Over the last few years the dining options available in Doha have expanded greatly with the opening of new restaurants and the re-launch of many of the famous Doha Friday brunches, and whilst the sceptics and the seasoned diners amongst you will opine that its still ‘much of a muchness’ (please don’t ask for a grammatical analysis of that phrase!) in today’s market its fair to say that all the players are now looking for a novel edge over the competition.
So, what if you could tickle your palate with a decent selection of Brazilian, Chinese, Italian, Arabic, European, meat, seafood, an outdoor BBQ, a special kid’s area with its own menu, no queues, table carving, a cocktail service, live music and even a massage thrown in? I am going to take you, dear reader, on a journey to the Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park.
The first thing to note is that this is not the Crowne Plaza in Al Dafna / West Bay – yes, there are now two Crowne Plazas, and today we are focused on the Crowne Plaza Business Park, as it’s known, down on Airport Street, quite near Souq Waqif, next to the new(ish) Holiday Inn and opposite the Jaidah Square building / Chevrolet Showroom.
Many a hotel Friday brunch follows a tried and true formula. Comfortable seating? Obviously. Snappy service? Certainly. Enticing drinks list? Margarita, please. So, what is it that makes any one place stand out from the rest?
The chefs at the Crowne Plaza have created a colourful and seasonal menu of starters, mains, and desserts accompanied by a modest selection of drinks including their special cocktails, so kick-off with a thirst-quenching South American cocktail, mixed right there at your table.
Enjoy an unhurried, casual meal featuring all the classics such as sushi, oysters, taramasalata and hummus, kebabs, together with larger mains, some of which, such as the French beef stew with carrots, you just don’t see elsewhere. Cooked slowly in a delicious sauce, then mixed with some garlic roasted potatoes, you can share these dishes. I am a fan of Chinese dumplings and loved the slightly spicy chicken momo the siu mai and the obligatory sushi.
Tempting as it is to load up on the portions, from experience, I have found that the secret to getting maximum value from a buffet is to have a little often. Don’t overdo the delicious bread, but try to get a little bit of everything in. Then sit, eat and then walk away wondering how such humble ingredients can make for such a satisfying feed.
So it was, that no matter how much of that stew I wanted, I forced myself to wonder over to sample the beetroot mousse salad. Hailed as one of the new generation of brain-friendly superfoods, apart from being very colourful (don’t drop any on your shirt), it also tasted surprisingly good. And just the right sized portion to leave you wanting more but still leaving enough tummy room to try something else, in case it was the sea bass. Time to explore the bbq outside – Chef Rada was still firing up the beast whilst sharpening some very serious looking skewers so I retreated back to the dining room, thinking I’ll come back for that but secretly knowing that I probably wouldn’t have the room by then.
By now it was time for me to try a few slices of South American beef from the Crowne Plaza’s very own Brazilian restaurant, Rodizio, whilst my partner went off to try the complimentary head and shoulder massage. The beef had been cooked a little longer for me as I prefer it medium-well, but there were plenty of variations available. And you don’t even have to move from your seat. The other impressive piece of carving is of grilled pineapple (you might be surprised if you look up how they grow!). Traditionally served in Mexico in small slices to cleanse the palate, here it was presented as a full-blown dish in its own right, delivering an interesting taste sensation to boot.
I’d go as far as to say that the majority of any guest’s memorability hinges on their positive engagement with the staff, who are courteous, attentive and helpful – it was smiles all round – smile, they say, and the world smiles with you. True, my face was aching.
To sum up, there’s no menu here, no fancy Michelin stars, no minuscule portions served over many courses, just an invitation to choose from a selection which veers from comfort food to regional specialities. The chefs have a simple philosophy: that good service and honest ingredients will always win over any food fad! Where it’s the little things that leave the largest impressions… the Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park, that’s where.
Learn more about Crowne Plaza Doha’s latest promotions. Call 4408 7777 or visit their website.
International man of mystery, beachcomber extraordinaire, raconteur and bon vivant
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