The Butcher Shop and Grill

Can a decent steak be found in a mall? We find out... Discuss this article

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To my mind, there are some things you just expect when you sit down to a good steak, like a relaxed environment and a glass of wine or beer if you’re that way inclined. The latter is a definite no-go at this branch of the South African steakhouse chain, as it’s unlicensed. Not a huge problem, but it does mean that hotel-based steakhouses in Doha have the edge if you like a drink or two with your sirloin.

The restaurant’s location is more of an issue. Set next to the ice rink in Villaggio, our meal was accompanied by the sound of an ice-hockey match and set against the unforgiving bright mall lighting. It’s open at the front with tables on the mall’s ‘street’, and inside offers a mixture of standard tables and gigantic booths. We were shown to one of these for just the two of us.

The restaurant’s brochure describes it as ‘a top end grill house, aimed at the discerning diner.’ The amount of information given is impressive, including the provenance of the beef (it’s mainly imported from South Africa, and never frozen), and a description of the variety of cuts and cooking styles they offer. And the menu certainly isn’t restricted to steak; they also serve salads, lamb, fish and chicken dishes, South African boerewors (beef sausages) and even a vegetarian platter if you’re not the carnivorous type.

Once seated, we were given a selection of fresh bread and hot meatballs, which is a nice touch. For a starter we shared the fried calamari, which was excellent. It was a generous portion, soft to the bite and obviously fresh. To drink, we both ordered the mint lemonade, which was unexpectedly good, clearly made with fresh ingredients too. The service was impressive. Our waiter was polite and smiled a great deal, something that can really make a difference to the way you feel about a place.

For the main course, my companion chose the fillet steak. Considering the price – QR115 for steak and chips – he had high hopes, and he wasn’t disappointed. It was juicy and tender, cooked exactly to his instruction and came with a variety of dips, although his choice of garlic sauce was extra. He also opted for ‘surf and turf’, adding three giant prawns to his meal. When they arrived they were indeed large, but slightly dry and we felt didn’t justify the price.

I ordered the beef and mushroom pie from the specials menu. It was described as having a puff pastry lid, so I was disappointed when it arrived in a shallow dish with fairly solid pastry on top. The beef was reasonable – despite being cut into extremely small pieces – but the creamy sauce was slightly bland. The pie was served with chips, but at extra cost we also ordered a side portion of seasonal vegetables, which were nicely al dente. The original plan was to order a dessert too, but we found ourselves so full after the main course that we passed on the options, which were the pretty standard fare of tiramisu, apple pie, chocolate brownies and the like.

After our meal we headed over to the meat counter – (the ‘Butcher Shop’ part of the restaurant’s name, and one of the chain’s major selling points) – only to find it completely empty. Apparently their retail butchery is currently closed due to ‘licensing issues,’ which was a disappointment, as friends had recommended the butcher here.

Overall, we felt that whilst the staff were excellent and the food was pretty good, the restaurant was a little pricey and let down by its shopping mall environment. We just couldn’t help concluding that the Butcher Shop & Grill, transplanted into a more comfortable setting with low lighting and a gentler ambience, would have been a much better dining experience all round.

The bill (for two)
1x fried calamari QR25
1x fillet steak and chips QR115
1x surf & turf QR55
1x garlic sauce QR8
1x beef and mushroom pie and chips QR40
1x side order of vegetables QR18
2x mint lemonades QR40
1x strawberry juice QR22
1x grape juice QR22
Total (incl charges) QR379

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Villaggio Mall, Muraikh, Doha
  • Tel: 4413 5508
  • Travel: Al Waab Street
  • Website
  • Cuisine: Steakhouses
  • Times: Open daily noon-midnight
  • Price: QR50-200
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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