Feel closer to the heartbeat of Qatar’s heritage and enjoy a modern homage to local ingredients and flavours!
Jiwan restaurant is located on the 4th floor of the desert rose shaped National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) in the capitol city Doha and is an essential chapter in the museum’s storytelling experience. Design works in harmony with the menu to give you a taste of Qatar’s nature and rich traditions linked to activities by the sea. The result is a calming, comfortable environment to enjoy the essence of Qatar. Jiwan’s contemporary Qatari menu has been carefully curated to take us back to the country’s roots. Seasonal sharing dishes pay homage to indigenous ingredients. Ancient Bedouin elemental cooking techniques — fire, water, air and earth — are used to transform textures and familiar flavours. The aim is to celebrate the country’s future culinary identity.
Jiwan by Alain Ducasse, is an immersive restaurant at NMoQ that takes you on a sensory journey through Qatar’s rich culture and unique landscape. A place to pause and reflect upon the country’s history and ambitious vision. Monsieur Ducasse’s excellence as standard meets local traditions to provide guests with a warm, convivial experience. Offering a lighter, refined, reimagined menu that shines a light on local produce. The seasonal menu, which changes to offer fresh local ingredients, reflects Alain Ducasse’s philosophy: to offer cuisine that vibrates to the rhythms of nature. In Qatar, the mark of a person is the way they treat their guests. Jiwan’s menu and service reflect the local’s generous hospitality – every effort is made to make you feel comfortable. Their sharing dishes are placed at the center of the table, enabling everyone to enjoy a taste of everything together. At the table you’ll discover the meticulous attention to detail they’ve paid to sourcing tableware and glassware that continues the Jiwan story. Handcrafted plates and bowls made by artisans from around the world pay homage to the desert and the sea. Simple yet sophisticated glassware evokes the nation’s pearl legacy.
Jiwan is named after the Qatari word for the ‘perfect pearl’, rose-tinted white, completely round with a lustre so pure that it comes alive with radiance. Interiors are designed by renowned architect Koichi Takada, who was inspired by Qatar’s unique landscape and heritage. Takada has created a calm, comfortable environment where the desert meets the sea. Every detail takes you on a journey – the carpet colour subtly fades from the colour of the desert sand to the light turquoise water. At the heart of the restaurant the colour becomes the deepest aquamarine blue. And, as a tribute to Qatar’s pearl diving legacy, four million Swarovski glass beads are suspended from the ceiling which gently dance with the movement of the air. The outdoor terrace enjoys the most impressive views over Doha’s Corniche, giving you a closer connection to the sea. You can also look over the impressive architecture of the National Museum of Qatar, and the newly restored Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani, which itself represents the heart of Qatari national identity. The terrace also offers cozy dining pods, inspired by the sand dunes of the Inland Sea (Khor Al Adaid), enabling you to catch the softly fading dusk light and sunsets over the sea.
No visit to NMoQ is complete without a visit to Jiwan. A place to pause and enjoy an immersive reflection of Qatar’s rich culture while sampling the culinary delights of modern Qatar. The complex form of the desert rose, found in Qatar’s arid desert regions, inspired the striking design of the new museum building, conceived by French architect Jean Nouvel. The story of Qatar unfolds across 11 remarkable galleries, all employing innovative approaches to storytelling. Each gallery provides a unique perspective across time and connects visitors to lives lived between land and sea.
Jiwan offers everyone something new to discover – even those who know and love local favourites. Qatari dishes have been reimagined to bring a refreshed, refined, contemporary menu to the table. Ingredients are enhanced through perfecting each element – the right seasoning, the right quantities, and the right method to ensure each flavour offers its true authentic taste. Jiwan serves a wide range of soft beverages and mocktails that include local fruits, spices and ingredients that give them local twist. They also serve a wide range of teas – including Alain Ducasse’s signature white tea blend – and coffees.
At the end of November we had the pleasure to try this amazing experience. The Qatar Museums invited our magazine to test the signature dishes of Jiwan from the current menu. Our highlights from the starters were the red lentil koftas and the red mullet with tomato and coriander. This one was extremely delicious. But what we highly recommend to taste is the local chicken “salona” (their interpretation of this typical food) and the shrimps with curry and sesame. This come in a ceramic vessel looks like a pan. It is funny.From the desserts our favourites were the saffron floating island and the halva. Besides it is really tasty, looks fantastic: the pattern of the sweets copies the building’s architectural style. After the dinner on the terrace with the gorgeous view of the skyscrapers in downtown Doha (West Bay district) we had the chance to interviewed the restaurant’s Executive Chef Monsieur Philippe Duc.
We know you came from Royan, South of France which is also a seacoast region like Qatar. Do you see any similarities between these two kinds of gastronomies?
Both cuisines offer distinctive flavours, highlighting each place’s unique cultural traditions. One similarity that I have observed in both cuisines is their singularity (!) and distinctiveness. Local seafood are widely used.
What are your personal highlights in the Qatari cuisine?
Jiwan, our restaurant at the National Museum of Qatar, has a carefully curated local menu using traditional ingredients. Jiwan’s version of Harees and Madhroba are delicate and flavourful. We try to keep the balance of flavours and stay true to the dish’s original taste.
What is special/unique about being an Executive Chef for Alain Ducasse restaurants?
Jiwan was brought to life by Chef Creator, Alain Ducasse. To represent his name and vision is a wonderful opportunity. All around the world, DUCASSE Paris chefs are led by the same goal: the importance of eating well daily, setting the bar high, and respecting nature and people.
Your plating looks like very European style. What do you think your local guests like the dishes in this way?
We give a lot of attention to how our dishes at Jiwan are served and the experiences left by each meal. We take pride in plating, creating a personal experience for our customers; to inspire and bring people together through flavourfull dishes and immersive dining experience.
It’s not an average thing that a country’s national museum runs a restaurant on this level like yours. Why the QM wanted to launch this project?
The museums represent the voice of Qatar’s rich heritage and culture. We have several restaurants located in the museum’s premises; IDAM in Museum of Islamic Art and Jiwan Restaurant in the National Museum of Qatar. These restaurants represent Qatar’s diverse tastes and culinary innovation.