Barry Romberg (who has sadly returned to Alaska) and Tom Kirkwood.”

You can register to take part at https://signup.com/go/UJqttga

You’ll also find tonnes of local talent at The RPM Festival, organised by The Backyard in collaboration with Rockaway

Beach – both of which put on events throughout the year. After a really strong start last year, it’s back for a second edition this month on May 11 and 12 and will feature more than 15 live bands playing a mix of pop and rock music.

The aim of the festival is to bring together local talent on one stage, giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills and reach a wider audience because, according to organiser

Meli Candela, “music unites everyone” and this year’s fabulous lineup features:

May 11

Midnight Queen

Skoolboi Erra

Under Construction

The Chickpeas

Stiff Upper Lip

May 12


50 Shades of Blues

Fifty Degrees

Alicia & the Elites


Major Fifth

JC Tropical


Crosstown Traffic

The Exiles


The show runs from 6pm to 12pm Thursday and from 1pm to midnight on Friday at The Backyard at Doha Golf Club. Find tickets at www. thebackyarddoha.com

fact magazine 32 • COVER STORY


We caught up with a few of the performers who’ll be taking part.

Thomene Dilley doesn’t just cook. She’s also a talented musician who’ll be on stage with her new band Stiff Upper Lip. She says: “We’re a seven-piece rock band. Every member is epically talented and I chose each member for that exact reason. I started off as a resident singer at Grand Hyatt a few years ago, thanks to

my friend Nicholas Chrisostomou. I then joined the local music scene and joined another band a year before covid hit. Some beautiful collaborations came out of the pandemic when all bands and musicians shared creativity online with sone crazy fun songs and some deeply emotional. Music got us though!

“Stiff Upper lip consists of Vas on lead guitar. He will make your toes curl. His solos are insane. It is as if he is a part of the guitar. Besides me on lead vocals, we also have Youssef as our second lead vocalist. His range is incredible and some notes I am convinced are only audible to animals. He is talented with a great stage presence. Dan is a master on keys. He not only composed music but owns an insane number of guitars and equipment. Stu on rhythm is not only talented on the guitar but sings beautifully and has written and recorded some incredible songs. Phillip on bass is just a presence on his own. Talented nimble fingers with a southern drawl when he sings and speaks. And there is Dario! King of the percussion! Humble, raw talent and a beautiful singing voice too. We do all the epic anthems and all the songs we love.”

Philip Wren of Aleetheia, not surprisingly, got started at the Open Mic nights. He says: “I met two amazing musicians and formed Cats With Manners with them, one of the few acoustic trios in Doha, until they both returned to Canada. But through that, I’ve started a new multinational band called Resident Aliens [they played last year’s RPM] with Alicia Glenn from Canada, Ryan Law from the USA, Patrick Somuah from Ghana, and Eduvegio Momongan from the Philippines. We’re a fun, pop rock focused band who play fun covers from many decades as well as some original music by different band members. I also play bass in a hard rock band called Aleetheia, with talented members from Greece, Brazil, the USA and the UK – we’ll be playing at RPM this year.”

Moxies are Quincy Mallari on vocals, Jhen Bisnar on rhythm guitar and vocals, Neil Ryan Rodriguez on lead guitar, Eli Abejo on bass and Henry Tan Jr. on drums. Quncy says: “We are common friends who are also musicians. We mainly play alternative rock from the ‘90s and 2000s up to the latest with a mix of pop, punk-rock and ‘80s. Our biggest musical influences are from Oasis, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Foo Fighters through to Incubus, Green Day, Muse, Amy Winehouse and more.” And, though the band do write their own songs, they generally don’t play them publicly, so if you catch their spot… you could just ask.

Aside from the regular festivals, keep your eyes open for live music nights and mini-fests at Vikings Club, the Aviary Club, Misturado and Señor Ritas Tex-Mex among others. ✤

They Seek Him Here…

If there’s one Qatar entertainer you don’t want to miss it’s Kerry Suek in his alter-ego as Al Bis – an Arabic take on Elvis. Kerry’s been in the country for 18 years and is described as one of ‘Qatar’s treasures’ who does an insane amount for both friends and strangers and is deeply loved by the expat community. His act is a satirised, Qatarised version of The King’s songs which always gets a great reaction. He may pop up at RPM but, if not, watch out for details of the next Rockaway Beach Festival.

fact magazine 33 COVER STORY •
Moxies Aleetheia Stiff Upper Lip


Stay at Fuwairit Kite Beach, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, this Summer!

Nestled along a natural lagoon on Qatar’s northern coast, this resort reflects and celebrates the kitesurfing lifestyle and is a unique destination for everyone. Fuwairit Kite Beach, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, commonly known as FKB, is the first kitesurfing resort managed by Hilton Worldwide and the first and only operating Tapestry Collection by Hilton property in the Middle East. The spot offers some of the best kitesurfing in the world and the serene location is just an hour’s drive from Doha and Hamad International Airport.

Themed around a Kitesurfer’s lifestyle, the resort boasts 50 rooms and four room categories. With two single beds, the Kite Rooms are designed for guests interested in sharing FKB vibes. These rooms have everything guests need and nothing they don't. Indulge in the splendid view of the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf in the uniquely decorated King Kite Beach Rooms with Sea View, which feature a terrace with relaxing amenities and an outdoor shower. Experience true relaxation in the expansive Twin Kite Beach Rooms with Sea View enhanced with an outdoor hammock and direct beach access. Visiting families can spend time with the little ones in the exquisite Family Connecting Kite Beach Rooms with Sea View, interconnected with a combination of king and twin bedding and featuring the best amenities from the King and Twin Kite Beach Rooms with Sea View.

The resort has two food and drinks outlets. The Rider is the California-inspired-cuisine, all-day-dining restaurant offering

a range of palatable dishes to energise your thrilling kitesurfing adventure. Choose from a healthy menu featuring superfood salads, fish and meat and plant-based dishes. Hang Loose is their sports bar and a great venue to toast with friends and reminisce on moments of adrenaline rushes after a fun-filled day of kitesurfing while gazing at blissful sunsets. Groove to the upbeat music as you sip your concoction enjoying great vibes.

FKB is home to one of the world’s longest kitesurfing seasons, from November through to July, with side onshore wind speeds of 1530 knots. The unique natural setup and shallow water lagoon are perfect for riders of any level and cater to all disciplines, including twin tip, hydrofoil and wing foiling. In addition, the property features an onsite kitesurfing school with courses from zero to hero and equipment rentals.

In addition to Kitesurfing, the resort boasts a range of facilities to keep you engaged during your stay, such as an outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pool, 24-hour fitness centre, padel, beach volleyball and football, outdoor theatre and yoga. ✤

fact magazine 34


FACT spent the day in the new Bentley Bentayga Azure, a luxury vehicle that stands head and shoulders above most would-be premium SUVs.


This month, thanks to Bentley Doha, FACT got to experience the epitome of automobile luxury when given the opportunity to test drive the new generation Bentley Bentayga.

First unveiled in 2015, the Bentayga firmly established a sterling reputation thanks to its attractive design, impressive on-road performance, genuine off-road capabilities and bespoke specifications. The second generation Bentayga is propelling this reputation to new heights as Bentley launches its first extended wheelbase (EWB) edition.


Fortunate enough to get our hands on the enhanced Azure trim, our model exhibited extra special touches, including body-coloured lower bumper grilles and side skirts, along with Azure badging.

At the front end, the elegant Vertical Vane Grille design delivers a visually striking centrepiece, announcing the arrival of this modern SUV in a most memorable manner.

When taking in the SUV’s flanks, the extra 180mm wheelbase of the EWB edition, combined with the proud stance of the 2023 model, endows the new Bentayga with a powerful presence. This sturdy posture is underscored by the model-specific 22inch 10-spoke wheels. The graceful yet commanding lines and curves of this luxury SUV flow effortlessly from bonnet to boot and combine with the slightly sloping roofline to form an aesthetically pleasing profile.

The new Bentayga’s shapely rear end combines oval LED taillights and a unique twin dual exhaust system with integrated lip and roof spoilers, ensuring the vehicle looks as good on departure as it does on arrival.


This luxury SUV has been designed with the rear occupants firmly in mind, which is no surprise considering Bentley’s proud history of producing chauffeur-driven vehicles.

The rear cabin of the Bentayga EWB couples world-class luxury with technical innovation, showcasing craftsmanship and levels of comfort other premium vehicles can only dream of.

In the new Bentayga, Bentley have achieved near perfection with what can only be called simplistic luxury. The brand have not attempted to overpack its SUV with countless quirky features and desperate cries for attention. Instead, they have concentrated on classy inclusions, high-quality materials and attentiveness to the finer details.

The 16-way power-adjustable seating of the new Bentayga provides ventilation, five individual massage programmes and a beautiful diamond-quilted design. The flawlessly symmetrical pattern of the seat back tops was achieved through digital craftsmanship and precision technology.

The extended wheelbase ensures all passengers have ample legroom, while the redesigned front centre console provides improved ergonomics and functionality for the rear passengers. The rear face of the console has been extended to improve interaction with the touchscreen remote and now houses a wireless charging cradle for smartphones.

Infotainment & Connectivity

The Bentayga’s infotainment system is accessed through a 10.9-inch display and features a small rotary knob for additional control. This intuitive setup is compatible with Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto (cable). Paired with a fully digital instrument cluster, the high-quality screen displays a traditional speedometer and tachometer, along with a detailed map and night vision camera.

The top-of-the-line Naim audio system proved to be one of our favourite internal features of the new Bentayga. Equipped as standard in our Azure model, the sound quality was amongst the clearest and fullest we’ve ever experienced.

Safety & Assistance

As one would expect from a Bentley, the Bentayga has been equipped with a full suite of advanced safety and driver assistance features. These include, but are not limited to, crash mitigation and detection systems, ABS brakes, traction and stability control and a rear-view camera.

The Touring specification includes a head-up display, lane-keep assist, traffic assist, lane departure warning and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Dual front and rear side curtains, along with front and rear thorax bags, have also been equipped as standard on all Azure models.

Power & Performance

The most memorable moment of our Bentayga experience was the firing up of the engine. The Bentayga EWB is powered by Bentley’s 4.0-litre, 32-valve, dual twin-scroll turbocharged V8 petrol engine. Coupled with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, this SUV delivers a supercar performance in Sport Mode, producing 542bhp and 568lb.ft of torque. This potent powertrain enables the car to surge from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds and to achieve a top speed of 290km/h.

fact magazine 38 • CITY RIDES
fact magazine 39 CITY RIDES •
The rear cabin of the Bentayga EWB couples world-class luxury with technical innovation, showcasing craftsmanship and levels of comfort other premium vehicles can only dream of.”

Our Verdict

We thoroughly enjoyed the smooth and quiet ride delivered by this premium SUV. The ample power combined with proficient suspension and braking systems meant a superb on-road experience.

The Bentley Bentayga Azure EWB delivers an exquisite all-round experience exclusively reserved for those purchasing the upper echelons of the luxury SUV segment. ✤

fact magazine 40


Alfardan Sports Motors, the official Ferrari Importer in Qatar, provided high-profile clients an exclusive drive opportunity.

Enthusiasts were invited to the St. Regis Marsa Arabia – The Pearl Island, to drive the 296 GTB and GTS models, which encapsulate the concepts of fun to drive both with the roof up and roof down. Guests were invited to mingle in a special outdoor area at the hotel; the first time the space has been activated. Ferrari clients were joined by members of the Corinthia Yacht Club to embrace the luxury hospitality and catering offered by the St. Regis team. Test drives of both the 296 GTB and GTS were offered throughout the afternoon, lending an exhilarating backdrop to the occasion and performance-filled energy.

The 296 GTB, which features a sporty, sinuous design and extremely compact dimensions, redefines the whole concept of fun behind the wheel. The model dares to challenge the rules, ensuring pure emotions not just when pushing the car to its limits, but also in day-to-day driving situations.

The 296 GTB, which gets its name through the combination of the car’s total displacement (2.992l) and number of cylinders with the GTB (Gran Turismo Berlinetta) acronym, ushered in an authentic revolution for Ferrari as it has introduced a new engine type to flank the marque’s multi-award-winning 8- and 12-cylinder power units: a 663 cv 120° V6 coupled with an electric motor capable of delivering a further 122kW.

The 296 GTB’s plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system guarantees it is an

incredibly usable car as well as cutting pedal response times to zero and delivering a 25km range in all-electric eDrive mode. The car’s compact dimensions and the introduction of innovative dynamic control systems as well as meticulously honed aero ensure that the driver will instantly experience its astonishing agility and responsiveness to commands.

The 296 GTS flanks the 296 GTB in redefining the whole concept of fun to drive, but with Ferrari’s famous RHT (retractable hard top) adding a thrilling extra dimension. ✤


fact magazine 42
Ferrari enthusiasts got the chance to experience the latest offering from the Prancing Horse brand.
reservations.doha@anantara com T: +974 4040 5050 For inquiries and bookings: Call or WhatsApp +974 5015 7560 Email bsunda@anantara.com Celebrate an anniversary, a special birthday, or a surprise proposal in extraordinary settings by the beach. Choose from a gourmet collection of menus, or design your own in collaboration with your own chef for the evening. All arrangements are taken care of by your butler, including a custom cake, flower bouquets, and other personalised details. A unique private dining experience for your special occasion.


The latest iteration of the popular mid-size saloon sees a comprehensive makeover with new front-end styling, along with expanded standard safety features and available technologies.

Premium Design Factors

The most prominent feature of the 2023 Nissan Altima is a new front fascia, with an updated expression of Nissan's V-Motion grille that delivers a distinctively sporty design and adopts the redesigned brand logo. The Sport grade receives a special grille, unique SR emblem and black-chrome finish.

For 2023, a new exterior colour – Ethos Grey – has been added exclusively for the Sport grade and joins the previously available palette of Scarlet Ember Tintcoat (premium colour), Brilliant Silver Metallic, Grey Sky Pearl, Super Black, Red Burgundy, Pearl White TriCoat, Glacier White and Deep Blue Pearl.

The 2023 Nissan Altima interior offers a near-luxury feel in both design and materials – including revised instrument panel finishings across all trims and a new dual-stitch interior fabric design and carbon-fibre trim for the Sport model.

Upgraded Technology

Among the enhancements for the 2023 model year are the additions of a new 12.3-inch HD colour display with multitouch control and wireless Apple CarPlay integration available as standard on Altima SV and SL grades. Marking its firstever addition within the Nissan Middle East lineup, Wireless Android Auto compatibility is also available on the 2023 Altima SV and SL grades.

The selection of audio and infotainment choices includes an available nine-speaker Bose Premium Audio system and Active Noise Cancellation. Standard USB-A and USB-C ports offer enhanced connectivity for drivers and passengers, as well as wireless charging available on select grades. The vehicle is equipped with a Remote Engine Start System available with Intelligent Climate Control on the SV and SL trims.

Advanced Powertrains and Performance

The 2023 Nissan Altima is available with a choice of two four-cylinder engine configurations, a 2.0-litre Variable Compression (VC) Turbo engine and a 2.5-litre Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) DOHC engine. Exclusively on the Altima SL model, the four-cylinder VC-Turbo delivers 248hp and 380Nm of torque, with a fuel economy of 16.4km/l.

Available throughout the Altima lineup is an advanced 2.5-litre DOHC inline four-cylinder direct injection engine, which is rated at 188hp and 244Nm of torque, while delivering fuel economy ratings of 17.6km/l. All 2023 Altima models come equipped with a standard Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).

Increased Safety

The 2023 Nissan Altima boasts the brand's advanced ProPILOT system – available as standard on Altima SL and optional on SV. ProPILOT utilises a forward-facing camera, forward-facing radar, sensors and an electronic control module to help drivers stay in the centre of the driving lane, maintain a driver-set vehicle speed, as well as maintain a preset distance to the preceding vehicle if the vehicle speed drops. Standard on all 2023 Nissan Altima SV and SL grades is Safety Shield 360, which features front, side and rear safety monitoring and intervention technologies including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, radar-based blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and high beam assist.

Nassim Mourani, General Manager Automotive Group at exclusive dealer Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Company, said: “Since 1992, the Nissan Altima has offered motorists style and durability. Today we are delighted to introduce car enthusiasts in Qatar to the new Nissan Altima 2023 – a sedan that builds upon its rich legacy, staying relevant to today’s demands.” ✤ GO: CALL 800 0505 FOR MORE INFORMATION.

fact magazine 44
A striking new look and upgraded tech were showcased at the Middle East launch of the 2023 Nissan Altima.
fact magazine 45


As Lamborghini celebrates its 60th anniversary, the marque is looking to the future with the Revuelto.

Automobili Lamborghini has presented the Revuelto, its first super sports V12 hybrid plug-in HPEV (high performance electrified vehicle) which boasts unprecedented new architecture; innovative design; maximum-efficiency aerodynamics; and a new carbon frame concept.

An output of 1,001hp is delivered from the combined power of an entirely new combustion engine together with three electric motors, alongside a double-clutch gearbox that makes its debut on a 12-cylinder Lamborghini for the first time.

The powertrain combines high specific power elements: the new 125hp/litre combustion engine works synergically with two front axial flux motors that deliver an outstanding weightto-power ratio. The three electric motors are powered by a lithium-ion high specific power (4500 W/kg) battery pack that also supports a fully-electric drive mode.

Carbon fibre is the principal structural element within the new car, used not only in the monofuselage and frame but also for many elements of the bodywork. The extensive use of this and other lightweight materials, combined with the potent engine

power, contributes to achieving the best weight-to-power ratio in the history of Lamborghini: 1.75 kg/CV.

The new Revuelto combines these attributes to deliver performance figures at the peak of its segment: acceleration from 0-100km/h in only 2.5 seconds and a top speed of more than 350km/h. These numbers combine with its exceptional dynamism thanks to the introduction of electric torque vectoring and four-wheel drive available also in fully-electric drive mode, ensuring the Revuelto shows its paces both on the track and in daily driving. ✤



This fabulous super sports car promises a distinctive on-road encounter, enhanced by a convertible glass rooftop that can quickly change from transparent to opaque, creating a rich, multifaceted driving atmosphere.

The vehicle is equipped with the groundbreaking V6 Nettuno motor, taking it to a maximum speed of 325km/h and enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in a mere 2.9 seconds. Additionally, carbon fibre framework ensures exceptional torsional stiffness, resulting in extraordinary control both on the streets and the racetrack.

The MC20 Cielo boasts a stunning and refined appearance that truly captures attention, with no unnecessary elements in its design. The introductory edition showcases a novel three-layer metallic hue called Acquamarina, available through the Maserati Fuoriserie customisation initiative.

Charly Dagher, Maserati General Manager in Qatar, said: "We are enthusiastic about introducing this remarkable vehicle to Qatar. The MC20 Cielo embodies Maserati's dedication to innovation and design and we are certain it will surpass the anticipations of our discerning clientele in the region." ✤


fact magazine 46
The first Maserati MC20 Cielo in the country made its Qatar debut at Alfardan Sports Motors, the brand’s official importer.



fact magazine 47


Ember launches the first self-warming baby bottle system to assist parents.

Ember, a technology company that creates, designs and develops temperature-control products, has launched the Ember Baby Bottle System that warms milk or formula at the touch of a button. The device ensures safe and even warming using convection current technology along with triple-check safety features. Multiple sensors detect temperature and liquid levels, to ensure every bottle is warmed precisely and at just the right heat to preserve nutrients while eliminating hotspots. The system includes two 175-ml bottles which are ergonomically designed and dishwasher safe. An insulating thermal dome keeps milk cool at home or on-the-go for around four hours until you’re ready to heat it. A smart warming puck warms the bottle wherever you are with a charge capacity for two feedings. The puck features LED lights that indicate when the milk is warming and also displays the battery life status for extra convenience. All parts of the baby bottle system that come into contact with milk or formula are made from BPA-free materials, found in various types of plastics, and are food safe. Additionally, the system comes with an accompanying Ember Baby app that provides users an integrated smart solution to

assist with preparing, tracking and monitoring feedings as well as the baby’s growth.



Capture golden moments with the Instax Mini 12 – the latest in Fujifilm's lineup of entry-level instant cameras.

The Mini 12 comes in a compact and cute balloon-like design that’s loaded with easy-to-use modes and controls. The camera has the Instax feature that allows users to produce photo prints on the spot, making for a fun way to snap photographs.

Accessing functions is simple as users can twist the lens to turn the camera on, twist again for the close-up mode – that’s ideal for distances of 30cm to 50cm making it perfect for selfies – and then, a third twist turns the device off. The Mini 12 features include the popular Automatic Exposure function from the earlier model, in which the camera automatically determines the correct exposure for a given scene.

This is the first entry-level Instax to have a function that prevents discrepancies between the viewfinder field that you look through while clicking and the actual printout area, in close-ups. When taking a selfie, the Selfie Mirror beside the lens can be used to check the composition of a finished print while shooting. Additionally, the new Instax Up app helps users store all their photos digitally, in one place. They can simply scan their physical Instax photos with a smartphone to turn them into sharable, digital photos that can be edited, tagged and saved. The camera is available in five playful colours: Pastel Blue, Mint Green, Blossom Pink, Lilac Purple and Clay White. ✤


fact magazine 48 • PLUGGED IN


Huawei’s latest innovation combines a smartwatch and True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds in a single convenient device.

The Huawei Watch Buds is a smartwatch that houses the earbuds inside it. With just one push of the crown, the dial pops up like a pocket watch. The two earbuds are held on the other side of the dial with the help of an attachable magnetic design. The buds can be taken out smoothly from any angle without having to exert any force.

The Watch Buds comes with a stainless steel case, a 1.43-inch circular AMOLED screen and a full-grain leather strap. The device weighs only 66.5g excluding the strap, while each individual earbud comes in at 4g making them easy and light to wear. The earbuds have a compact form and in-ear design that provides good passive noise cancellation. It weakens surrounding ambient noise when the active noise cancellation function is switched on. The buds also come with innovative wide-area touch controls. Users can just tap their ears to access multiple functions such as answering or rejecting a call, playing or pausing a song and even enabling or disabling noise cancellation.

Moreover, the Huawei Watch Buds include various fitnesstracking functions such as sleep tracking and analysis, blood

oxygen level check and smart heart rate monitoring. The device has a battery life of three days and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices through the Huawei Health Connect app. ✤



Sennheiser has launched the Profile USB Microphone offering an easy and stylish solution for enhanced streaming and podcasting applications.

With the steady rise of podcasting and streaming content across the world, the Profile USB Microphone with a cardioid condenser was created to provide a simplistic plug-and-play device that offers high-quality audio and design. Cardioid mics pick up sounds from the front only and condenser mics are very sensitive to sound, which allows this product to offer a sharp audio quality. Suitable for those starting out and seasoned professionals alike, the device delivers a natural, warm sound that accentuates the body and presence of the human voice.

The Profile USB Microphone has three fundamental controls: Gain Control to adjust the sensitivity of the mic, effectively setting the level for users’ sessions. Mix Control can be used to balance the microphone with users’ device audio and monitor what matters most in the mix. A dedicated Volume Control is available to set headphone audio levels, while a softtouch mute button allows users to silence their microphone discreetly. A multi-function LED ring turns from green to orange to indicate when the signal is too hot with distortions. Quality audio is dependent on microphone placement. The Profile Streaming Set features an adjustable boom arm with a sleek and modern design, ideal for on-camera applications.

Integrated cable management and an included three-metre USB-C cable provide flexibility with positioning and help to maintain a clutter-free workspace. ✤


fact magazine 50 • PLUGGED IN


What’s on the smartphone agenda for May?

Strava Planta

Always wanted a few plants for your home? But properly caring for them seemed too daunting of a task?

Planta is a dedicated plant-care app that helps users from the basic step of identifying a plant and goes up all the way to providing them with suitable recommendations and techniques to keep their floral friends alive and thriving.

The app gives users detailed plant-keeping guides in a short and simplistic format that aids in everything from choosing the right type of pot and figuring out a correct watering schedule with timely reminders to finding the best placement for your plant in the different light conditions of your rooms, and more. Planta helps with cacti, succulents, foliage plants, flowering plants, orchids, herbs and even vegetables.

Additionally, when the plant isn’t doing too well, the app also helps users to figure out what’s wrong and set up a treatment plan.

Strava is a popular fitness app, which smartly incorporates social network features to motivate users. The app is favoured among those with a competitive edge as it allows users to set goals, track their progress and then share, connect and compete with others on the platform.

Strava methodically records everything from runs, rides and hikes to yoga and more than 30 other activity types giving users detailed feedback on their performance.

The app includes a Routes feature that recommends popular routes or walking tracks based on users’ preferences but without giving out personal information of the person the route belongs to. For those who like to venture off onto unbeaten paths for their hikes, rides, etc., the app shares users’ realtime location with their loved ones while outdoors for an extra layer of safety.

Users can join and create challenges to collect digital badges that encourage them to stay accountable.

Strava is easily compatible with thousands of fitness devices including Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin.

fact magazine 52 • PLUGGED IN

An exquisite traditional tea lounge that will make you feel at home.

With a cup of our delicious Karak and a wide selection of pastries and food. The concept draws inspiration from the ancient Khaleeji music and traditions of the region in a modern concept. Please contact us on:

Al Maha Island : +974 5100 0368 / Lusail Boulevard : +974 5106 6622 / Mall Of Qatar : +974 5000 1335 KarakiLounge

In Conversation with… Cyril Mouawad

fact magazine 54 • 5 OVER 5
The Multi-Property General Manager for Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel and Marriott Executive Apartments, Doha talks pride in his team and a fun encounter.

Congratulations on taking over one of the largest hotel complexes in Qatar. What is it about these properties that makes them stand out from the crowd?

I am very excited about my new role with the two iconic Marriott hotels in Qatar. Our properties continue to offer world-class services and products to our guests consistently. Every hotel can talk about how good their design, location, facilities etc. are, which are common in most hotels. At the end, our associates make the difference. We engage our team members to own the hotels' business strategy and empower them to curate comprehensive solutions for our guests. Having clear communication and training motivates them to make a positive impact on our guest experience. Personalised experiences foster loyalty beyond reason and will make Marriott Marquis City Center Doha and Marriott Executive Apartements stand out as a preferred destination for our guests. Sustainability and inclusiveness are two other strong pillars I advocate in everything we do, which will have a long-lasting impact on our customers directly and indirectly.

Between them, the properties boast 12 dining destinations. If you had to recommend just one for visitors to try, which would it be and why?

All the venues are part of the same family and I choose them based on my cravings of the day and time. Each dining concept we have offers something different. If I am craving meat, I would go to New York Steakhouse or Ipanema. As an ardent fan of Italian cuisine, I am yet to find any venue in Qatar better than Cucina. I make a pit stop at Quick Bites while I am rushing through a busy schedule for a quick breakfast or lunch. It is difficult to pick one of them as they all cater to different moods and cravings. I had the tastiest burger ever at Farmore Thn Burger at Marriott Executive Apartments and thus, they all are unique in their offerings.

You have been in hotels for almost 25 years, what is the funniest or strangest thing you have experienced or seen during that time?

There are so many stories which are very close to my heart and unfortunately can’t be shared to respect confidentiality and privacy. We are in a people business and our days start and end with conversations with our guests. We receive so many unusual requests on a day-to-day basis and I can highlight something unique from one of our guests without specifying the hotel or location. A customer once had a special condition which meant he could not fall asleep if he was alone in his room. My kindhearted bell desk team were taking turns to wait in his room until he fell asleep many times during his stay.

What is your favourite thing about working in the hospitality industry?

Personally, I am very passionate about this Industry and I get priceless gratification when I see guest appreciation and positive feedback about our team and their services. Our hotels are global crossroads where guests from around the world come together and mingle. The contentment we get when we see those guests happy cannot be matched with experience from any other industry, I feel. Many of these guests become great friends too.

What three things would you recommend for visitors to Qatar to see, do or experience?

Qatar is a cultural hotspot and there is a lot to discover in the destination. Whatever the purpose of travel, a bit of exploration will create memories to cherish forever. Three of my favourite locations are Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural village and Sheikh Faisal Museum which gives a new perspective on the destination and its cultural heritage. ✤

fact magazine 55 5 OVER 5 •


fact magazine 56
Chef Esat Levent Akyildiz, Director of Culinary, Le Royal Méridien Doha, on losing his kitchen fury and finding balance.

You started your culinary career at the young age of just 15, how could you be sure, so early, that this was the career for you?

My mum and I were together in the kitchen almost every day. I loved to eat what my mum was cooking and I helped her since childhood. I always felt comfortable in the kitchen and, after a couple of summers working in restaurants, I decided to get a proper culinary education. I actually started seriously at around 18 or 19 years old.

You’ve said that you see cooking as a way of life rather than a job. What do you mean by this and how do you promote your motto of ‘have fun at work’?

I have never seen my job as a regular nine-to-five, going by a schedule. I’ve worked early mornings and late nights, never checking the time. Or, if necessary, I work during the night. Once you don’t really check the time and forget yourself, what you are doing becomes your lifestyle, your permanent hobby rather than a profession. At the end of the day, we spend most of our time in the kitchen. Most chefs (real chefs, not those you see on TV) work under pressure, underground not seeing sunshine often. You have to cook and prep for a lot of people and it’s long hours. It’s actually a very serious job which needs a lot of focus and brings stress. For many years, I was like a devil in the kitchen, always angry, furious. One day, I realised that doesn’t help anybody, especially myself, and I changed to have a positive mindset. If we keep discipline, respect each other, the work we are doing will still will be done whether we are angry or happy at the end of the day.

Over the course of your career, you’ve had some amazing experiences from greeting 3,000 Eurovision Song Contest attendees and catering for dignitaries at the G20 Future

Investment Initiative and OSCE summit to taking part in the 2016 Gourmet Ski Safari in the Italian Alps and cooking for UN Members at a gala dinner and business lunch. Is there one event that particularly stands out and do you have any funny stories to share?

One event I did was catering to an international military exercise with high protocol and royal families in attendance. It was in the middle of nowhere 600km away from hotel I used to work at, and we catered for more than 1,000 guests. We created all the kitchens and dining rooms from scratch, I enjoyed planning and leading that event a lot. Also, did you know we did the openings for most of the luxury stores in Place Vendôme Mall but at that time our hotel was not even opened yet? I had fun with the team doing all that organisation from scratch.

You are Director of Culinary at Le Royal Méridien Doha but also founder of the hotel’s Yed7 by Chef Esat, which showcases the cuisine of your native Türkiye. What would you consider your signature dish and what makes it popular?

As the Director of Culinary at Le Royal Méridien Doha and founder of Yedi by Chef Esat, I am thrilled to showcase the vibrant and flavourful cuisine of my native Türkiye. Our mezzes are always a crowd-pleaser, boasting unique recipes that capture the essence of Turkish flavours. But our signature dishes, from the indulgent LahMacun tartar to the savoury Yedi Kibbeh (pictured), the refreshing Levrek seabass, and the mouth-watering Manti and Lokal chicken, are true standouts. Each dish tells a captivating story, making them truly one-of-a-kind and unmatched even in Türkiye's culinary scene. You won't find these extraordinary dishes anywhere else, and we are excited to share them with our valued customers at Yedi.✤

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Masala Library, located in the luxurious Fairmont Doha, the most exciting new addition to Doha’s vibrant culinary scene, promises an unforgettable sensory tour through the diverse flavours of India. The restaurant’s philosophy draws on the mastery of restaurateur, television host and author Jiggs Kalra, an approach synthesised over more than four decades of research to celebrate taste, tradition and authenticity.

Through the grandeur of centuries-old customs and the finesse of post-molecular techniques, contemporary Indian cuisine is reborn at Masala Library. Guests are invited to journey through the culinary traditions of the Subcontinent and beyond, from Bangladesh and Bhutan to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, swept away by flavour and emotion.

The immersive dining experience at Masala Library is structured into four distinct and theatrical acts, each with a unique cultural and geographical expression. The first act, Indian Forest, invites guests to explore the lush and verdant forests of India through earthy and woodsy fragrant dishes.

The second, Oceanic Waves, pays homage to the diverse and flavourful cuisine of novel and familiar seafood, elevated through cutting-edge culinary techniques.

The third, Songs of Fire, is a transcendent exploration of robust

and bold flavours from the wealth of India's rich heritage featuring kebabs and curries. These dishes are prepared on open fire and tandoor clay ovens, infusing them with distinct charred flavours that tantalise the taste buds.

Finally, Hymns of the Himalayas, the concluding act, is an ode to the mighty mountains. This finale dessert sequence celebrates the characteristics of the Himalayas, providing a sweet and satisfying conclusion to the culinary journey.

Paying tribute to the country's legendary hospitality, Masala Library has launched the Royal Indian Thali, where guests can have a transportive lunch experience featuring a rich and diverse selection of culinary delights, including dishes such as daal, biryani, chicken, tiger prawns, sea bass and smoked Indian goat, all elevated with modern flair using the finest ingredients and spices sourced from Doha's local souqs.

Guests can book the Royal Indian Thali every Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, with prices starting at QR195 per person for a vegetarian menu or QR245 per person for non-vegetarian.✤

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Masala Library takes diners on an exciting journey through India’s many and varied cuisines.


The French Riviera has found its Qatar home at Al Maha Island. Luke Bennett headed to LPM to for a taste of the Mediterranean.

Bright, white walls depicting colourful images of a Mediterranean lifestyle greet you on arrival at LPM, an elegant, fine-dining restaurant harmonising food, drink and atmosphere to create a unique and unforgettable experience. Walk through the large, glassed doors and you’ll instantly be swept off to the French Riviera: every detail immerses you further into the illusion that you’re dining along the Côte d'Azur from the opulent décor to the refined menu to the stylish, well-dressed hosts who welcome you with a smile and an air of sophistication.

LPM’s charismatic interior offers an insight into the Belle Époque period of history when France experienced a wealth of artistic and cultural development. An eye-catching, polished welcome bar sits at one end of the restaurant opposed by an open serving area where chefs weave their culinary magic both centred by an imposing yet charming grape section. The stylish ambience is elevated further with the addition of contemporary, vibrant street art that offers an intriguing juxtaposition to the 19th century theme that radiates throughout the restaurant.

Given LPM’s idyllic location along Al Maha boulevard, we chose to seat ourselves on the spacious decking that gifts you impressive, sweeping views across Lusail Marina, adding another memorable detail to your visit. Still mesmerised by the scenery, Kato (our friendly waiter for the evening) arrived to explain that the menu is a celebration of the finest ingredients from the French Riviera and an à la minute cooking approach is utilised: each dish is cooked to order and instantly brought to your table to ensure ultimate freshness with the option to share and savour amongst your dining party.

The extensive hors d’oeuvres menu offers up a tantalising variety of symbolic dishes perfect for sharing. The first dish to

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appear was a French classic – Terrine De Foie Gras. The smooth texture ensured it was satisfyingly easy to spread across the accompanying sweet, perfectly toasted brioche. The addition of salt, pepper and balsamic provided a wonderful harmony to the rich, buttery taste of the pâte. Bringing a touch of freshness to the table was a Salade De Chou-Fleur, a delightful concoction of al dente cauliflower varying in colours and textures. The salad was lightly dressed with a flavoursome almond and caraway sauce that left a distinctive aftertaste on the palate and a sprinkling of sweet golden raisins and salty capers added further depth of flavour. The menu boasts an assortment of carpaccio for diners to choose from and Carpaccio De Sériole Du Japon did not disappoint. Delicate slices of yellowtail engulfed by a punchy citrus sauce with sweet undertones sat gracefully on a bed of silky guacamole. The star of the hors d’oeuvres was a dish synonymous with the finest French cuisine: Escargots De Bourgogne. Now, some readers may be slightly cautious about tasting snails, but I’d encourage you to try something new; there’s a reason snails are considered a delicacy! An alluring aroma signified the arrival of this exquisitely presented dish, and the use of steel tongs makes for an even more memorable experience. Each morsel of snail was surprisingly meaty in texture and smothered in a rich garlic butter that elevated the taste to unforgettable heights.

LPM’s desire to source and serve only the highest quality ingredients is evident and the skilful chefs meticulously prepare each course with subtle enhancements to showcase the excellent produce. Two signature dishes that prove this point and are a definite ‘must-try’ during your visit were the Coquelet Au Citron Confît and Côtelettes D’Agneau Vivienne. Extremely tender, the juicy fibres of the chicken were flawlessly matched with a flavourful layer of crispy skin. A touch of sweetness and zest along with a delectable depth of flavour are gifted by

marinade that coats the spatchcocked chicken. Grabbing our attention with their stylish plating, the lamb cutlets were generous in size and exceptional in both taste and texture. The expertly rendered, smoky exterior offers a delightfully crispy and salty element to match the succulent lamb flesh marinated in a palate-pleasing blend of honey, lemon zest and thyme. A flavoursome aubergine and pine nut caviar brought a luxurious, silky spread to enhance each delectable cutlet. Partnering the exceptional main courses, we opted for fresh and crunchy stems of broccolini lightly brushed in olive oil and chilli alongside a creamy potato gratin with a joyously crisp top layer and the subtle sweetness of nutmeg.

Bringing our delightful dining experience to an end, we were served two enticing, well-known desserts. First, the quintessentially French Crѐme Brûlée À La Vanille. Plunging my fork through the thin, caramelised shell resulted in the symbolic and highly satisfying ‘snap’ and revealed a creamy yet refreshingly light vanilla custard. To follow was a refined wedge of vanilla cheesecake with a delicate, crumbly base, partnered with a berry compote that brought a pleasurable sharpness to complement the velvety, rich taste of the cream cheese.

Throughout the evening, an attentive sommelier suggested the ideal accompanying beverages for each course and was yet another example of LPM’s attention to detail. Romantic setting. Classy ambience. Outstanding service. Exceptional food. LPM certainly has all the ingredients to ensure diners have the finest, authentic experience of French cuisine. ✤

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Luke Bennett marked a significant anniversary for one of Doha’s favourite Chinese eateries and discovered excellence is the secret to longevity.

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January 2013 would prove to be a significant and highly rewarding moment for Doha’s culinary scene: the doors of Hakkasan excitedly swung open, gifting an exquisite celebration of Chinese cuisine. Fast forward a decade and it remains at the pinnacle, still intent on displaying outstanding hospitality. Stepping eagerly through the retracting door, we were instantly absorbed by the mysterious atmosphere exuding from every inch of the opulent establishment. The stylish, interior décor seamlessly spills onto the outdoor terrace where dark, geometric partitions harmonise with lush greenery to offer an intimate, al fresco experience. The iconic sounds of a Hakkasan restaurant subtly reverberate across the tables, heightening the sophisticated ambience.

Upon taking our seats, we were welcomed by an extremely friendly waitress by the name of Karma who suggested different courses to taste and emanated a true passion for her profession. A passion that clearly extends to the whole team as Duleep, the Restaurant Manager, offered his own expert description of their culinary philosophy as the dishes started to arrive.

Since the inception of the Hakkasan brand in 2001, the Crispy Duck Salad has been delighting diners worldwide, and it is obvious to see why this signature dish has withstood the test of time. Braised in a concoction of warming aromatics then lightly fried, the sumptuous fibres of duck are both delightfully tender and exceptionally crispy. Complementing the breathtaking meat is a refreshing bundle of cress infused with a saccharine plum and hoisin dressing. Offering a balancing touch of sharpness are segments of pomelo and grapefruit that complete this refined, memorable salad. The sight of the legendary bamboo basket meant only one thing: the arrival of the Supreme Dim Sum Platter. Removing the bamboo

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lid revealed a sea of vivid colour and artistic design. Light yet flavoursome, each charming parcel was generously filled with a variety of meat and encased in an expertly steamed layer of dough. A black, pyramid-like casing with golden edges housed a palatepleasing mix of seabass and ginger while an ocean-blue shell enclosed a delightful blend of Wagyu beef with a hint of black garlic. The art of creating dumplings has certainly been perfected as the Hakka Fried Dim Sum Platter showcased yet more intricate and fascinating designs. A rich and flavourful fusion of Waygu beef and mushroom wrapped in a crispy, caterpillar-like shell was by far the best dumpling I have tasted. An element of fun was offered by a pumpkin-themed ball with a gamey duck filling; an explosion of flavours burst from a fiery, red sphere with a sweet and sour lobster, lychee and yuzu centre. Dim Sum translates to ‘touch the heart’. Our hearts were certainly touched by the assortment of dumplings that brought awe and wonder to the table. Creative. Passionate. Skilful. Words that perfectly define both the chefs and bartenders showcasing their craft at Hakkasan. Such innovation and expertise are evident in the highly pleasurable mocktails we were served to complement the outstanding food. The signature blend of Sparkling San gifted a wonderfully fresh hit of raspberry and an interesting undertone of tamarind whilst Eden celebrated the sweetness of red grape elevated with lychee and soda.

Now back to the food and Hakkasan’s infatuation with sourcing only the finest ingredients to honour with subtle, contemporary enhancements. Jasmine Tea Smoked Wagyu Beef Ribs encompass this belief perfectly and proved to be extremely moreish – a dish you’d rather not share. Stylishly stacked, the cubes of beef were delectably succulent as a result of the lengthy braising, yet expertly rendered in the wok. A highly pleasurable combination of textural elements was matched by the intriguing flavours of a delicate coating of intense, sweet sauce and the

smoky aroma of tea leaves.

The next delectable dish arrived in the form of Stir-fry Black Pepper Rib Eye Beef. A different cut, infused with a sharper marinade of pepper and Worcestershire sauce, was equally impressive. The considered addition of fried garlic chips provided an exciting ‘snap’ to the tender nuggets of beef, all of which were delicately embraced in a nest of crispy, edible netting. To end the festival of expertly prepared meat dishes was a vibrant, generous chunk of Grilled Chilean Seabass. Gently brushed in a luscious Chinese honey glaze, the fibres of fish were pleasurably caramelised on the outside, yet the soft and juicy interior was effortlessly teased apart with a pinch of my chopsticks. After more enjoyable interactions with the staff, the desserts were bestowed upon us. Fresh and creamy, stylish and graceful, the Coconut Semifreddo was satisfyingly smooth on the palate and refreshingly light - still delivering on flavour which was further enhanced with pops of sweet mango gel and a dusting of a crumbly biscuit soil. Karma ended our evening with a sprinkle of theatre as she deftly poured chocolate sauce over an eyecatching sphere of Hazelnut Parfait. Crack through the nutty shell to unveil a velvety, rich chocolate parfait with a burst of caramel oozing from its centre. A magnificent harmony of nuts and chocolate, sided with crunchy, candied shards, created a wonder of textures.

As I joyfully reminisce about our exceptional evening, a multitude of reasons why Hakkasan is sure to reign supreme for another decade race through my mind: distinctive ambience, extraordinary hospitality, sublime food and a highly memorable experience. ✤

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Hannah Nesbitt took at trip to Jamavar Doha to discover the tastes of the Indian sub-continent.

Agreat find, at the lower ground floor of the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel on The Corniche waterside, is Jamavar. With sister restaurants in both India and London, this venue is certain to fulfil your finedining, pan-Indian desires.

Offering a variety of menus, ranging from à la carte and takeaway to four- and six-course taster menus, complete with drinks pairings, there is sure to be a menu to suit your requirements. The restaurant offers the choice of both meat and vegetarian options and caters carefully to any dietary requests.

The elegance of the red-carpet staircase leads you to the entrance of this stylish and inviting space. Despite the restaurant being busy with weeknight diners when we went, the tables felt well-spaced out and the use of mirrors and multi-level seating meant the areas didn't feel overlooked. The low lighting created an intimate atmosphere that was perfect for a relaxing dining experience and it was easy to lose track of time as we sat there, enjoying the ambience and delightful background music.

Restaurant Manager Rohan extended a warm welcome and was pleased to engage us in conversation about their most celebrated and popular dishes. Offering descriptions of each dish, including its origins and extensive lists of ingredients used. He was also able to suggest suitable drinks to complement the flavours of the dishes.

The Himalayan Ananas was a refreshing mix of chilled pineapple, blueberry, redcurrant, vanilla, passionfruit and strawberry juices. The combination of sweet and tangy flavours was beautifully blended and the quirky pineapple

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serving glass added the extra finishing touch. A selection of skilfully designed starters was brought to the table, displaying an interesting blend of colours and textures, pleasing to all the senses. The Palak Patte Ki Chaat is a cold dish featuring crunchy baby spinach, topped with pomegranate, yogurt and date and tamarind chutney. The blend of sweet and savoury was a delicious surprise, and the flavours were perfectly balanced. It was a light dish in a suitably sized, individual portion.

The Nadan Prawn Roast offered a plentiful supply of Kerala spiced prawns, which worked together with the flavours of the white onion to create a mouth-watering morsel. The heat from the spices was not too overwhelming and gently warmed the palate. As advised by Rohan, a delicate squeeze of lime gave the finishing touch and an additional zesty flavour. The prawns were expertly cooked and topped with freshly sliced slivers of coconut, adding a crunchy bite. It was the perfect dish for sharing. The hand-dived, seared scallops of the Scallop Moilee were by far, a standout dish. Two large scallops sat bathing in a delicious creamy coconut sauce, topped with zingy ginger relish, plantain crisps made a wonderful final addition to the presentation. The combinations of spices and flavours continued as we moved on to the main dishes. Once again, the chef produced unique flavour profiles, presented and served excellently by the waiting staff.

The Calicut Sea Bass Curry was a dish of local sea bass, turmeric and Malabar tamarind. The fish was cooked to perfection, flaking away into the curry, which was not too spicy, allowing us to enjoy the natural flavours of the flesh.

We couldn’t resist trying the well-loved, Old Delhi Butter Chicken, which was equally delightful, featuring tandoor-roasted chicken, cashew, fresh tomato and fenugreek. The chicken was succulent and the sauce rich and creamy. As no curry dish is complete without a rice option, we opted for the pulao rice, which was a perfect accompaniment, featuring soft and fluffy saffron basmati rice, whose exquisite smells drifted delightfully from its serving dish. Additional vegetarian dishes included the Saag Paneer, a cottage cheese dish with spinach, tomato, fenugreek and fresh chilli, a delightful side that complemented the flavours of our mains. To complete our main courses, our final dish was served fresh from the tandoor – a traditional clay oven used to roast meats and bake breads – the Adraki Lamb Chops; three, sizeable and flawlessly flavoured, marinated lamb chops with accompanying fennel, ginger and raw carrot salad. Although not at all necessary after our indulgent feast, we could not resist trying one of the desserts which is a modern take on the Mango Rasmalai. This light yet satisfying dish of sweetened evaporated milk flavoured with cardamon and smooth mango pulp was topped with dehydrated raspberry and made a wonderful way to end our culinary journey from South to North India. Overall, our dining experience at Jamavar Doha was exceptional. The restaurant offers a luxurious dining experience that combines stunning décor and attentive service. The dishes were expertly crafted and the flavours exquisite. We would highly recommend Jamavar to anyone looking for an elevated Indian cuisine experience in Doha and we’re certainly looking forward to the Summer Menu, launched by Michelin-starred Chef Surender Mohan on a visit to the restaurant in late April.

The summer menu is festive, with dishes originating from the small and untouched villages and provinces of the Indian Subcontinent. It is colourful and vibrant evoking stories and memories while, at the same time, paying tribute to India’s royal history and splendour. Presenting a culinary journey from the bustling lanes of Chowpati to the royal kitchens of Lucknow, the new menu focuses on sustainability using eco-friendly produce, in line with Chef Surender’s aim of reducing food waste, while reviving historical cooking methods. ✤

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GO: CALL 4485 3000 FOR MORE


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Positioned on the southern outskirts of Doha, Laura Morris finds that The Cellar at Hyatt Regency, Oryx is a must visit destination for those looking for an authentic Spanish feast.

Aplace that prides itself on offering a vast selection of scrumptious small plates alongside traditional dishes, with a menu which represents the variation of food styles and flavours across the vast Spanish regions. The décor is dark and intriguing, with pockets of seating nestled around every corner. Warm, cosy and indulgent interiors play host to tables large enough to hold the many dishes one will no doubt be tempted to order.

We take our seats and within moments our waitress, Polina, serves up some warm grilled bread, together with freshly roasted garlic and a bright burst of tomato salsa. From this moment, we know we are in for a treat!

With some help from our host, we choose some dishes from the Tapas selection to start. We pick well, as what arrives at our table is a delightful medley of textures and tastes, each packed with flavour and prepared with care and precision. Polina narrates the meal as it is delivered, sharing stories behind Spain’s popular dishes.

Each dish highlights a different Spanish region and our first, Pulpo a La Gallega, is a typical offering from Galicia in the northwest. It is described as a simple dish of octopus and finely cut potatoes, presented with a light dusting of paprika. But The Cellar’s take also includes a creamy and rich octopus mayonnaise which enhances the delicately charred flavour of the soft, almost sweet flesh. Exquisitely presented, this is a tapa to remember!

Alongside sit Croquetas de Cecina, beef croquettes, crisp on the outside and delightfully rich on the inside. What’s unexpected is the lightly spiced bechamel sauce centre that oozes

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deliciousness; these are so moreish we could order another plate! Next, we sample another regional classic, Calamars a l’andalusa, deep fried squid, cooked Andalusia style. Crispy, crunchy and light, these are best enjoyed with a drizzle of fresh lemon and a generous dunking of the intensely garlicky homemade aioli. This delicious aioli features once again in our next dish, and boy am I glad. Patatas Bravas: you cannot say you have tried Spanish food if you haven’t tried these. Bitesize cubes of crispy and golden potatoes stacked up and smothered in a tomato brava sauce. The irresistible spicy kick is balanced by the homemade aioli’s smooth creaminess. Our final tapa, Rabo de Toro, common in Córdoba, comprises of fine layers of boneless braised oxtail meat, perfectly packaged into a pressed parcel. We tuck in and are instantly impressed, the soft meat, moistened with the rich thick jus and a side of seasonal al dente vegetables hits all the right notes! Chef Jordan – who joined the restaurant this year – has been the driving force behind the newly curated menu. He talks passionately about how he has fashioned something entirely new by enhancing some well tested and well-loved favourites. With many years of experience working in the heart of Spain, he shares his love of Spanish cuisine and is dedicated to sourcing the very best ingredients to include in his dishes. As we finish, our host Polina takes the opportunity to share some insights into one of the next items: Mar y Muntaña – the fish and the mountains. A European twist on a staple coupling, surf and turf. This dish comprises stewed chicken breast surrounded by a rich and creamy gravy-like broth, together with a mix of scallops and prawns. A dish so soft it could be eaten with a spoon a perfect blend of rich Mediterranean flavours, garlic, oregano, thyme and black pepper.

The arrival of a steak knife signals the star dish is upon us: Filete de Ternera, Wagyu beef tenderloin, served with green padron peppers, cherry tomatoes and Chef Jordan’s signature jus. Keeping to tradition, some items are prepared and presented in a very classic way, this is one of them. Recommended medium rare and delivered to perfection, the striking presentation draws you in, a huge spoonful of the rich, almost marmitey jus lays alongside carrot whirls. It is delectable to the last bite, do try it!

Almost too full to finish the evening with a dessert, we are very quickly tempted as churros are spotted on the list of sweet offerings. I’m going to put it out there, these are the best churros I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve sampled a few!) the sheer size of them and the crunchy sweet outer layer makes us ‘mmmm’ with every bite. The cool vanilla sauce sweetness of the brown sugar and cinnamon and the chocolate dipping sauce cracks the sweetness up a notch for those that can handle it! Our final dish of the night is cheesecake, Basque Tarta De Queso Espanola. Do not be put off by the burnt looking exterior, inside is soft and super creamy. Served cold and topped with a mix of berry compote and fresh summer fruits it finishes the meal beautifully. Are you the kind of diner that loves not only to taste their way around a cuisine but to learn about the stories and traditions behind a dish or recipe? If so, then I urge you to sample the new dishes in addition to The Cellar's à la carte menu, all served up with plenty of stories to tell! ✤ GO: CALL 41411234 OR WHATSAPP 66085806 FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION.

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Dive in to an exquisite seafood extravaganza every Thursday at La Gourmandise

Explore ocean treasures on our lavish buffet from lobsters, Oysters, calamari and more curated to your liking at our live stations to tantalize your taste buds. Exclusive kids activities available for our littles guests too.

Thursdays | 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM

QR 210 with soft drinks

QR 320 with house beverages

Kids 6 to 12 pay 50%, Kids under 6 dine for free

For bookings or for inquiries, please contact us on dining.lmdoha@lemeridien.com or call (974) 4041 3333 -

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Whatsapp (974)
6821 City Center, Doha

Escape to a luxurious summer getaway with our offer to stay in one of three hotels in three unique locations. Experience authentic Arabian culture at Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels, enjoy stunning views of downtown Doha at Al Najada Hotel, or relax by the Arabian Gulf at Souq Al Wakra Hotel.

Book now and enjoy a stay including breakfast for two, exclusive offers and discounts at our spas and restaurants, and full access to our world-class amenities. Don’t miss out on the ultimate summer adventure!

Al Wakra, Qatar + 974 4428 7888


Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar + 974 4433 6661


Al Najada, Doha, Qatar + 974 4470 4444



With Ramadan and Eid behind us, Qatar’s restaurants are serving up a range of new offers for the new season. We’ve rounded up some of the best for you to try.



Head to Vaya! for El Finde, a brunch of bites and beats like no other. Explore the vibrant flavours and colours of Latin America as you roam through the culinary traditions of Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Dancers swaying to lively Latino beats will provide the entertainment while you indulge in a feast of unlimited savoury dishes, each revealing little-known secrets and regional specialities. Offer runs from 1pm to 4pm on Fridays, priced QR350 per person with soft drinks; QR480 including selected craft beverages; QR630 including selected grape and spirited beverages; and QR750 per person with premium French bubbles. GO: Call 4030 7200 or email dining.doha@fairmont.com for more information or to make a reservation.




Le Colonial

Take a seat and embark on a delicious journey. Enjoy the P’tit dej as you immerse yourself in an international buffet prepared in open kitchens from the finest ingredients while gaining an insight into Doha’s past. The breakfast offer runs from 6am to 10am on weekdays and 6am to 11.30am on weekends and is priced QR130 per person.

GO: Call 4009 9666 or WhatsApp 3075 8211 for more information or to make a reservation.



Discover ‘La Côte d’Azur à Doha’ with the Saturday Mediterranean Brunch. Immerse yourself in the richness of local and international recipes while your favourite mixed grills are delivered to your table by the expert chefs. Offer runs on Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm, priced QR250 per person, with soft drinks, or QR299 per person with enhanced beverages.

GO: Call 4009 9666 or WhatsApp 3075 8211 for more information or to make a reservation.



Masala Library

Discover the Lost Recipes of India as you take a journey that reignites dishes and flavours that have been lost over time. A variety of spices and traditional cooking techniques come together to create a delicious three-course sharing menu. Offer runs from 6pm to 11pm on Wednesdays, priced QR250 per person.

GO: Call 4030 7200 or email dining.doha@fairmont.com for more information or to make a reservation.

Gather friends and family to experience Nobu’s Friday brunch with live stations! Choose from a wide range of favourites including oysters and fresh sushi and sashimi. Offer runs from 1pm to 4pm on Fridays, priced QR375 for the regular package; QR555 for the sparkling brunch; and QR680 for the enhanced sparkling brunch. GO: Call 4494 8888 for more information or to make a reservation.


At the new Seafood Night, you can indulge in a feast of the finest delicacies with a buffet that is the ultimate experience for seafood lovers. Feast your eyes on the freshest catch of the day, from succulent lobsters to plump oysters, juicy prawns and other mouth-watering goodies. Choose from grilled, baked, fried or steamed prepared at the live cooking station. Offer runs from 6.30pm to 10.30pm on Thursdays, priced QR255 per person with soft drinks. Happy Hour beverage offers available all night. GO: Call 4141 1234 or WhatsApp 6608 5806 for more information or to make a reservation.


The Cellar

This classic and laid-back Spanish restaurant offers up flavoursome, affordable and new business set lunch dishes. Choose to go for a two- or three-course set, begin with your choice of starter Calabaza (oven roasted butternut), or Salpicón de Mariscos (mixed seafood salad), continue with your choice of second course of tenderloin, sea bream or chicken and finish with dessert. Offer runs 12pm to 4pm Sunday to Thursday, priced QR90 per person for two courses or QR110 for three. GO: Call 4141 1234, WhatsApp 6608 5806 for more information or to make a reservation.

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La Mar

Sort your weekend plans and have a fabulous Peruvian brunch. Offer runs from 12.30pm to 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays, priced QR295 per person (minimum two people). Additional brunch beverage package available at QR295 per person.

GO: Call 4484 4919 or email fb.icdoha@ihg.com for more information or to make a reservation.



One of Doha’s best Mediterranean restaurants offers authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in an ideal setting to relax while enjoying the sun, sea, fine food and stunning flavours. The Greek Business Lunch runs from 12pm to 4pm Sunday to Wednesday, priced QR125 for a starter, main and dessert. The fabulous Weekend Brunch runs from 12pm to 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays, priced QR195 per person (minimum booking for two people). There’s a beverage package for QR265 per person from 12.30pm to 3.30pm.

GO: Call 4484 4919 or email fb.icdoha@ihg.com for more information or to make a reservation.



Take a break from your meetings-packed schedule and discover the rich and flavourful business lunch at Fuego. Offer runs daily from 12.30pm to 3pm, priced QR79 for two courses or QR95 for three.

GO: Call or WhatsApp 5506 2798 for more information or to make a reservation.



Rise and dine with the late breakfast specials at Sridan. Celebrate Saturday mornings with a late bountiful buffet full of international culinary creations, from artfully prepared pancakes to expert Eggs Benedicts, accompanied by more than seven live stations including organic options. Cap it all off with a delectable dessert and sparkling bubbles. Offer runs from 6am to 3pm on Saturdays, priced QR150 per person including tea, coffee and soft drinks; QR200 per person with free-flow bubbles.

GO: Call or WhatsApp 5506 2798 for more information or to make a reservation.



Join Liang for its Dim Sum Brunch and enjoy a wide range of traditional dim sum such as steamed Wagyu beef dumplings, classic chicken dumplings, Siu Mai and Har Gau, wok-fried lamb shoulder and more. Offer runs from 12pm to 3pm on Friday and Saturday, priced QR310 per person including Chinese tea service.

GO: Call 4008 8888 for more information or to make a reservation.



Guests are invited to a taste of the Silk Route with the BBQ lunch bringing the very best specialities from nine live cooking stations. The buffet features a wide variety of dishes from each kitchen suitable for every taste from Wagyu beef, crispy fried shiitake mushroom and teriyaki, bao buns with sweet Char Siu chicken to seafood, a variety, grills, noodles, desserts and more. Offer runs from 12pm to 4pm on Fridays, priced QR295 per person with soft drinks. A special beverage package is available at QR130 per person.

GO: Call 4008 8888 for more information or to make a reservation.


Crossroads Kitchen

Take advantage of another new deal to savour the ocean's freshest bounty with a delectable selection of seafood favourites including sushi, live stations and more at the Seafood & Sushi Night. Offer runs from 7pm to 11pm on Thursdays, from May 18, priced QR225 per person with soft drinks and QR325 per person with selected beverages for two hours.

GO: Call 4419 5510 or WhatsApp 6643 6890 for more information or to make a reservation.



Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style with Ipanema’s special edition brunch! Indulge in traditional Brazilian cuisine and South American-inspired drinks while enjoying live music, festive décor and hearty surprises, all for one day only. Offer runs from 12pm to 4pm on Friday, May 5, priced QR325 per person for food only or QR435 including selected beverages.

GO: Call 4419 5510 or WhatsApp 6643 6890 for more information or to make a reservation.


Shehrazad Lounge Bar & Terrace

Indulge in a classic weekend roast with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, salad, roast potatoes, gravy and dessert. Offer runs from 5pm to 10pm Saturdays and Sundays, priced QR99 per person or QR199 per person with three special beverages.

GO: Call 4428 1555 or email fbreservations.doha@radissonblu. com for more information or to make a reservation.


The Italian Job

Enjoy a fabulous selection of classic Italian dishes plus pasta and pizza stations and live entertainment at this weekly brunch. Offer runs from 12.30pm to 3.30pm on Fridays, priced QR220 per person with add on beverage packages starting at QR130 per person and pool access for QR60. Kids aged three to 12 years pay 50% and under threes go free.

GO: Call 4428 1555 or email fbreservations.doha@radissonblu. com for more information or to make a reservation.

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Alba By Enrico

The new Sabato Italiano takes diners on a journey to the different regions of Italy through authentic and classic dishes. The culinary brigade, led by Chef Antonio, will introduce guests to traditional flavours with a four-course menu that will change monthly, to allow continued exploration of the beloved cuisine. Offer runs from 7pm to 11pm on Saturdays, priced QR120 for the four-course set menu, QR280 with three glasses of grape.

GO: Call 4030 7100 or email dining.doha@raffles.com for more information or to make a reservation.



Experience the new Art Of Brunch. Distinguished by its theatrical ‘served and finished at the table’ presentations, L’Artisan’s brunch features an enticing spread of freshly baked delights and sweet and savoury mains, all made with the freshest seasonal and sustainable ingredients favoured by Chef Thierry Motsch. A celebration of the art of modern dining elevated by a DJ and curated beverage list. Offer runs from 12pm to 4pm daily, priced QR330 including soft drinks, QR450 with special beverages.

GO: Call 4030 7100 or email dining.doha@raffles.com for more information or to make a reservation.


Al Hubara

Bring your favourite people together for Seafood Night and enjoy the finest seafood with an array of fresh succulent prawns,

lobster and sustainable fish paired with your choice of beverage. Offer runs from 7pm to 11.30pm on Wednesdays, priced QR350 per person including soft drinks.

GO: Call 4485 3000 or email F&Breservations.doha@ sheratonhotels.com for more information or to make a reservation.


Jamavar Doha

As the mango season draws to a close, Jamavar Doha has curated a speciality tasting menu in its signature Pan-Indian style in celebration of India’s prized Alphonso mango season. Offer runs from 12.30pm to 11pm from May 17 to May 27, priced QR225 per person for a five-course tasting menu.

GO: Call 4485 3000 or email F&Breservations.doha@ sheratonhotels.com for more information or to make a reservation.


Kaia, Electric Diner, Malibu Kitchen, Cecconi’s

Spice up your day with a business lunch break. Whether it's American, Asian, Italian or Californian cuisine you crave, The Ned Doha’s got you covered. Enjoy a three-course set menu, priced at QR98 per person (Kaia, Electric Diner, Malibu Kitchen) and QR150 per person (Cecconi’s), available from 12pm to 4pm.

GO: Call 4406 1111 for more information or to make a reservation.



Whether it’s for an intimate dinner for two or a party for 10, Kaia’s new Supper Club has something for everyone. The offer is a three-course set menu starting at QR120 per person. Runs from 6pm to 8pm, every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday.

GO: Call 4406 1111 for more information or to make a reservation.



It’s ‘DestinAsian’ at Sabai Thai! If you’re a fan of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese and Thai food then the new Asian Brunch is for you! Offer runs from 12.30pm to 4pm on Saturdays, priced QR248 per person with soft drinks, QR375 per person with enhanced drinks.

GO: Call 3359 8514 for more information or to make a reservation.


Looking for the perfect way to kick off your weekend? Look no further than the award-winning Bubbalicious Friday Brunch. Feast on a selection of international dishes and enjoy live entertainment to complete the experience. Runs from 12.30pm to 4pm on Fridays, priced QR360 per person with soft drinks and QR480 per person with enhanced beverages. Over 12s only.

GO: Call 3359 8514 for more information or to make a reservation.

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With its rich history and mythology coupled with golden sunshine, lush scenery and many islands, Greece is a land of multiple contrasts. We highlight some of our favourite spots worthy of a summer visit.



Crete is so big that it hardly qualifies as an island, but it’s not attached the Greek mainland so, there we are. It has mountains, lakes, gorges and beaches, so there’s something for everyone whether you’re seeking hiking adventures, isolated scenic splendour or great nightlife.

Head to Chania with its lovely old town and harbour where you’ll find a selection of very chi-chi shops selling all manner of designer goods from beautifully blown glassware to unique jewellery pieces. There’re literally hundreds of restaurants in Chania town but we loved Koutourouki with its quaint décor and local cuisine with both vegetarian and vegan options available. And, if food’s your thing, you could also take a walking-tasting tour. Yum!

You can’t go to Crete without taking a trip to Elafonsi Beach. Situated on the remote southwest coast of the island, it’s known for its gorgeous pale pink sands and, if you catch it

at the right time, is truly a sight to see.

The White Mountains National Park is the only national park in Crete and centres around Samaria Gorge. At 16km it is the longest gorge is Europe and, at its start it is 1,230m high. The 10km around the gorge is a stunning hiking area but make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen as it is very hot and dry in summer.

And, if you fly into the Cretan capital Heraklion, make sure you pay a visit to the Palace of Knossos, the ancient Minoan ruins that have been referred to as Europe’s oldest city. The palace is also where the mythological tale of Theseus and the Minotaur is said to have taken place.

As with its scenery, Crete’s nightlife options are varied. If you’re looking for a classic holiday clubbing experience, Hersonissos and Malia are both very popular with younger tourists. While those looking for a more refined option should head to Agios Nikolaos.



Said to be one of the most precious gems of the Dodecanese, the island’s colourful villages provide a picturesque backdrop to a spot where relaxation is key.

Ancient footpaths crisscross the island and hiking is a popular activity – prepare to discover tiny chapels, small villages and secluded beaches. There are also several museums where you can get acquainted with local history. And, oh the beaches – these are one of Symi’s claims to fame so make sure you are prepared for swimming, snorkelling and water sports. They are mostly coves, some equipped with sunbeds and beach bars but others more secluded and reached by water taxi. We highly recommend Marathounda Beach where there’s not only a lovely taverna serving great

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food but also the chance to get acquainted with the locals… in the form of the friendly goats who frequent the beach. Though Symi is one of the quieter islands, over the summer months it is transformed with the Symi Festival taking place throughout July, August and September and offering a vast array of cultural activities from traditional, modern and classical music to theatre, cinema, painting exhibitions, poetry and literature evenings. There are also several Christian religious festivals which are celebrated with music, dancing and feasting.

The nearest airport is on neighbouring Rhodes and daytrips between the two islands are popular.


The hidden retreat of the arty ‘in’ crowd who’d rather not share it. But, hey, we found it and we’re telling you. Less than three hours by boat from Athens, this Cycladic gem has not yet hit the mainstream consciousness, so it’s the ideal place if you want to experience a taste of the true Greece with very few tourists.

The landscape is rugged and, we must confess, the truck ride up the side of a very steep hill to the main town, Chora, is a little hair raising but definitely worth it to discover a cluster of sugar-cube houses, chapels and ancient windmills that’s considered one of the most picturesque capitals around. And, being high up, it also boasts fabulous views across the island and the glittering Aegean waters.

Being, relatively, undiscovered, Serifos is not bursting with entertainment options but, what it does have is a huge number of beaches along its 80-plus kilometres of coastline. From sandy to shingle and a mix of the two, all are blessed with crystal-clear blue waters. A few are organised with sunbeds etc but, if you’re willing to forgo this small comfort, you’ll find secluded bathing spots scattered across the island where you’re likely to be the only one around.

Head to Sikamia beach and Anna’s Taverna for seafood fresh from the local waters or try Livadakia beach, which is close to the port from which boats can be hired. If you’re feeling brave Lia, a celeb favourite, is said to be one of the island’s most beautiful beaches but make sure you take the factor 50 as beachwear is optional is some spots!

The island was once a mining outpost and you can trek the old mining trail to an abandoned bridge, which sits out over the sea at Megalo Livadi bay.

And, in Greek mythology, Serifos was home to the oneeyed Cyclops, among others, so take the chance to visit Cyclops Cape and climb up onto the Psraopyrgos or Cyclops throne – it will make for a great picture.

For a relatively quiet island, Serifos has no shortage of restaurants and cafes, mainly serving traditional food. We particularly like Stou Stratou in Chora, its blue and white exterior and colourful outdoor seating living up to every vision of Greek island dining. And, if you’re a grape fan, pay a visit to Chrysoloras where the focus is on organic, sustainable, bio grapes grown in a waterless, low-yield manner. Perfect to toast your holiday. ✤

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A new language of luxury finds a home in the spring-summer 23 collection from legendary Italian house, Ferragamo.

For Maximilian Davis’ Ferragamo debut, the designer unveils a new dawn for the brand: a renaissance of its Hollywood history. “I wanted to pay tribute to Salvatore’s start by bringing in the culture of Hollywood – but new Hollywood,” explains Davis. “Its ease and sensuality; its sunset and sunrise.”

This fresh language of luxury blends contemporary clarity with the purity of Florentine drape: an homage to the home of the house. Ethereal elegance materialises through sheer knits, liquid silk and layers of organza, but appears grounded by suede sandals drawn from Renaissance reality, and the tangible allure of polished accessories.

The languid, beachfront glamour of new Hollywood is subverted by glossy leathers, second-skin fits and micro shorts. Elevated everyday essentials – tank tops, polo necks, leggings – appear almost contradictory in their simplicity. Effortless knits are wide woven to reveal the skin beneath or so fine as to appear translucent. Even eveningwear is imbued with insouciance. Drawing upon the sparkling red shoes Ferragamo made for Marilyn Monroe in 1959, the collection appears scattered with crystals: the Hollywood hallmarks of glitz and glamour refracted anew.

Tailoring twists the classically masculine tropes of '80s executives into a modern wardrobe: perfectly proportioned, louche refinement formed from fabrics often reserved for womenswear. The tuxedo is imbued with new energy: shirting cut in silk organza and cotton poplin; collars or sleeves removed. “I want each piece to feel playful, but also desirable as an object,” says Davis. “To stand on its own.”

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Floating scarves appear streamlined; archival prints reduced, redrawn and reimagined. Draped into new forms, they revitalise the formative codes of the Ferragamo DNA. “It was about looking into the archive and establishing what could be redefined to become relevant for today,” explains Davis.

A palette extracted from Rachel Harrison’s Sunset Series colours degradé prints and hand-dyed knits; from optic white to deep indigo, butter-soft yellow to sky blue. A new Pantone red formally codifies the brand’s iconic hue. ✤


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Qatar's Education City is a trove of magical artworks that make a gallery of the public spaces for anyone to enjoy. Qatar Foundation (QF) curates the pieces and we caught up with spokesperson Ameera Al Aji, QF Community Arts Lead, to learn about the selection process and some of the most popular pieces.

How do you choose the pieces that will be commissioned?

Education City is home to a stellar art scene. The portfolio, which is comprised of more than 150 artworks, has been carefully selected and is exhibited in various locations, ranging from Sidra Outpatient Clinic to Qatar National Library. The aspect of each piece has been carefully considered from its concept to its strategic positioning within our campus. The artwork on display showcases a diverse representation from renowned local, regional and international artists. From temporary exhibitions to permanent collections, Qatar Foundation offers guided public tours of the artworks through our art trail initiative.

What is the aim of Qatar Foundation in making these amazing art pieces available publicly?

Art can function as a bridge between communities. Qatar Foundation believes in the value of education and how art can be used as a tool to spark dialogue and allow our audiences to learn something new through fostering engagement. Art can transcend elements of national history and highlight culture and heritage in a way that can resonate with our visitors while allowing them to have different perspectives on how the piece speaks to them. Through a multidisciplinary educational approach, art is rooted in our specialised school curriculums and our unique art programmes offered in our partner universities. We have received dozens of school students from around the country through our guided tours where we have been able to see the power of public art and its positive influence on the leaders of tomorrow.

Are there plans for any future pieces you can share with us? There are a lot of upcoming projects in the pipeline. We recommend our audiences to follow us on our social media page @qfarttrail to know more about our upcoming tours and new art pieces in Education City.

Which pieces are the most popular among visitors?

We have a lot of remarkable pieces around Education City. One of the most popular would be Seeroo fi al Ardh which is the final work from the late artist M.F. Husain. The art installation highlights the progress of humanity on land, in the air and at sea, and its inclination to utilise the surrounding resources to achieve its goals. The second one is Come Together which is a piece created by Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa. The artwork reflects the artist’s internationally acclaimed style using materials from culture and everyday life. With its shape representing a dandelion, the stainless-steel installation is made up of workers’ helmets, mirror balls, and recycled traditional Qatari kitchenware. Other popular pieces include Maman by Louise Bourgeois, Taha Al Hiti and Miraculous Journey by Damien Hurst.

fact magazine 92 • ART IN FOCUS
Ameera Come Together seeroo


Louise Bourgeois

French-American artist Louise Bourgeois’ work is autobiographical and often explores themes of her childhood and deep human emotions. The title Maman in French translates to 'Mummy' and is an ode from Bourgeois to her mother. Bourgeois attributed all the positives of a spider such as clever, protective and helpful to her mother. Like a spider that weaves, her mother worked as a weaver in her father's textile workshop in France. Maman is one of the artist's most recognised works and is a nine-metre-tall bronze, marble and stainless-steel spider. The spider includes a sac containing marble eggs like an expectant mother. Additional versions of Maman can be found in various locations around the world. This piece is on loan from Qatar Museums.

Arabic calligraphy – Quranic verses

Taha Al Hiti

The calligraphy design for the Education City Mosque, Minaretein, was influenced by the architectural language of the building: Qatar’s contemporary Islamic identity. The calligraphy was designed using classic Arabic calligraphy types in the Abbasi/Ottoman school of calligraphy. Ijaza and Thuluth styles were used predominantly with some exaggerated stretches to give a modern feel to some letters. This is done very carefully to ensure that the verses remain readable in the correct sequence and that they are easy to follow. This direction not only emphasises the shift towards the modern while still respecting tradition, but it also allows for more meaningful interactions between people and the building.

The Miraculous Journey

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst is British conceptual artist best known for exploring life, rebirth, mortality and beauty through his work. The Miraculous Journey is a series of 14 monumental bronze sculptures that chronicles the gestation of a foetus inside a uterus from conception to birth. Located in front of Sidra Medicine, a women’s and children’s hospital, the sculptures encapsulate the very beginning of life. This piece is on loan from Qatar Museums. ✤

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Taha Al Hiti The Miraculous Journey Maman


Succession Tetris

Need to Know:

Succession is a satirical black comedy-drama TV series that first aired on HBO in 2018 and is now entering its fourth and final season. The show is centred around the incredibly wealthy Roy family, who are the owners of Waystar RoyCo – one of the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world. This highstakes family drama highlights the power struggle between the patriarch Logan Roy and his four children, the would-be successors that are vying for his position.

Director: Jesse Armstrong

Cast : Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Braun, Alan Ruck, J. Smith-Cameron, Alexander Skarsgård

Why Is It Worth Watching?

This 13 Emmy Award-winning show is critically acclaimed and possibly one of the best series out right now due to its highly elaborate and expertly crafted storyline. As it embarks on its finale, we circle back on the events which kicked off everything when Logan Roy (Brian Cox), after suffering a stroke, gives the impression that he’s ready to retire, which sets into motion a series of events. His four grown children, each with their own personal agenda, make a play to be named the new CEO to the Waystar RoyCo empire. Instead, Logan shocks his entire family by announcing he's staying on indefinitely and immediate chaos ensues. There is no loyalty or trust amongst any of the family members as each of them is looking to get the upper hand over the others in an attempt to secure the keys to the castle. This season is set to be the show's most engaging as the series is taking everything that it does well and ramping it up for its final outing.

Need to Know:

Simple, addictive and undeniably fun – Tetris is one of the best-selling video games of all time. This dramatised biographical film with the same name is based on true events, not well known by the masses; around the unexpectedly intense and thrilling race to license and patent the video game in the late 1980s during the Cold War.

Director: Jon S. Baird

Cast : Taron Egerton, Nikita Efremov, Sofia Lebedeva, Anthony Boyle, Toby Jones

Why Is It Worth Watching?

On hearing the word Tetris, you almost immediately get hit with nostalgia around having played this fantastic video game plenty of times as a kid. But if you were made aware that there’s a new movie based around it, I wouldn’t really blame you for being a bit confused, wondering what a story about this game could actually offer, let alone manage to keep you entertained for around two hours. But something tells me that it would surely pique your interest once you discovered that this film is based on a true event and is a Cold War-era-style thriller on steroids, with double-crossing villains, unlikely heroes and a nail-biting race to the finish. The story takes place in 1988, when Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) of Bullet-Proof Software is showcasing his new video game at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While there, he instead becomes enamoured with the game Tetris, created by Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov, who works for government-owned ELORG in the Soviet Union. Convinced that he’s discovered the next big thing, Rogers risks everything by travelling to Moscow to win the rights to the game. But many unpleasant surprises await him as he isn’t the only one looking to profit from it.

fact magazine 94 • ENTERTAINMENT
This film is based on a true event and is unexpectedly a Cold War-erastyle thriller.”




Stereo Mind Game By Daughter

Daughter are an English indie folk trio formed in 2010. Stereo Mind Game is their third album, inspired by lead member Elena Tonra’s long-distance relationship. The songs, in their lyrics and music, explore emotions evoked by separation, longing, imagining a future together –holding on and letting go.

The LP opens with the Intro, an instrumental piece, trance-like, setting the tone for what follows. On Be On Your Way, Tonra resigns to the distance between her and her lover, saying, “I won’t hold you back”. However, she is hopeful; “So, I'll meet you on another planet if the plans change”.

On Party, she sings, “And I refuse to believe that there's a problem, you see”, which shows denial, rooted in a fear of losing the memories they have made together, good and bad. Tonra is grappling with them as they slither away like “a rattlesnake”. It’s a mind game, like the album’s title suggests. A dedicated drum piece lends a soft-rock vibe, offering variety.

Dandelion encompasses just what the namesake flower symbolises – hope and freedom. Even though Tonra is “waitin’ for replies”, she’s “watchin' dandelions growin' by the grove”.

With stringsy melodies that conjure psychedelic feels, more on some songs such as Neptune, this one’s truly a mind game to play.


The Record


Formed in 2018, Boygenius is a three-member American indie rock supergroup, comprising of individually successful artists, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. The Record is their first studio album released via Interscope. Prior to this, they put out two EPs on Matador.

Listening to this 42-minute LP gives you a sense that the songs, the music, the lyrics, the vocals… are untainted, even raw, emotionally speaking. However, it’s all packaged with artistic finesse. The tracks are strung together by a common element, love, the various facets of which are touched upon across the 12 songs. On Emily I’m Sorry, we see forgiveness play out. On Satanic, a certain rebellious emotion; the repeating guitar piece on this one is catchy.

Without You Without Them, a short, harmonious acapella creation comes as a nice surprise. Characteristic of a monologue, a plea to a loved one: “Give me everything you've got” and “I'll give everything I've got/ Please, take what I can give”.

While all the songs exhibit rock musical elements from stringsy sounds to the rhythmic da-dum of the drums and wooshy cymbals, The Record offers a mix with soft tunes, which add depth to the album.


The latest offering from bestsellers Christina Lauren, the combined pen name of long-time writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. Fizzy Chen has an incredible career as a beloved romance novelist, but when she’s asked to give a commencement address, it hits her: she hasn’t been practising what she’s preached and has never really been in love. Connor Prince, documentary filmmaker and single father, is completely thrown when his profit-minded boss orders him to create a reality TV show about love. Can he make the queen of romance fall in love in front of the camera? Thus, T he True Love Experiment begins.


On the planet Talos VII, 23 years before the events of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, an anomaly is detected. A vast circular pit, with dimensions so perfect that it could only have been the result of conscious design. So, a small team is assembled to learn more –perhaps even who built the hole and why. Their mission will take them on a hazardous trek to the very edge of existence. For one explorer, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. For another, a risk not worth taking. And for xenobiologist Alex Crichton, it's a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe.

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Capture Totale Le Sérum

Give your skincare routine a boost with this face serum. If you have fine lines and wrinkles, suffer from dryness and are looking for an antidote to dull-looking skin, Dior’s Capture Totale offers radiance and youthfulness. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, that lends a plumping effect, fermented longoza extract, known for its revitalising properties, and white iris extract, that diminishes visible signs of ageing.


Le Rouge Interdit Intense Silk Lipstick

Enjoy the benefits of deep pigmentation but without the cakey feeling on your lips. Givenchy’s Le Rouge Interdit

Intense Silk is a semi-matte lipstick combining radiant colour with an ultra-thin film and ultimate comfort. Its new formula not only offers 24-hour locked-in hydration for instantly smoother lips but also extremely longlasting wear for up to 12 hours.


Éternité de Beauté Foundation

A 24-hour, no-transfer foundation that lasts the entire day, Gucci Beauty’s Éternité de Beauté delivers full coverage with minimal product. Get a luminous matte finish that feels lightweight on skin, perfect for this season where the days are humid and long. An inclusive product, the foundation has a diverse shade range with 40 variations for virtually every skin tone.


BOSS Alive Parfum

In celebration of the power and positive energy of the BOSS woman, BOSS Fragrances introduces this bold ambery-woody-floral composition that fuses notes of jasmine, leather and vetiver. Warm flowers exude positive energy and empowered femininity, while a leather accord enriches the fragrance with a powerful ambery facet.


SahaScalp Purifying Scrub

Fable & Mane’s SahaScalp is a luxurious scalp scrub, enriched with wild ginger, said to promote circulation, healing neem, that conditions and smoothens frizz, and purifying pink Himalayan salt, which gently exfoliates while removing product build-up and dead skin cells. Having a lightweight, silicone-free vegan formula, SahaScalp is a great addition to your hair ritual and helps to cleanse, balance and soothe oily, flaky and itchy scalps.

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Scents, skincare, grooming musthaves – check.


Nourishing Beard Grooming Oil


Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution

Do you have blemish-prone skin? Then, this light-weight, water-based serum is the perfect addition to your routine. Suitable for all skin types, it targets post-acne marks, visibly improves texture and supports the protective barrier. It’s formulated with ingredients that moisturise and smoothen while balancing uneven skin tone.

Kiehl’s combines Pracaxi oil, a potent moisturiser, with a fragrant, herbal oil blend that includes eucalyptus, cedarwood and sandalwood. Equal parts musky and fresh, this grooming essential has soothing properties. Additionally, it contains salicylic acid, which helps clear the skin, as well as other oils including bark, peppermint, ginger root and more.

CHOPARD Bois Nomades

Striking the perfect balance of glamorous and earthy tones, Bois Nomades is a fragrant and imaginary evocation of the long journeys made by travellers in the past, crossing continents in search of elsewhere. An imaginary meeting of two legendary trees: Moroccan Atlas cedar, and the rarest, most precious and purest variety of oud in the world, Assafi oud, from Jalali Agarwood. These have been combined with rose to soften their fiery character.

DR. BRANDT Hyaluronic Face Cream

Keep your skin hydrated with Dr. Brandt’s Hyaluronic Face Cream, a luscious, visibly plumping formula designed to deliver intense hydration. Keep fine lines and wrinkles, dryness and sagginess at bay. Suitable for all skin types, it offers a dewy, filled-out appearance, making the skin look glowy and supple. It works for both, morning and night and can be applied after your serum.

GROWN ALCHEMIST Age-Repair Lip Treatment

A lip balm offering anti-ageing properties – what’s not to like? Formulated with tri-peptide, the age-repair antidote, and hyaluronic acid that reduces pigmentation, this easy-to-glide lip treatment boosts collagen production and triglycerides that prevent the loss of moisture. It also contains violet leaf extract, an antioxidant and conditioner.

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What We’re (Still) Talking About

Sorry, Not Sorry! Baby, Baby Do Cry Too Much Of A Good Thing…

A video of the Dalai Lama, the most holy figure in Tibetan Buddhism, asking a boy to kiss him on the lips, sent shock waves across the internet. Shortly after planting a kiss on the child’s lips, he was seen asking the lad to suck his tongue. Many called this behaviour ‘inappropriate’, ‘scandalous’ and ‘disgusting’, suggesting it was paedophiliac. Following the uproar, the spiritual leader’s office issued an apology. However, some of his supporters justified his behaviour saying sticking

Japan's crying baby sumo festival returned for the first time in four years since the pandemic. The biggest event was held at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, with smaller versions hosted at various spots across the country. The idea behind this tradition is that crying is believed to bring the infants good health. In Tokyo, the babes were made to wear ceremonial sumo aprons and held by their parents for a face off in the ring. The staff wore oni or demon masks, trying to scare

Netflix has, on multiple occasions, faced backlash for streaming historically inaccurate content. Most recently, after they released the trailer of their upcoming four-part docudrama, Queen Cleopatra . In it, Adele James, a black actor with mixed ancestry, is seen playing the role of the Egyptian queen, which has drawn criticism, reigniting the debate on Cleopatra’s ethnicity – Greek or not. However, we’re not here to discuss that. What we’re

one’s tongue out is a common Tibetan cultural practice to show agreement or respect. The question isn’t if the Dalai Lama made a mistake but how far will we go to cover up mistakes committed by certain people so as to protect our beliefs. And that he can make mistakes goes to show he is human so, should we be holding him or any mortal being for that matter in such high esteem that we turn a blind eye to their fallibility?

the children and, as soon as one of the opponents cried, he or she was declared a winner. While on the face of it, one might think of this practice as cruel, on deeper thought, it does make sense. We live in a culture where tears are still seen as a sign of weakness. But research has proved that crying helps reduce physical and emotional pain, promoting a sense of well-being. It’s time we normalised crying – and, like in Japan, from a young age.

here to highlight is the latest trend of moviemakers jumping on the inclusivity bandwagon. While representation is important, where do we draw the line – a South Asian Velma in Scooby Doo, Michael Jordan as a black superman, a black duke in Bridgerton… it makes one wonder if what we’re seeing is just a conniving attempt at inclusivity to earn Brownie points (pun intended) from a wider audience.

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fact magazine 100

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