Ok, hands up all those that know there are two, yes two, Crowne Plaza hotels in Doha? I thought as much… none of you! So, FYI, the latest Crowne Plaza Hotel is in West Bay (within walking distance of the W Doha Hotel and Kempinski Residences, for your reference) and on the sixth floor is their Nidaaya restaurant and bar where I rocked up for the Thursday night seafood buffet.
The first thing I have to report is that Nidaaya is a big room and currently undergoing some cosmetic work so please give the staff a bit of leeway as, right now, it’s a work-in-progress but will no doubt look great when the transition from a rather business-like grey to a light, bright and airy space is finished. Although the chirpy Souhail, manager, was on hand to ensure all things ran smoothly and introduce the chefs, the staff constantly glide between tables just in case.
Now, dear reader, on to the raison d’être, the buffet. With a seafood theme you are going to see food… and eat it. My apologies for that but I just couldn’t resist it.
Whilst deceptively compact, the buffet offers the full range, including prawn salads, and a magnificent selection of sushi, although you have to hunt these down as they have taken up residence on the other side of the room! Everything you want is here.
Tucked away, as they are, in this curious little gastronomic bolt-hole, I definitely think the chefs try a little bit harder to be more creative and it shows, as you can spot a few gems such as stir-fried shrimps in a sweet sauce, and the irresistible baked hamour with mustard sauce in a pastry casing – as I love pastry I found that dish really tasty and can recommend it.
The ¡Viva España! affectionados out there amongst you, dear readers, can tuck into genuine paella or go for a bbq-style grilled fresh red snapper (amongst others) from the fish-market style selection.
And then, of course, there are the obligatory desserts. I know it’s easy to convince yourself that by the time you get around to dessert, you’re stuffed full, especially if you have a savoury, rather than a sweet, tooth, and are not wearing clothes woven from a stretchable fabric, but consider, as I do, that an equal amount of time and effort has also gone into preparation and display of these mini-delights and thus, in my humble opinion, it is only fair that you give them a fair old crack of the whip. Boasting strawberries, raspberries, chocolate and, well, you name it, they are a great way to finish-off and I also find they tend to clean the palate, so do save a little corner of your tummy for a treat.
There you have it dear reader, a spacious room with a view, where you can chat privately without being in earshot of the neighbours, table service for your drinks and a buffet that will satisfy.
Go hungry, leave satisfied and tell them that I, from Marhaba, sent you.
Review by: David Moore
International man of mystery, beachcomber extraordinaire, raconteur and bon vivant.