No coals. No matches. No mess. Unlimited drinks. And no washing up. And oh yes, top-class nosh. If that all sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. It’s the all-new Santa Monica Breakfast Club (SMBC) Thursday night BBQ at the Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas. If you haven’t visited the Grand Hyatt for some time, there has been a transformation on the lower ground floor. Gone is The Grill, replaced by the Santa Monica Breakfast Club. With a more informal and laid-back vibe than The Grill, the success of the BBQ night speaks for itself. No need to get your glad rags out, just rock up in your casual clothes, LA style, park yourself at a table and relax.
Just in case you didn’t know, the real Santa Monica is part of Los Angeles, California. It’s a beach resort town where everyone is a good-looking aspiring actor or actress after a lucky break. Everything and everyone is hip and trendy. And you’ve probably seen the pier, with its famous Ferris wheel, many times on TV without even knowing it. Now you get it.
Just after the reception, take the stairs down, or the lift on the right, to ground level and you have arrived at the SMBC and then it is swiftly through to the funky outdoor area and that lovely BBQ aroma.
If you’re feeling guilty about your unhealthy lifestyle (as I was) then you can salve your conscience by attacking the salad bar first. Yes, I think I read somewhere that beetroot is the new wonder food, so I’ll stack up on that … and those shiny, red, sweet, cherry tomatoes, are, I believe, full of lycopene and that’s got to be good for me … and that fresh lettuce, glistening in the lights, yes that’s totally natural so I’ll take some back to my table. The staff are constantly buzzing around and, within a few seconds, I have a glass of something (to aid the digestion) in my hand. Did I read somewhere that the Mediterranean diet was good for me? It certainly tastes like it.
The live music is a nice touch and the gentle medley of middle-of-the-road hits make a pleasant change from ‘muzak’ – not too loud either.
Now on to the main event – the BBQ proper. Kicking off with a plate of grilled marinated chicken and a few vegs, including some boiled potatoes, just make me feel better, and back to the table for the SMBC casual dining experience. This really is the weather for it too – that lovely warm and gentle breeze and the gardens just beyond – it can’t get much better. Lamb chops next, one of my all-time favourites – and not those dried-up offerings that you often get at a buffet – no sir, these were hot and juicy, straight off the BBQ and all snapped up within a few minutes by hungry SMBC diners. Ah, what’s that I see before me? Well, it certainly looks like Cumberland sausage…but there’s only one way to find out, and that’s load it onto the plate! The chef later told me that they have their own recipe and the sausages are made exclusively for the SMBC using chicken but I have to say it was as close to the real thing as you can get out here. No worries on that score. Another visit to the BBQ and this time it’s the steak that gets the treatment – gotta love that charcoal grill flavour – garnished with a little salad, I probably added a little too much onion, but that’s the veg I would grow on my desert island if I ever got shipwrecked and I can’t imagine life without onion (or garlic!).
By now the old waistline was starting to expand. I’ve given strict instructions to my wife that if I ever resort to wearing girth busting trousers with an elasticated waistband she is to immediately call the fashion police and report me, for my own good of course, for crimes against fashion. Having said that, the idea was starting to have its appeal.
There was fish for pescatarians but I gave it a miss as it was time for some palate cleansing ice cream. Or should I take a crème brûlée, or maybe a chocolate mousse – or just maybe the whole lot (insert devilish face here!)?
Time to leave while I could still walk – I must be carrying a few extra kilos by now …
What can I say except that this is a great place to meet up on a Thursday night – the weather is superb, there’s space aplenty and you can get fed and watered, at the Grand Hyatt no less, on what you would invest elsewhere on drinks alone.
The Grill is no more. Long live the grill.
Santa Monica Breakfast Club it is.
The Santa Monica Breakfast Club at Grand Hyatt Doha is open daily from 6 am to midnight.
For inquiries and bookings, call 4448 1240 or visit Santa Monica Breakfast Club’s website
International man of mystery, beachcomber extraordinaire, raconteur and bon vivant
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