The Square, Intercontinental City

As we only have a couple of months of 2015 left I looked through The Entertainer to see which vouchers we hadn’t yet used and came across ‘ buy one get one free’ buffet for The Square at the Intercontinental City Hotel.  We were due to go out with friends so decided to take advantage of the offer on Saturday lunchtime, booking a table via Facebook is always very easy; they answer queries and take reservations very promptly. The restaurant is on the 2nd floor and although it doesn’t have much of a view it is nicely designed, broken up into several small areas and is quite light and spacious. The buffet is spread across 2 large rooms with a live cooking station serving kebabs and koftas, hot food such as pastas and curries, a fresh pizza bar and then another section with salads, breads, cheeses and dessert

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The Entertainer voucher is for food only so we ordered drinks then went up to choose from an array of food. We all agreed there was a good choice and it was nice to select your own items to be cooked just for you. As a group of 4 we particularly enjoyed the sushi, variety of salads and the fish curry. Desserts, as I find often in Qatar, looked lovely but didn’t taste as good as they looked – again the cheesecake was more like mousse ( my search for a good cheesecake continues…) however, the chocolate mousse and red velvet cake were delicious.

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Overall the cost for 4 people including 4 lunch buffets, 5 beers, 1 cocktail, 2 large bottles of water and a tip was 600QR which is a very good value for money. We will defiantly go back, we still have 2 vouchers to use and as we pretty much live next door its very convenient!

*Please note The Entertainer voucher is food only and cannot be used for Friday brunch.

The Square - InterContinental The City Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jazz Club, Oryx Rotana

In a week in which I got Bronchitis, lost my purse and was refused a visa for a holiday to China, Thursday couldn’t come quick enough. We had a table booked for 7.30pm and when we arrived the Jazz Club was quite busy with a mix of people eating and drinking. I was surprised at the decor, it’s a complete contrast to JALC, a sunken bar behind which the band was set up, white leather chairs, pearlescent tiles and low lighting.  I really liked the vibe it created.

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We selected drinks from the happy hour menu which runs 5-8pm then ordered food. For starters we shared Asian Touch, little sticks of very tender lamb, beef and chicken sat on top of a rich, sweet satay sauce they were delicious. We both chose tenderloin for our main course and it was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, the best I’ve had so far in Doha. It was cooked to perfection, well seasoned and had great flavour, the mash and steamed veg as accompaniments were also very good. I am not usually a fan of food served on slate / wood but as this had a section for the sides it was better. I was too full for dessert but Greg battled through and had deep fried ice cream in a cornflake crust which he really enjoyed. My one ( very small criticism) is serving individual plastic portions of very hard butter – the breadbasket was really very good and serving butter like this didn’t really fit in with the rest of the food.

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About 9pm the lights dimmed further and the band started to play. At this point it got much busier and despite the buzz of a full bar the music could still be enjoyed. The band were really entertaining and the female vocalist was good. There was a mixture of music from ‘ At Last’ ‘ Valerie’ to ‘ Stand By Me’ and ‘ Venus’. As we left about 11pm there were very few free seats left.

Throughout the night the atmosphere and service was excellent. I’d estimate for 3 courses it would cost about 300QRpp and the quality of the food makes this good value. If you like live music and steak you really should give it a go, especially as a small group or a couple.

* On this occasion I was a guest of the Jazz Club, as always my review is completely honest and the photographs are my own.

Jazz Club - Oryx Rotana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hakkasan, St Regis

Hakkasan is one of my favourite restaurants in Doha. The food is incredible, I like the design and atmosphere of the restaurant and the service is always very attentive. We have had several outstanding meals there notably the Chinese New Year menu after which we felt inspired to book a holiday to China! However, in May a large group of us went for Friday brunch and I felt underwhelmed by the experience and after leaving some constructive feedback Paul the Deputy General Manager got in touch and invited me and a guest back for the proper Hakkasan experience. Eventually Emma and I found ourselves available at the same time so on Friday off we headed.

The temperature has dropped recently and although there was a storm in the air we chose to sit outside. The terrace is a lovely area with lanterns, a small stream and trellising which breaks up the space, the tables are spaced well enough apart it doesn’t feel cramped. We started by ordering cocktails ( the choice is vast and the staff are always willing to advise based on your preferences) then Paul came over and we had a chat about the menu, the Golden Week promotion which was on and how brunch has changed slightly to overcome initial issues similar to the ones we faced several months ago.

Emma and I both ordered the Hakka dim sum and we were advised to try the ‘Golden Week’ dim sum – it was superb, especially the scallop and lobster. We were told that on a Friday morning 800 dim sum are made by hand which is no mean fate when you consider the delicacy and consistency of each one. The dim sum were quite filling so for our main course we ordered off the ‘ small bites’ section of the menu choosing prawn toast and salt and pepper squid. The prawn toast was very good, really crispy and packed with prawn. The salt and pepper squid was also good, not too spicy with a thick crisp batter. As both of these dishes were fried it was more than enough to share or I think it may have become a bit too heavy. Golden Week macrons were brought to us as dessert, they were so beautiful it seemed a shame to eat them but we managed, they were incredibly light and sweet and melted in your mouth.

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It was a lovely evening, the food and service was superb throughout. As Emma and I were guests we paid only for a selection of what we ordered and some was complimentary. My faith in Hakkasan has been restored and I would be happy to return for a brunch knowing the issues we had in May have been addressed. If you do go during the cooler months I would recommend a table outside as it really is pretty.

Victoria Tea Room, Grand Heritage Hotel

I like the mock chateau design of the Grand Heritage hotel, the gardens and ground are really pretty and the lobby area although small is nicely furnished with a beautiful display of lilies. We had booked afternoon tea in the Victoria Tea Room which is located just off the lobby and is decorated in dark paneled wood and luxury fabrics based on a library or reading room.

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When I rung to reserve a table for two I was told I needed to pre order as the food would take a long time to prepare, the choice was English or Arabic afternoon tea and we both opted for English. I was also advised the whole room is smoking with no nonsmoking section, which wasn’t a problem on the day as there were only us and one other table occupied, but I imagine if it was full and everyone was smoking it would be unpleasant as it’s quite a small space. I was also asked 4 times if I had a voucher so there must be a promotion on (I didn’t have a voucher)

We were given a large selection of tea to choose from with suggested brewing time and temperatures, I decided on good old fashioned Big Ben -English breakfast and Rachel went with Chamomile. I thought the choice of tea pot and cup was a bit out of place as they were both clear and very modern which didn’t seem to fit in with the design of the afternoon tea other items or the surroundings! After placing the tea order our 3 tiered savory and sweet snacks arrived. It would have been nice at this point to have explained what each item was but they were just placed in front of us so it was a bit of a guessing game. The sandwiches were very fresh and all on different types of bread,  fillings consisted of salmon, roast beef, smoked chicken, roasted vegetable and my favorite – mozzarella and tomato with pesto. At this point we both decided we needed another pot of tea so we ordered the same again as we thought it was unlimited and as the tea is freshly brewed you can’t just ask for hot water!

 

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Moving on to sweets I thought the scones on the middle tier were nice and fresh but would have been better served with strawberry jam rather than apricot preserve, there was also a coconut cake and a cinnamon bun. The final tier was sponge cakes and mousse. By this point we were getting a bit full so the bottom tier remained almost untouched, I asked for it to be boxed up.

Overall the surroundings were lovely, it was quiet and we had a good chat and never felt rushed, the service was efficient and unobtrusive, the quality of the food was good but was let down by lack of explanation of each item. When the bill arrived we had been charged for an extra pot of tea each bringing the bill to just over 400QR for both of us which I felt that this was quite expensive and although I had a nice time and left on a sugar high it really would have been better to have had a voucher!

Victoria Tea Lounge - Mövenpick Hotel Al Aziziyah Doha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Megu, The Pearl

Megu had been recommended to me a few times and as there was an Entertainer voucher for ‘buy one get one free’ on the 150QR business lunch menu we decided to head out to The Pearl. Megu is in Porto Arabia and there is parking really close by then you enter a lift which takes you up to the restaurant.
We received a warm welcome and were seated by the window. The design of the restaurant is lovely, heavy chairs, chunky tables and an arched window with great views of the pearl and lots of natural light. There is a full length balcony which would be lovely when the weather cools a little bit more. The (very pretty) menus arrived and I checked if we could use the voucher but our waitress wasn’t sure so went to check. The manageress then came to tell us the voucher couldn’t be used on a weekend which was a bit awkward as we’d primarily gone to use the voucher and didn’t want to leave as we had been seated and ordered drinks. The menu was 150QR for 3 courses plus a drink which is good value anyway so we opted to stay. Unfortunately I couldn’t check the small print on the voucher as it was on an app and I had no internet!

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Starters arrived swiftly – asparagus in a crunchy rice batter with a good quality soy dipping sauce and battered shrimps in a spicy cream sauce, neither dish lasted long as they were so delicious! I chose sirloin steak cooked on a hot stone with mash for my main course and it was delicious. The generous sized steak was packed with flavor and was cooked to perfection. Greg chose the sushi and got 3 x 4 rolls he said they were all very good and when pushed (and after a bit of eeny meeny) said he favored the shrimp roll.

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For dessert I ordered the cheesecake as I am still on a mission to find the best one in Doha unfortunately this one wasn’t it.  I wasn’t fond the light and fluffy texture which was more like a mousse – it was a bit tasteless even with the mango coulis and assortment of nuts. Greg enjoyed his panacotta but was not so keen on what appeared to be the grated zest at the bottom of the dish. The presentation of all our courses was clever and unique and certainly provided the wow factor.
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Overall the food was superb and we would return it would be nice to sit outside on an evening. I did feel a bit let down by dessert and the fact we couldn’t use the voucher. I’d definitely recommend a visit, if you get the set lunch for 150QR it’s a great deal.  It was also frustrating we couldn’t leave a tip to recognize the good service we had receive as we couldn’t add it to the bill and they had no change for a 500QR. For two business lunches, 2 soft drinks and water the bill came to 320QR. Continue reading