Ipanema

Have one of every animal barbecued at Doha’s Brazilian Churrascaria Discuss this article

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We’re not quite sure what to call the hotel this restaurant is located in (the Renaissance? The Courtyard Marriott? It’s tucked away in what is also referred to as the West End, the team of hotels and restaurants attached to City Centre Mall, so let’s go with that). But what we are sure of when we get close is the smell. Wafting into the hallway is the sizzling scent of all things grilled, and best of all, none of it is masked by cigarette smoke: as signs at the entrance and the lady on the phone when I booked our table reminded me, it’s a smoke-free restaurant (smokers must imbibe at the bar).

Brazilian Churrasco is basically an exercise in carnivorous delight. We’re barely seated before a server is coming up with an explanation pamphlet that she quickly walks us through, once we tell her this is our first time. It’s pretty simple: each diner is given a large wooden disc, one side red, the other green. You flip the disc to green to bring on the meat, and red to stop. ‘Passadores’ (literally meat waiters) wander the restaurant, going from table to table, baring swords full of grilled meats. Let me just say that again for emphasis: they come to your table with swords of meat.

Before we dive head first into the meaty goodness though, we head over to the soup and salad buffet to see what’s on offer. Both my dining companion and I opt for the potato and garlic soup (after giving the split pea and sundried tomato option a whiff and deeming it going nowhere near our spoons). The soup is creamy with just a hint of garlic, and paired with their excellent cheese breadsticks, it’s a great start to the meal. But we’re not here for the soup: bring on the Noah’s Ark of dead things.

We flip our coins to green, and we don’t have to wait long: the staff here are attentive to the point of ridiculous, checking in to make sure we understand what’s going on (we do), don’t need anything (we don’t), and topping up our drinks repeatedly. They say they have 15 different kinds of meat on offer, and we’re on a mission to try them all. It’s heavy on the red meat, with several different kinds of steak and beef, followed with lamb in several forms, and rounded off with some of the best grilled chicken wings we’ve ever had. The smoked beef is a thing of tangy beauty and the different skewers of steak come with options of rare, medium and well done, right there on the sword. The restaurant equips diners with little tongs to help select your meat as the passadores cut it off, so it’s a really interactive experience. That said, with the constant visits, not to mention the too-loud music (live music is good, but so is being able to hear my friend), it’s not the spot for an intimate chat. We asked to be seated far away from the band, and it’s still overpowering.

Standouts in this carnivorous parade have to be their beef short ribs, which are so juicy you don’t need a knife to cut them. But on round two, (yes, we got seconds) I disappointingly got a mouthful of creamy, disgusting fat. I’m not one to spit things out in restaurants, but I had no choice: I did not sign on for a mouthful of pure fat. My dining companion goes a wee bit sauce crazy, bringing back barbecue, horseradish and sweet chili, which he smears gleefully on various cuts of steak. The horseradish is actually magnificent, and I don’t use that word lightly when speaking about condiments. The grilled chicken is also excellent, meaty and flavourful, and the servers actually listen: when we mention that we loved them, the passadore dishing up lamb chops makes sure to send the guy with the sword of chicken our way.

The same, alas, cannot be said for all the meaty skewers though: the duck tasted gamey, and the lamb chops, though nicely spiced, were redolent of fat. And after a while, all the different meats start to blur together into one big barbecued mass.

One of the surprises of the evening was the grilled pineapple. Warm, toasty and awesome, this was an excellent counterpoint to the meaty wonderland happening on our plates. My friend and I are torn on the fried bananas, which comes with the other sides they deliver to your table: I’m a fan, he thinks they’re two sweet and gooey for dinner time.

Before the meat sweats kick in, we wrap up our meal and get ready for dessert. This too just magically appears at our table, in the form of four sample-sized confections. We can pass on what they describe as their ‘legendary Crema de Papaya’, which manages to be both overly sweet and cloyingly bland at the same time, and the panna cotta, which is weirdly firm, but the mango mousse and the chocolate mousse are both things of beauty.

This place would be a great stop for something a little different, or a party atmosphere: and weirdly, with the ability to take bites of many dishes without having to commit to an entire plateful, we’re actually not quite as massively full as we thought we would be when we finished. Both my friend and I would be back, if only because we’re pretty sure we’d light our kitchens on fire should we try to make grilled pineapple at home.

The bill (for two)
2x Rodizio buffet QR580
1x Aqua Panna QR250
2x Café late QR48
Total (including charges) QR447

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: Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel, West Bay, Doha
  • Tel: 4419 5000
  • Travel: Al Wahda Road

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