I gotta admit, Doner Kebab exceeded my expectations. I’ve been watching a lot of Gordon Ramsey/Hell’s Kitchen lately, and after reading the other reviews I was all geared up and looking forward to working the phrase “f*cking donkey” into this review, haha. But alas, I was robbed of this simple pleasure because my sandwiches were actually pretty darned good.
I had to use up a Qgrabs voucher before I left on vacation, so I purchased three of the doner kebab sandwiches: (1) a veal (QR 29) with cheese (+ QR 3) and extra toppings (+ QR 5); (2) a mixed with extra meat (+ QR 5); and (3) a chicken (QR 29). I intentionally picked these permutations to see which combination yielded the best overall doner (and to get as close as I could to using up my QR 100 voucher, haha).
I ordered takeout (something I rarely do) because I HAD to get back to my Hell’s Kitchen marathon, haha. Plus, since the other reviews indicated the kebabs come wrapped in foil even if you eat them in, I figured it wouldn’t really affect the presentation.
I was there about 9pm on a Ramadan Thursday, and there was understandably no one else in the shop. The cashier was polite and accurate, and the cook greeted me through the window. I sat down and checked out the interior. It looked sleek, shiny, and efficient. Like Das Machine in Pitch Perfect 2, stereo-typically German. Anyways, It took maybe ten minutes for my food to be ready. I was parked right outside, so I got it home in maybe another ten minutes.
The sandwiches were well-packed. Each doner was in a paper sleeve and methodically wrapped in tinfoil, so there was no leakage of filling. The foil, in turn, was placed in a triangular paper carton. Everything held its shape well in transit and there was minimal sweating.
That being said, the mixed kebab with extra meat had absolutely soaked the paper sleeve in grease. Delicious grease, but grease nonetheless. The bread held up well during the short trip, and was actually way more durable than I had expected. It was like a cross between a pita and a waffle, and just a little toasty/crunchy on the outside.
The meat in all three was a bit too salty for my taste, but was still less salty than I had expected, both from the other reviews and from my experiences eating doner kebabs in Europe. (The last doner I had was in Austria, and it was so salty that it was basically inedible. Honestly, I haven’t really had a doner in Europe that I liked yet, and that informed my preconceptions when I walked in the door.)
I also thought there was plenty of meat on the regular doners. If anything, I would have liked to see more condiments and white sauce.
I had thought the feta would be too salty considering the meat was already reputed to be salty, but it was actually quite mild. I think the pickles should come standard on the sandwich, and I think the jalapenos work well with the purple cabbage slaw, lettuce, and tomato but were not essential.
The white sauce was not what I was expecting, but it was good. It was thick and herbed, almost like a sour cream ranch dip crossed with tzatziki.
After trying all three, I decided that: (1) the extra meat was unnecessary/overkill; (2) the feta cheese makes an important contribution to the overall flavor; and (3) the extra veggies do so as well (but less so than the cheese).
In my opinion, the veal here is superior to the chicken. I was surprised about that, because usually I’m a chicken guy. In both cases, these kebabs are at their best when there is a mix of crispy-crunchy meat bits and softer ones. I think the mixed sandwich was the first one the cook shaved meat for because it had more crunchy bits than the other two. It started out good, but it got to be too much after a few bites. I did not have that issue with the other sandwiches.
Overall, I came into this place ready to pull a Gordon Ramsey and shriek until I was hoarse. But I was actually satisfied with my experience. That being said, keep in mind that I only paid like QR 56 for my three sandwiches because of my Qgrabs voucher. The total cost was actually QR 106. To get my recommended sandwich (veal with cheese and extra veggies) would run you like QR 36.
So I have to ask myself if I would pay USD 10 for one sandwich? I might, depending on that sandwich. For these, it’s pushing it, but not by much. If you factor in the “Pearl Rip-Off” upcharge, the price is actually pretty reasonable.
So now I feel like a “fcking donkey” because I came in prejudiced against German Doner Kebab simply because it was in the Pearl. I hate to say it, but I think I might like these doner sandwiches even better than I like shawarmas *gasp. I know, I know, let’s not be hasty. But it is food for thought. Donkey Recommended.