There are places in Doha that some people rave about but I don’t like, there are places I love that other people don’t rate highly and then there are places I feel indifferent to. Hwang at the InterCon is one of them. Despite living next door and hearing some good reviews (and one or two bad ones) I never felt compelled to try it. However, their Yum Cha Friday brunch has polarized some people so when I was invited to try it myself I jumped at the chance – would I love it or loath it?! The challenge was set…..
It’s always a little worrying when you arrive at reception, give your name and there is a hesitation – especially when the table has been booked for you. However, we were located on the system and we were swiftly taken to our table. At first we were shown a lovely, large table in a sectioned off area but I asked if we could have a smaller table nearer the bar as I like to be nosy and people/food watch. Our server said this wasn’t a problem and a new table was found for us. The decor was a bit unexpected, it was more modern than I’d imagined it’d be with lovely bright accessories, interesting art work and an open bar area.
We were given menus and the concept was explained to us – basically you order as many dishes as you like and everyone shares. Unlike some other brunches food is served to your table. It was nice to be given a comprehensive drinks menu and some snacks whilst we perused the menu.
We started with a selection of appetizers which arrived quickly. Highlights were the light and flavorsome siew mai (I think I ate a full serving to myself!) the wasabi prawns which packed a bit of a punch and spring rolls. We found the fish cakes a little cold and rubbery.
We then ordered a variety of main dishes which arrived at different intervals. I loved the spicy beef salad, broccoli and the duck. Other favourites were beef satay which was wondefully tender, crab rangoon, nasi goreng and the asparagus with sambal belacan. The wok fried duck was so good we ended up ordering another. The chef also sent out another duck dish for us to try that wasn’t on the menu and it was delicious. We were a little disappointed with both the jungle curry and the red thai curry as it was felt they were watery and lacked ingredients to create a good texture. We fed this back but we were told this is an authentic version and it would not be changed.
Our orders for last drinks and desserts were then taken. As we were all feeling pretty full we were advised to order a couple of desserts between us all. I loved the gooey chocolate cake, I could have eaten a couple! In fact, I ate the other portion as no one else liked it. I didn’t like the coconut sticky rice with mango as I felt it was bland and it didn’t taste of much but it was demolished by the others. So it’s fair to say the desserts divided opinion.
Throughout our meal the service was superb, Sandesh ensured we were well fed and watered (especially with Mr Ally’s ‘special cocktail’ concoction!). As we were sat near the bar we weren’t in the main hub of the restaurant but there was a great atmosphere and buzz. So, did I love it or loath it? To be fair neither, but I’m leaning towards love more than loath. There were some fantastic, stand out dishes that I would go back for. The service and ambiance were excellent and I think it’s well priced. However, there were a couple of dishes that just didn’t hit the mark. I think that it’s the type of brunch where you go once, find out what you like then go back again and thoroughly enjoy it. This is what we (and the friends we were with) intend to do. It’s also a great brunch to do with a group as its relaxed, informal and fun.
At the end of brunch we were given a drinks voucher for Strata upstairs on the 56th floor. As a sign of how full we were we chose to go downstairs to Al Jalsa Garden which is one of my favourite places in the city instead! Overall it was a lovely Friday.
*On this occasion I was a guest of the Intercontinental Doha the City. My opinions and photographs are, as always, my own. Our friends paid for themselves however they did use a 241 Advantage Club voucher *