Astor Grill

Classic Doha restaurant gets a modern steakhouse makeover Discuss this article

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The night I dine at Astor Grill I’m hunting for a steak. A really good steak. A piece of cow so succulent, so delicious the cow itself would eat itself and keep going, unable to stop. That’s a very weird visual, I’ll admit, but there it is.

Astor Grill is weirdly empty when we arrive: which is just so, so wrong. They’ve got a new menu to show off! This place is good people! Fill it up and make those chefs in the open show kitchen hop to it.

We’re seated at one of their plush tables with flickeringly dim candle light illuminating the leather menus (seriously—can we make it a bit brighter please? I get ambiance, I really do, but I’d like to be able to read my menu without risking my eyebrows leaning over the candles). Once we puzzle out the options though, it’s time for starters. We go with the foie gras and Caesar salad. And here is the first sign, other than the new menu, that times have changed: last time we were here, the service was... interesting. And by that I mean we could watch our waiters loiter by the open kitchen committing the heinous crime of Not Bringing Me My Dinner. And they got not one but two of our orders wrong. This time, the server is attentive, and everything we order comes out just right the first time. This may be because they have a full staff for about three tables. But we’re hoping it’s because they’ve worked out the kinks and are now bringing it.

Before I go on I need a disclaimer: yes, I’m aware foie gras is basically the most unethical thing ever to go in my stomach. I know. And I promise I’m crying on the inside as I scarf back every creamy, succulent, rich bite. Mmm lost ethics are so very tasty. Their foie gras comes served with a cinnamon spiked brioche and fig jelly. Liver and sweet things: who knew? These should always go together, the figs blending in a sweet-and-salty pas de deux with the sharp Himalayan black salt and the rich paté. The brioche is another matter: it’s very, very good, but there is simply not enough of it. Listen, I like foie gras, but I need some bread to smear it on. One tiny roll is not enough.

My friend’s Caesar salad is good but the dressing is almost too fancy. There is no need to reinvent the wheel if what you’re doing is tasty enough to stand on its own. Like your onion soup – the chef sends over a bowl for us to try and I would basically like to fill a swimming pool with it and paddle around. It’s simple but elegantly delicious: a nice rich beef broth, caramelised onions, nice bit of bread, gooey melted cheese. Done. So take a hint from your onion soup… We’ll like you without the bells and whistles we promise!

But now it’s time for cow. I go for the kobe ribeye. It comes in several sizes, and I opt for the 325g version – which is massive when it arrives, steaming on my plate. But I’m distracted for a second by my friend’s order. She’s gone for the chateaubriand for two, for one. This is serious commitment to beef. It arrives to be carved tableside, into glistening rounds of meat presented with a waft of yummy smells. My steak, too, is wonderfully rich and seasoned. We get sauces on the side but I have to wonder why they even bother – my steak is good enough without the peppercorn sauce, thanks. Paired with the creamy mashed potatoes, it’s a meat-and-potatoes dinner all dressed up and ready to party. We also get the creamed spinach which is a bit sloppy for my taste, but still full of flavour. The chateaubriand comes with potatoes dauphinois and we’re once again deeply confused by the French. How can they invite such rich dishes and not be the fattest country on the planet? It’s like a heart attack in its cute little serving bowl but we want more. Now. Instantly.

Overall, we’re pleased with the new menu. They’ve gone from slightly fussy-but-tasty dishes that evoked their turn of the century roots, to a more modern steakhouse menu that still pays tribute to the age of the Astors that gives them their name. We’re very pleased. Now, please send more of that steak to the office.

The Bill (for two)
2x Water QR60
1x Foie gras QR100
1x Caesar salad QR60
1x Kobe Ribeye QR590
1x Chateaubriand QR410
1x Creamed spinach QR30
1x Café latte QR30
Total QR1,280

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: The St. Regis Doha, West Bay, Doha
  • Tel: 4446 0211
  • Travel: Street Westbay
  • Website

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