The W. It’s ‘out there’. Dazzlingly contemporary, opulent and even a bit edgy, the W has long been a place of pilgrimage for lovers of style. Market by Jean-Georges is chic and has live music. And the staff know how to strike a balance between being friendly and maintaining a professional air. The vibe is good. So, it must surely follow that the only thing better than a ‘traditional’ Friday buffet brunch at the W’s Market restaurant would be an à la carte brunch… be advised, dear reader, that the parameters of tradition are on the move! Now you can have both.
Down to business. What’s changed? In a word, it’s the ‘buffet’, which is now focused on seafood, sushi and cheese and, on this occasion, was topped off by a magnificent Japanese tuna.
It seemed a little too early in the proceedings for cheese, though I do like a nice strong mix of wasabi and soy to get my Japanese horseradish hit and, for me, it definitely sharpens the sushi experience, so I loaded up on freshly shucked oysters and even indulged in a little lobster and crab – conveniently already cracked open by the chef. Ah, I hear you say, surely it can’t just be fish and cheese? And that’s where the freshly prepared à la carte element comes in.
‘On The Table’ – a natty selection of finger foods – is served at your table, but don’t fill yourself up on these little teasers. In between another trip to the buffet, you take delivery of the ‘2nd Round’ (yes, that’s what it’s called). Among other delicacies, we have truffle pizza – how extravagant – smoked salmon and, even a lovely plate of fried chicken with honey mustard, served at your table. By this time I was starting to prefer the sit-down option. The ‘3rd Round’ heralded the arrival of four different and very tasty salads plus a cheese burrata with figs and a lovely onion marmalade. I’m not sure why I had previously convinced myself that I didn’t like goats’ cheese, but here I was, tucking in to these dishes designed not only for sharing but also to relieve you of the hard work of having to decide what goes with what. Now you can just leave that magic formula for your epicurean delight to the experts, as it should be.
Echoes of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ were drifting across the room. Tinkling the ivories on what used to simply be called an organ but, nowadays, looks like something that belongs in NASA’s control room, the funky musician in residence kept us humming along to some classic tunes.
Our server, Kellan, delivered a tower of seafood, aka the ‘Seafood Platter’ to the table. Among the shrimps, crab, oysters and lobster, we now had the privilege of expertly sliced slivers of the tuna, still resting so majestically on the buffet counter, and the chefs’ accompanying sauces and mayos coaxed forth the delicate sweetness of the tuna and the shrimp.
The ‘4th Round’ was upon us. This was to be the big one – the one we meat lovers had been waiting for – except, by now, I had the pescatarian urge and could not resist ordering the sea bass. Described as being served on crab, with mashed potatoes, vierge sauce and horseradish foam, I was sold and just had to have it. I could have chosen beef tenderloin or chicken breast, risotto, salmon or even eggplant parmigiana, but the sea bass just sounded so delicious…
Is it truly decadent to actually eat gold? Ok, I know its gold leaf that’s so thin it will literally just disappear if you rub it between your fingers, but really, eating gold – is this how the other half live? You’ve probably guessed that the gold was part of the playful, decorative bling that is the W’s take on pastries, mousses, doughnuts and goodness knows whatever else, but I had to save just a little room for a final piece of cheese.
In conclusion, although there’s a noticeable shift towards innovation on the menu, it’s still relaxed whilst contemporary, but it is in the à la carte mains, especially the 4th Round, such as the tenderloin and the sea bass, where the chefs’ eagerness to impress comes through. Congratulations to the Brazilian General Manager of Market, Guilherme de Camargo, and the team; what a superb effort.
If phones ever evolve to have body-shape recognition I don’t think I’d be able to unlock mine unless it had a ‘Friday brunch compensation filter’.
Call Market by Jean-Georges at 4453 5135 for enquiries and reservations. Visit the W Doha website for more information.
International man of mystery, beachcomber extraordinaire, raconteur and bon vivant
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