There are very few things I love more than cheese. The list goes something like:
- Online shopping
- My family and friends
- My handsome man (he made me write that)
And then, there is dim sum or more specifically, dumplings
In Australia we call it yum cha and interestingly (OK maybe not), yum cha, which means drinking tea, is the older version of dim sum. In some parts of southern China, restaurants start serving these little morsels at 5am which would actually suit me fine, being an early riser.
Dim sum/yum cha of whatever you call it, consists of bite-sized portions traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates.
Now in Doha, it’s fair to say that a good dumpling is very hard to find. Special mention must be made of Asia Live at Marriott Doha and Spice Market at W Doha both of which have very skilled Chinese chefs who made exquisite dumplings. But until recently, there has been little in the way of traditional lunch time offerings.
My introduction to Hwang could not have been less auspicious – on arrival int eh hotel we were directed to the wrong floor then managed to stumble into the restaurant (finding the hotel itself required a knowledge of Doha’s labrinythne West Bay back streets). But once inside, all was forgiven.
The menu offers a dim sum size selection of dishes including soups, fried, steamed, wok fried, curries, vegetables and of course sweets.
You can have as many or as few as you want. Of course, I wanted all the dumplings.
We started with a rich chicken and prawn laksa, which was deeply spiced and lush. We later learned the chef is Malaysian and you can see his deft hand with spices in many of the dishes.
There were only two actual dumplings on the extensive menu – a prawn hargow and a steam chicken siew mai. Both had paper thin dough and were perfectly formed. a word on this – many places in Qatar sell dumplings but the dough isn’t quite right. Mostly it’s too heavy and thick and in the wrong proportion to the filling. But on this occasion, my cravings were sated.
Other highlights were a gently sweet and spicy wasabi prawns, a rich and deep red curry beef and a wonderfully smoky asparagus dish. Chicken and beef satay had just the right hit of chill and a baked crab rangoon will change the way you see this tiki bar staple – only a hint of cream cheese!
A real highlight was the service. Summer and Angelle worked hard to keep us in drinks and dumplings. They were sweet, friendly and very knowledgable about the food they were serving. The decor was stylishly far east and the crowd for this intimate brunch was a mix of tables of families and friends. the vibe was relaxed and such a departure from some of Doha’s more raucous brunches.
Drink and dine packages are equally well judged. Food only is QR228 while with house drinks it’s QR328 and with cocktails and spirits (including a lethal Singapore Sling and an excellent house red wine) for QR428.
As a member of The Advantage Club in Qatar, I was able to use a two for one voucher, so the value was doubled!
As I said, I was prepared to be underwhelmed by this brunch. I stand corrected.
Still in West Bay and also serving up a mean dumpling is the always excellent Hakkasan. I hadn’t been to their Friday brunch since it first started. But with that famous outside terrace and the promise of some dumplings and good conversation, I was lured back.
Consistently one of the best restaurants in Doha, Hakkasan manages to deliver both style and substance in spades.
The brunch itself has a limited menu of their favorites – steamed dumplings, fried morsels plus mains. Each table can choose four from each of the steamed and fried (with one serving per diner) plus a main each.
Compared to the lavish buffets at other brunches, on paper it doesn’t seem like enough for a dumpling loving table of hungry women. But add to this unlimited Beijing duck pancakes (yes…unlimited) plus ladles of a delicate beef noodle soup and of course, the cocktails and sparkling wines, you have more than enough.
Highlights were the Wagyu beef and mushroom puff (which is a work of art in itself), the scallop shumai and the chive dumpling. I could have feasted on these all day, but the mains were also delectable including a melt in your mouth pepper beef. the chefs at this place know their Chinese food.
Hakkasan is as much about the vibe as it is about the food. The terrace, which will be bearable for another few weeks before summer descends, is the perfect Friday lunch location. The only jarring aspect was the booming noise from the band playing at the more raucous brunch in the main part of the hotel.
Service as always, was perfectly paced and friendly. Like Hwang, Hakkasan has a range of packages which all present excellent value:
- Inclusive of unlimited select teas only: QR 228 per person
- Inclusive of a welcome cocktail and unlimited selected spirits, white and red wine, beer, water and soft drinks QR 398 per person
- Inclusive of a welcome cocktail and unlimited selected Bellinis, premium sparkling wine, white and red wine, beer, water and soft drinks QR 398 per person (minimum of two people).
So for this dumpling loving gal, there are options.All than and dim sum…(wee what I did there??!!).
- Hwang at Intercontinental the City, Doha
- Hakkasan at St Regis Doha
Phone: +974 444 60170
- Advantage Club Qatar
*All meals were paid for by myself. I used a two for one voucher from @advantage_club at Hwang.