We were excited to be invited to the Chatuchak Friday brunch, Chatuchak restarted after the summer hiatus at Isaan restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Doha.

It is well known that Friday brunch is an institution here in Doha – who doesn’t like to spend the weekend stuffing their faces – and Thai cuisine is one of our favourites. It stood to reason we were going to enjoy ourselves today! Hence with baited breath and empty stomachs, we raced off to the hotel.

Isaan is the hotel’s signature restaurant serving authentic Thai cuisine conjured up by the magicians at the open kitchens. Located on the ground floor, we were greeted by the smiling faces of the waiting team, and with a welcome drink in hand, we were shown to our table.

A cursory glance around the restaurant showed a number of stations offering salads, rice and noodles, and curries, as well as a grill. The outlet manager Adisak introduced himself and explained that the brunch took its inspiration from the street food vendors in Thailand, with diners able to talk to the chefs and see the food as it is being prepared.

The décor and ambience definitely evoked memories of trips to Thailand many moons ago. Further investigation was therefore required, so my dining partner and I grabbed a plate each and set forth.

I tried Som Tam, a spicy green papaya salad, which was perfectly fresh and zingy and sharp – everything you could ask for. My accomplice dived straight into a mound of Yum Nuea Yang, ground beef and mushrooms.

The problem with Thai food is that you can’t have just one curry, or so my accomplice informed me as he returned with two huge bowls, one laden with green chicken curry, the other with yellow. Apparently, he had been trying to decide between the two when he was convinced by the chef to try both – at the risk of appearing rude, he did just that and mightily impressed he was too. The large chunks of meat were succulent and smothered in rich, velvety sauces that were full of flavour.

At the recommendation of Adisak, he also tried a new dish at the brunch, grilled chicken with rice and spicy plum sauce. Wow, it was spicy! But not so much as to overpower the delicate chicken; it was in fact the ideal condiment.

Meanwhile, I was conscious of trying to stick to my 5-a-day, something not easily achieved either at the weekend or at brunch! However, a most affable chef I spoke to cooked up a delicious plate of fresh stir-fried vegetables with soy sauce, to which I added vegetable Pad Thai. I also added Tod Mun Pla, the cute little fish cakes with sweet chilli sauce. And ok, ok, I confess, I did also add Pla Yang Bai Toey, succulent pieces of sea bass wrapped in pandan leaves. It was all delicious and actually, fairly healthy! My halo was still intact.

However, it was completely destroyed by the onslaught at the dessert station! One of my favourite sweet treats is Khao Niew Ma-muang, sticky rice with mango and coconut cream, and I was not disappointed at Isaan. However, I spotted something else interesting, glutinous rice balls stuffed and coated with coconut. Several of these confirmed they were absolutely delicious …

At the suggestion of our server, we just about had room for another offering, banana pancakes and coconut ice cream. These really hit the spot, although sadly brought proceedings to a close.

Fans of brunch and Thai food will find this a very pleasing way to spend a Friday. Kop jai (thank you) Isaan!

Fast facts:

Friday Brunch 12:30 pm–4 pm

QAR260 with soft drinks and QAR360 with enhanced beverages

There is also a new à la carte dinner menu, with many vegetarian, vegan, gluten and dairy free choices. Monday – Sunday 6 pm – 11:30 pm  

Call 4448 1234 to make a reservation.


Author: Sarah Palmer

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