C.taste, Centro Capital Hotel

The weather last weekend was a bit of a wash out. However, it was perfect for a long, leisurely lunch which was exactly what we did on Friday as I’d been invited to brunch at C. taste, the restaurant at Centro Capital Hotel. I can imagine some of you are thinking ‘where?’ ‘never heard of it!’ that’s probably because it’s relatively new and tucked away just off C Ring road near Barwa Tower. First impressions of the hotel were good, there’s valet parking (which is vital as parking in the area is limited) and the reception area is very modern with lots of natural light.

C.taste, the all day dining restaurant is split into two sections, we chose to sit by the window away from the bar area – the other section is by the bar and the main lobby. The modern design of the hotel continued through to the restaurant with the light, bright, modern ‘monochrome with a splash of lime’ theme. I liked the variety of seating from benches seating 2/4 people to raised breakfast bars with fabulous overhead light and tables for bigger groups of 10-12 people. It felt quite cosy and created a nice ambience. The area we were in was also non smoking and I suggest, if you are sensitive to the smell of smoke, you ask for a table here as on the lower seating area you can smell smoke from the bar.

We then went for a look at the dishes on offer. At the enterance to the restaurant there was a tempting display of tapas, however they were not labeled. I stuck to the dishes that were pretty obvious such as smoked salmon and cream cheese bites and dates wrapped in bacon, both of which tasted good. I asked about the labels and they explained that they had just introduced this section and everything will be labelled in the future, as all their other dishes are.

There was also very good range of salads. I am not a fan of lettuce, I think its pointless (unless it’s in a caesar salad) and I was pleased to see some thought had gone into the salad selection. I really enjoyed the seared tuna with mango and avocado, the thai beef, chicken with pineapple and the flaked salmon with broccoli and citrus.

Moving on there were 3 rustic buckets filled with crab, prawn and mussels with a choice of dips and sauces. The seafood was very fresh and seemed popular with our fellow diners as well as ourselves.

The ‘hot’ section offered spicy tom yum soup and a milder roasted pumpkin served with a selection of fresh breads. There was also a good range of main courses such as chicken roulade with pesto (very good) beef stew which was perfect for the rainy weather, black angus striploin with yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes. 
For sushi lovers there was a small but perfectly formed section and, although not a huge choice, it was well executed. One of my favourite dishes was the beef carpaccio which was sliced thinly with a drizzle of oil, peppery rocket and salty parmesan.

We were also able to order from the grill and selected lamb chops which were juicy and well seasoned and some spicy tandoori chicken. These grilled meats, along with fresh pasta dishes, are freshly cooked to order and brought to your table.

Overall I was impressed with the choice of savoury dishes. I liked the presentation on small serving platters which meant that food was replenished quickly. There was a large group seated near us and I couldn’t help but notice they were happily tucking into plates of tender beef, crispy yorkshires, roast potatoes and gravy on this very rainy day!

Dessert was next and whilst it the choice was as extensive as at some brunches there would be something to appeal to most people. From traditional Arabic Umm Ali and ‘oriental desserts’, individual rocky roads, mahalabiya, cheesecake, fruit tart, chocolate brownies plus platters of chocolates, turkish delight and macarons.

My favourites were the shot glasses of thick cream with strawberry coulis and the rich rocky road. I loved the biscuit based on the cheesecake but found the topping too much like a mousse, we also felt the macarons were too hard and dry, the consistency was more biscuit like. There was also a range of cheeses with fruit and biscuits which I was far too full to try!


Overall I felt that the Friday brunch at C. taste is very competitively priced and represents good value for money. The buffet including water/ fresh juice is 185QR and 249QR for the package which includes wine, beer and spirits. This brunch is perfect for people wanting a relaxing Friday with a good selection of well presented, fresh food using quality ingredients. The service was friendly and efficient throughout, although we did point out that cutlery needs replacing once plates have been removed. This is not a wild, dancing, party brunch but has a nice atmosphere with the staff always on hand if needed. I also think it would be suitable for people with older children and for those who want a non smoking environment. A good addition to the Friday brunch scene, and for those not wanting to spend 400QR+ per person.

*please note that I was a guest of the hotel, I have provided an honest account of my experience and all photos are my own*

C.taste - Centro Capital Doha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Rice and The Noodle ( home delivery)

Sometimes home delivery can be a bit hit and miss in Doha, our ‘go to’ places for delivery are Nandos, Chilis, Royal Istanbul and The Chippy. However, we fancied Chinese food and a quick Talabat search led us to The Rice and The Noodle located at Souk Waqif. The menu offers a range of soups, appetisers, noodle and rice dishes plus seafood, chicken, beef and vegetables ( they also have a sushi section which we didn’t try). Greg placed our order via Talabat and they messaged him to whatsapp our location. Our food arrived in about an hour which I thought was pretty good for a weekend evening, especially knowing they’d have to negotiate the corniche to get to us! Everything was well packaged and labelled. It was also warm so nothing needed reheating.

The batter on the prawn tempura appetiser  (33QR) was lovely and light and it was a good-sized portion.

Our main dishes were good. The beef with oyster sauce (48QR) was tender and the sauce was rich but not too salty which often happens with Chinese food. The carrots and mushroom weren’t overcooked and there was a good proportion of ingredients to sauce.

The sweet and sour chicken (35QR) had a generous amount of chunky chicken pieces and again, a good balance of peppers, onion and pineapple. The sauce wasn’t overly sticky or sweet.

I’m glad we ordered the vegetables in garlic sauce (23QR) a mix of babycorn, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage they were all fresh and crunchy providing a nice contest when eaten with the other dishes and the egg fried rice (14QR). I think next time we order we’d get 2 portions of rice as one wasn’t really enough for 2 people to share.

Our delivery cost 162QR which I felt was good value for the delivery time, quality of the food and portion size. We also recieved a complimentary fruit salad which was a nice touch – there was enough to keep us grazing all night! I liked the fact that nothing was too greasy and it wasn’t swimming in oil, each dish was tasty but not too sickly or sweet. I would definitely order from here again and visit their restaurant in the souk. Overall a thumbs up from us and another place to add to our ‘go to’ list for home delivery. 

The Rice And The Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Trader Vic’s, Hilton Hotel

For some reason I always think that going out on a Thursday night makes the weekend feel longer! The difficulty is dragging myself out on a Thursday, especially because it’s been so cold and miserable recently. I find that if I get in from work and get ready to go out straight away it’s much easier than sitting down then heading out later. Trader Vic’s at the Hilton has a happy hour that starts at 4pm so we decided to start our Thursday night there.

We arrived just after 4pm and grabbed a table. It started to get busy fairly quickly partly because the weather was better than it had been for some time. The views from the jetty area are lovely, you can see across to the Pearl and over to Nobu plus it catches the late afternoon sun.

We ordered food and drinks, both arrived quickly and the service was friendly and efficient. There is a happy hour menu for food and drink with most drinks priced at around 30QR and the menu offers a range of snacks and main meals. Greg and I decided to share 2 main dishes of Singapore noodles (60QR) and crispy duck (65QR). After waiting about 15 minutes our food was brought over, it looked really good. However, it looked better than it tasted!

The noodles were only just warm and didn’t really have any distinctive taste. There was a fair proportion of tender chicken and plump prawns to noodle and veg but there wasn’t any spice or heat to the dish, it was just bland. The shredded duck was crispy in that it was dried out. It was so dry it looked like it had been heated or kept under a grill as some pieces had a crust on. There was a small dish of tasty plum sauce and some nice, crunchy cucumber and onion strips but not enough for the number of pancakes.

However, because we were absolutely starving it was soon polished off. Unfortunately our friends had ordered the same as us and theirs were identical, which I felt showed this was the standard of these dishes.

The drinks on the other hand were good. Fresh, fruity, tangy cocktails and the atmosphere was pleasant too. It was quite busy and as the sun set and the music came on it was really enjoyable. My opinion? Go for the drinks and views but skip the dishes we chose. I had heard some negatives about the food from other people but I’d eaten here before at the Friday brunch and thought overall it was pretty good so this experience was a bit of a surprise. In addition, when we received the bill it was explained that you can’t use an Entertainer voucher on the happy hour main meals which our friends wanted to do so be aware of this. Our bill came to about 330QR for 3 cocktails, 3 whiskies with coke and the 2 main dishes.

Trader Vic's - Hilton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hidden Gems – Northumberland to Alleppey via Berlin

My first hidden gem takes me back to 2014 when we were teaching in South Yorkshire, England. As teachers we get holiday time when pupils do, in the UK most Local Authorities have the same holidays which results in travel companies hiking the prices up for specific weeks to coincide with half term. In February 2014 Greg and I struck lucky as our school was off at a completely different time to anyone else. We couldn’t afford to go on holiday but desperately needed a break and I discovered a very cheap holiday rental in Northumberland. Northumberland is England’s most Northerly county and borders Scotland. It is known for its wild beaches, beautiful coastline and castles. It was without doubt one of the best holidays we ever had. The weather was stunning – clear blue skies with an icy wind and fabulous sunsets. The beaches were empty; we managed to get a table in every pub, restaurant and café without a reservation and ate some of the freshest seafood. One of the most memorable parts of our holiday was a visit to Bamburgh castle. When we arrived a Hollywood movie was being filmed and, as we were the only visitors that day, (usually its packed) we were allowed in and watched Michael Fassbender filming on the beach below. If you haven’t been to this part of the UK you must, its stunningly pretty and has so much history. A hidden gem outside of school holiday time!

My second hidden gem is Asador steakhouse just south of Checkpoint Charlie, a place we ate at several years ago .We went to Berlin on a short break just before Christmas and I had read about this steakhouse and booked a table via their website. When we found the restaurant it wasn’t quite what I expected. It was in a parade of shops on a main road. Stepping inside it was quite old-fashioned and we received a warm German welcome. It became clear that this restaurant didn’t have a menu in English so I cast my mind back to GCSE German and tried to translate the menu. I was sure knoblauch was onion and ordered soup and later realized is actually garlic and I absolutely stunk the rest of the holiday. It was seriously garlicky! It was such a wonderful meal and so funny trying to translate from a language I had learned 20 years beforehand. I have no idea if this place is still open or if the menu is now in English but, if it is, give it a try. Other restaurants were streaming with tourists but I felt we’d found a hidden gem with this one.

My third hidden gem is the Punnamada Resort in Alleppey, Kerala. We travelled here after a few days in Kochi and stayed for 3 nights. On our arrival I knew from google maps we were quite close to the hotel and we turned up a tiny narrow track into the countryside which opened up to reveal a beautiful lakeside resort. We were greeted at reception and shown to our lake view villa which was decorated in a traditional Keralan style. We had a four-poster bed, outside bathroom and fantastic views across the lake plus our own hammock and swing. It was so peaceful and pretty. Famed for its tranquil backwaters traversed by houseboats the resort gives guests an hour ride every evening to watch the sun set. Again, as we traveled out of season, the resort was very quiet – one evening we were the only guests. We loved taking afternoon tea on the lawn watching the house boats and the wildlife pass by. We also took a private speedboat ride along the canals and we were able to witness the locals going about their daily lives. A trip we’ll never forget and, out of season, a hidden gem.