Al Jazeera Cafe, Katara

Greg is away this weekend and I was meeting a friend for breakfast. I live in West Bay and she lives on the Pearl so we decided to meet half way at Al Jazeera Cafe in Katara, a restaurant I’ve wanted to visit for a while.

Katara can get very busy but on Friday morning it was really quiet and we didn’t have a problem finding a parking space or getting a table. We chose a table with an interactive screen where we could browse the menu, watch tv and play air hockey! If you’re on a digital detox there are ‘normal’ tables too. The restaurant is lovely and light, very comfortable  and relaxing.

We were like kids swiping through the interactive menu and we both chose from the breakfast / brunch section. The staff were friendly helping us overcome technical difficulties (note the screen won’t work if you keep putting your iPhone on top of it!) and answering questions about ingredients of some dishes and drinks.

I ordered toasted rye bread with whipped goats cheese and smashed avocado and Louise choose the smoked salmon with walnut spread and quails egg. We also ordered fresh juices each – then we played air hockey! The server soon came over and set our screen to look like a table-cloth in preparation for our food. The food arrived in about 15 minutes and was nicely presented. My drink arrived but was quickly whisked away with an apology as they realised it wasn’t what I’d ordered!

We both thoroughly enjoyed our dishes, they were freshly made with good quality ingredients. Personally I would have preferred a more generous spread of goats cheese on my rye toast because I love it but overall the flavours worked well together and the portion size was spot on. Louise felt her portion was less filling but equally delicious. Our drinks were excellent, my mango emotion was thick and creamy with slices of fresh strawberry at the bottom.

It was soon 11am and the restaurant was closing for Friday prayer so we asked for the bill and wandered outside into the beautiful sunshine. We paid 143QR for both breakfast dishes and drinks which I felt was good value for the quality of the food. I’ll definitely go back and would recommend it as a place to eat when you’re at Katara. I wish I hadn’t left it so long to visit.

Al Jazeera Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

L2, Double Tree by Hilton

When I received an email inviting me for lunch at the Double Tree I was a bit stumped, I couldn’t think of the names of any their restaurants just Pure the rooftop bar which by the way, is a great place for a drink. I tried to carry out a little research about L2 but there were no reviews or mentions of it online so off I went to investigate. We arrived on Saturday lunchtime and even on entering the hotel couldn’t locate the restaurant, we had to ask to be pointed in the right direction. I was quite taken back when we arrived as it’s really modern and the interior is very comfortable, in addition pretty much every table was taken. Not quite what I expected.

L2 has two choices available for diners – the buffet or the a la carte menu. At first glance the buffet is quite small but on closer inspection there are a good variety of dishes. Hot and cold mezze, soups and fresh bread, salads, hot mains (which change daily) such as roast chicken and lamb kofta and a good selection of homemade desserts plus cheeses. From the buffet we really enjoyed the chicken soup with focaccia, the beetroot and blue cheese salad, potato salad with yoghurt, the seafood stew and lamb kofta not to mention the traditional Umm Ali. The fresh fruit drinks in huge lightbulbs were a fun touch and very refreshing.

We also sampled two dishes from the a la carte menu. The sea bass with crunchy vegetables and micro salad was a very generous portion size and full of flavour. The vanilla cheesecake with fresh strawberries was wonderfully rich and creamy with a crunchy biscuit base, it made me very happy.

Service throughout our meal was good and, considering how busy L2 was, our drinks were topped up regularly and our plates and cutlery cleared and replaced. There was a nice buzz with a mix of business people, couples, a large group of ladies and families. One thing I liked was as the buffet is quite small in terms of the size of the dishes everything was replenished and staff were always about to check if anything was running low. I also liked that the smoking and non smoking sections are in completely different rooms something which I know will appeal to a lot of people. The smoking room also has a bar area and big TV screens for a less formal feel. One a side note the happy hour is also one of the longest in town running from 12pm – 11pm with a 30% discount on drinks!

The restaurants at the Double Tree are undergoing some change and L2 is part of this. Open, the previous restaurant is now closed and rebranding is imminent. I felt that the pricing structure for the buffet and the a la carte menu needs streamlining as it appears a bit confused with too many options (see below). The staff are aware of this and they are looking at making it more simple and more appealing.

Current prices for the buffet

Breakfast is 110QR (8-10am is 70QR) a full a la carte menu also avilable.

Lunch is 60QR for 2 courses and 90QR for the full buffet. This price includes water and tea / coffee. The full a la carte menu is also available.

Dinner is 85QR and served from 6pm (65QR if you at between 6pm – 7pm) and includes water. The full a la carte menu is also available.

Children 6yrs and under eat free and 6-12yrs there is 50% off.

The hotel also offers airliners, hoteliers and teachers 30% off the price of the full buffet too.

To sum up if you are looking for a good quality buffet in a modern, relaxing restaurant this is a great place to go. Ideally located in the old town you can walk off your meal at the souk, along the corniche or at the MIA. I think it’s good value as it won’t break the bank and it’s fantastic for families due to the reduced price for children.

Here are a sample of the a la carte menus

*please note on this occasion I was a guest of the Double Tree. All opinions and photographs are my own apart from the image of the dining room as it was so busy when I was there I couldn’t get a good shot! *


L2 - DoubleTree by Hilton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato