It’s early days people, but I’m calling it. Saturday lunch is the new Friday brunch.
I will warn you that my form on such proclamations is spotty. I am still waiting for “Wednesday is the new Thursday” to become a thing.
But this time I may be into something here. As we see numbers at Friday brunch struggle, with its lavish offerings and promises of an afternoon spent in party mode, this one-time Doha mainstay is facing stiff competition from Saturday Lunch.
More restaurants are cottoning onto the fact that people perhaps want something a little less opulent and time consuming than a long lunch and are adding a new option to their dining arsenal.
The appeal of a Saturday version of the brunch is that it can be as long or as short as you like. Prices are on the whole more reasonable than Friday brunches. The menu offerings seem to be focused and you can fit it in around a day of activities or whatever real people do on Saturdays (mine involves a lot of complaining about Sunday looming). I’ve also noticed some of these brunches are family friendly – bonus!
Here is a quick look at some of the hotels and restaurants buying into the new phenomenon. Some of them I have already experienced. Others remain on my #saturdaybrunchgoals list.
Nozomi Doha is a place I haven’t spent a lot of time at – to my detriment. This Japanese restaurant has stunning views, great service and quality food. Their new dumpling brunch every Saturday is a good way to sample their hospitality. QR120 for an unlimited selection of 20 dumplings, sweet and savory as well as water and soft drinks is hard to beat.
I tried this recently and was wowed by their king crab wonton as well as their Kobe beef dumplings. A family friendly environment also helps with the vibe – a place to go with a big group to sample everything on the menu.
In the same vicinity, El Faro at the Marsa Malasz was an early adopter of the Saturday brunch/lunch. This is one of my favorite restaurants in town. It has a funky, industrial vibe and some seriously authentic Spanish food. Their Saturday offering is an al la carte menu of unlimited tapas and paella plus desserts. Their patatas bravas is something to behold – spicy and moreish. I can also vouch for their paella, served at the table, with the proper crispy base. It’s QR 240 per person, including soft drinks or QR 380 per person, including vino, sangria, beer and cocktails. A great way to while away the afternoon.
Still on “The Island”, Antica Pesa also at the Marsa Malasz, has al all you can eat pizza brunch every Saturday. Yes, you read that right. Pizza. All. You. Can. Eat. Excuse me while I lie down. It’s QR200 for unlimited pizza (including soft drinks) and even more enticing is the fact this deal runs from 12.30pm to 10.30pm. Again, the venue and view is hard to beat. That’s a lot of pizza. Challenge accepted.
Another Saturday lunch pioneer is Hakkasan Doha’s Taste of Hakkasan menu. Few things are more sublime than on a sunny Winter’s day sitting on their outside terrace (ok, Ican think of a couple things more sublime but this is a family blog). Their a la carte menu includes their trademark dumplings, their mains including pepper beef and dessert. You choose one of each and if you are a group, this gives you a chance to sample a little of everything. It’s QR168 per person inclusive of unlimited water, soft drinks and Chinese tea QR 168 per person or QR278 including a half bottle of sparkling wine.
Swinging back over to the real world, Shangri-la Doha’s excellent Shanghai Club has started a Dim Sum Brunch every Saturday. Am thinking dumplings are the dish of 2016 in Doha. Prices are form Qr238 including soft drinks. I have tried their dumpling selection at a recent dinner and I can’t wait to experience them in this context.
Back over in my hood, the underrated and always great JW’s Steakhouse at the Doha Marriott is offering a wonderfully meaty Saturday brunch/lunch option. It’s an a la carte menu and QR250 with soft drinks or QR390 with bubbly. An excellent deal for some of the best meat in town.
Whether it’s trying to stretch out the wonder of a weekend or another excuse to get out and about, I’m hoping this Saturday lunch/brunch trend is here to stay.
*Life on the Wedge was a guest of Nozomi Doha (actually she won a competition) but frankly, she’s already planning her return visit.