Summer is a difficult time in Doha. Any veteran of the Doha heat can attest to that. Not only does anyone with vacation days flee the scene, but life becomes a mad dash from one AC to the next.
So thank goodness The St Regis Doha is keeping the spirit of brunch alive this summer! If you are a veteran of Doha, you will almost certainly be aware of the Grand Brunch at the St Regis Doha. The glorious spread of food is infamous for guaranteeing delicious cuisine from all around the world. So, we were a little curious when we heard about the Summer Fiesta Brunch – how would it compare?
We were greeted at the door by a host of friendly, welcoming faces who quickly escorted us to our table — in the stupendous Opal by Gordon Ramsey. It was the perfect spot for brunch – bathed in sunlight but completely protected from the sweltering heat outside.
As we wandered through the mass of buffet tables, we began to see the enormity of the task in front of us. There weren’t just dishes from Opal by Gordon Ramsey… there were dishes from Gordon Ramsey and The Raw Bar as well! The brunch buffet reached beyond the walls of Opal and stretched past the Raw Bar to the enclosed patio outside. On the patio, a live band played smooth parodies to create a lively, energetic atmosphere. Chef Elias Gemayel, the Head Chef at Opal by Gordon Ramsey, was very keen to show us around – and with how delicious everything was – it’s not hard to see why.
For the first course (of many) we decided to explore the salad bar. I’ve never seen so much green! Chef Elias explained to us that all the vegetables he used were grown locally and anything that couldn’t be grown in Qatar was imported fresh. You could certainly tell – the fresh greens combined with the homemade salad dressings and dips, made the perfect amuse-bouche.
If anyone has been to Opal before, they will remember one of the restaurants most iconic features – the pizza oven. Chef Elias had it put to good use making fresh, personalised pizzas which were piping hot, perfectly cooked and, most importantly, delicious!
Not all main courses are made equal, and the specials at the Summer Fiesta Brunch made that pretty obvious. The smell of freshly cooked Beef Wellington had been drifting through the dining room and finally – we could pounce. The pastry was warm and flaky, and the beef inside was cooked to perfection. Chef Elias paired it excellently with creamy mashed potatoes and sweet carrot puree, all tied together with scrumptious brown gravy.
What better way to follow red meat than with more red meat? The more moderate of you might have chosen one of the beef dishes, but trust me, these Wagyu burgers were too tempting to pass up. They were served medium rare with any choice of three tasteful homemade sauces. The meat inside was soft and tender and paired nicely with the fresh bun, tangy cheese and fresh veggies.
For our next course (roughly number seven) we decided it was time to abandon the red meat – for our cholesterol levels sake. The Raw Bar had a menagerie of caviar, carpaccio, sushi, and shrimp but it was the Salt Baked Salmon that really stole the show. Chef Elias explained that the salmon was halved and stuffed with lemon slices and herbs, then covered in a mix of sea salt and egg. This curious combination of salt and egg created a hard shell of salt around the salmon while it cooked, allowing the fish to be gently steamed inside. The result was a perfectly soft, flavourful fish dish.
If by some miracle, you’re still feeling peckish, there was still an array of dishes to try. There was a range of international favourites like Bangers and Mash, Conchiglie Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Sebzeli Tavuk Kebab, and Rigatoni Bolognese, but they are all tied together with an Indian twist. Chef Elias explained that Indian cuisine was a popular fan-favourite at The St Regis, and so while they wanted to make sure there was something for everyone, they couldn’t help but add a little Indian spice!
Finally! Dessert! Now at this point, you may feel too full to move – but we guarantee that dessert is worth it. While no brunch is complete without a chocolate fountain, a brunch with a chocolate fountain AND a crepe stand is a rare and wonderful thing. We were completely spoiled for choice!
And so, with our hands perched atop our round tummies, we assured ourselves that while the Summer Fiesta Brunch wasn’t quite as large as the infamous Grand Brunch, it really didn’t need to be. The fabulous array of flavours on offer was incredible and we didn’t regret a single mouthful.
Author: Charlotte Wright
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