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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Mall

This was Qatar’s first shopping centre, which is perhaps why its owners felt so little need to invest any imagination into its name. The Mall is located on D ring road, next to Lulu hypermarket. Q-mart is the food store here, a small supermarket which sells nothing you can’t get elsewhere.

There are a few interesting stores in The Mall. Makki gallery has some nice-looking jewellery, not that there’s any shortage of jewellery stores in Qatar, and Badran Carpets has some beautifully designed Iranian rugs. There are many of the usual suspects here such as the Body Shop, although mercifully no Starbucks. There’s also a Boss clothes shop, a Highland store and a Tony and Guy clothing store. Stalls are crammed along the middle of the walkways: perhaps the most interesting was a Lebanese art store selling, amongst other items, handmade Lebanese jewelry and miniature water pipes. There’s also an interesting display in the middle of the mall selling wooden carved and painted furniture. Climb up the stairs and you’ll find a rather grim food court to your right containing a Mc Donalds and an Orient Express. Luckily there’s better eating downstairs – Cioconat Lounge has futuristic decor and, as its name suggests, an emphasis on chocolate. Opera cafe has an upstairs and downstairs seating area and a large, varied and reasonably priced menu. We were particularly impressed at its American breakfast: eggs, sausages, grilled tomatoes, bacon and home made hash browns for 15 riyals.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with the Mall. However, compared to the large and modern malls now available elsewhere such as Hyatt Plaza, City Centre and especially Villagio, it feels small, old-fashioned and out of date. We might go back – but only for that American breakfast!

Also see: Qatar Shopping

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