Nanyang cuisine at its best greeted SD on a visit to Kai’s Songbird.

Perched at the edge of the marina in Porto Arabia, Kai’s Songbird, in the charming Corinthia Yacht Club, is nothing short of a whimsical wonderland. We walk through a corridor with an al fresco area on the right, overlooking luxury yachts at the Pearl, and glimmering wallpaper on the left. Avian-themed lights hang above us – and at the end of the corridor, beyond a large display of fresh green apples, we witness a beautiful symphony of sights, sounds and senses.

Green apples, a sign of peace and prosperity, playfully dot the décor and are a nod to the restaurant’s heritage (albeit red apples are the mainstay of Kai Mayfair, Kai’s Songbird’s sister property in London). This is a fantastical reimagination of a garden from our dreams.

We arrive shortly before sunset – and the timing is brilliant. Bathed in dusky golden-hour shades, the views are breathtaking from this venue and we can already tell this is going to be an unforgettable dining experience.

We’re seated right next to a massive centrepiece that brings the whole space together. Glass fronds hang from high above and gracefully sway in harmony. Lush greenery and modern design elements complement the fragrance of herbs and, of course, those fresh green apples. We can hear wind chimes every time a light breeze wafts through.

Kai’s Songbird serves Nanyang cuisine which made its very first appearance in Kai Mayfair. Nanyang cuisine was liberated by the cosmopolitan vibes of London, and the concept still stands strong 14 years and a Michelin star later.

The impeccable amalgamation of Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes reflects strongly in a well-thought-out menu. All the comfort classics have interesting twists and Prashant, our knowledgeable table host, suggests a few of their best sellers to kick off. The Wasabi Prawns that arrive first, set the stage for more Nanyang goodness. Perfectly battered and doused in a light wasabi mayonnaise (even the haters will appreciate this one), this dish is easily a crowd pleaser. The Prawn Toast served next comes alongside a notable sweet chilli sauce. The Peking Duck Salad is a winner with pomegranate mixed in with baby cress and rocket. The dressing is light – a mix of honey, soy and lime – and refreshingly summery.

Speaking of duck, there’s something better than the salad. London’s Aromatic Crispy Duck is assembled tableside and is a must-try. The addition of the sambal sauce inside the pancake really lifts the dish to a whole new level of umami. The Chilli Lobster Bao Sliders are a revelation. They transport us straight to Singapore, right in front of a large bowl of the world-famous Singapore Chilli Crab. We’ve dipped enough mantous in the savoury, spicy, greasy goodness that is the chilli gravy to recall that these freshly steamed and lightly fried baos taste exactly like that. The lobster takes it up a notch – it’s recognisable yet refined. There’s extra sauce to go along with them, and we aren’t shy with it.

The mains commence after a much-needed 15-minute digestion break. One of Kai’s Songbird’s signature dishes, the Seabass in Black Bean Sauce and Mandarin Peel, is in perfect symphony with everything we’ve had so far. If this dining affair is a musical, the sea bass serenades our palate. The fish is flaky and delicious, and the simple black bean sauce has a citrusy high note from the mandarin peel.

Our next main arrives – a medium ribeye (the cook is recommended by the chef) with a honey and soya glaze. It is faultless and our steak knife slides right through. The sauce on the side is silky, spicy and has the earthy fragrances of coriander and lemongrass, sweetened by honey. Both dishes are complemented by the exceptional Spiced-Scented Fried Rice. It comes across as a simple rice dish, but it’s far from it. Incredible aromatics fill the air and every spoon feels like a hug. Fluffy grains are infused with Nanyang essences and the dish creates the perfect foil for the bolder flavours of the mains.

Familiar tastes and redefined textures meet modern cooking styles. Traditional dishes are levelled up with contemporary flair. Every order is impressive with creative plating. This is Michelin-star-worthy gastronomy and we are far too stuffed.

There’s a little space left for dessert, though. And Prashant serves up his top recommendations – a pandan sponge with coconut ice cream, topped with sago pearls, and an exciting dessert named Chocolate Does Grow on Trees. Capped with a large but perfectly constructed sesame macaron, the Valrhona chocolate fondant cake playfully integrates hazelnuts, praline ice cream and chestnut paste, creating the perfect representation of a mini, and thankfully completely edible, mythical forest.

Dessert adds the final flourish to our accurate prediction of this being an unforgettable experience. It’s the perfect end to a stellar night of epicurean excellence and there’s only one thing on our minds.

An intimate sunset dinner with Doha’s night lights? Kai’s Songbird. A joyful yet sophisticated afternoon? Kai’s Songbird. A vibrant yet intimate celebratory meal? Kai’s Songbird. It’s perfect for every occasion.

For More Information Or To Make A Reservation, Please Call Kai’s Songbird At Corinthia Yacht Club
On +974 4424 1124.