Zengo big brunch review

A sophisticated brunch with tasty pan-Asian dishes and incredible views Discuss this article

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As you head up to the 61st floor of the Kempinski for the fifth time, you can't possibly appreciate the experience of dining in the skies. The first thing that strikes you – the glistening turquoise waters and various sides of Doha in the distance. The daylight vibe here is unexpected and exemplary – totally different from what you experience at dinner. The avian-themed décor is adorable and has a masculine charm with its exquisite wooden panels across. Birds flying high (you know what we mean) are the highlight as they dangle from the ceiling panel in one area of the dining room.

The other section features a stylish bar area where you can grab an artsy, freshly-muddled beverage. The pan-Asian menu is inspired and well-crafted. In fact, it’s great value, too.

The first course of appetisers comes to the table and the Japanese nachos look bright. We might be speaking too soon, but this dish is probably going to be the highlight of the entire menu. Chunks of smoked tuna are placed on a bed of vanilla avocado puree mixed with tomato salsa and den miso sauce. A few chips made from root vegetables are thrown around. The flavours and crunch all make an incredible combination. The duck salad is loaded with fresh greens, pomegranate seeds and cucumber shavings in addition to crispy duck and almonds – it's a true palate pleaser with its light and summery tangs.

The chef’s selection of sushi is a massive hit – start off with the spicy tuna roll which is big on the heat, move to the prawn tempura maki which is far milder and more refreshing and finally end with the vegetable maki, a light roll with sweet potato crisps thrown on top. We also notice how they play with colours, every dish has wonderful doses of different hues and you’ll need some eye-time before you start eating. Thankfully, everything is edible (tried and tested).

We start the hot appetisers and although well presented, it all tastes slightly bitter and the tempura batter overpowers the vegetables itself. The yuzu prawns are too crunchy for our liking. Pro tip: wait for a few minutes before you eat so as to allow the sauce to ease in to the taut coating. The beef maseca pancakes are an intriguing combination with sweet, pulled ribs on a moist pancake with chipotle aioli. The chicken satay, with a very limp satay sauce, is our least favourite. We’re still stuck on those nachos. And how else to take a break in between courses? Another plate, please. The server doesn’t seem surprised at all. This is quite the favourite, apparently.

The main course looks inviting. We start with the curried barbecue lamb ribs – absolute perfection. The meat is juicy and tender and the amalgamation of barbecue and curry flavours is a hit. The salmon glazed with yuzu miso with grilled asparagus is textbook and an absolute standout dish. The cubes of black pepper beef tenderloin are just as good – delightfully oriental with strong pepper flavours. The side, robata sweet potato, doesn’t survive the long, winding trip from the kitchen to our table and arrives soggy and forgettable.

When the dessert arrives we’re a bit surprised (read: disappointed) with the dessert platter of bowls of matcha ice cream, fresh fruits and a tiny chocolate dessert. The matcha ice cream is done well, the fruits taste, er, well, fruity and the crispy, caramel tuille topped with buttons of chocolate mousse is light and airy and has a nice crunch. But if you are expecting a rich, decadent serving of chocolate in the platter, you won’t be pleased. We have to end this on a high note with one more serving of the nachos. Not sorry!
QR250 (soft drinks), QR390 (selected beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Kempinski Residences & Suites, West Bay (4405 3561).

The bottom line
The best views in the city with food that almost matches up.

By Shereen D’Souza
Time Out Doha,

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