Astor Grill

Updated menu retains steak focus at West Bay Lagoon Discuss this article

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The lighting is soft, coming mostly from the glow of candles. Some would see this as romantic. Others would call it simply dark. So dark, in fact, that our eyes still don’t adjust by the time the menu arrives. But wait, the server offers us menu torches. Apparently, our troubles aren’t isolated.

When we finally are able to decipher our dining options, we realise many of our favourite dishes at Astor Grill are no longer there. New ideas, new chef, and, by corollary, new menu. But the restaurant stays true to its steakhouse roots. From the starter list comes the likes of Wagyu beef carpaccio, waldorf salad and clam chowder.

Those two words are magic to our ears. Clam. Chowder. We can’t ever get enough of that creamy American delight packing the goodness of the sea. And our expectations remain high when it arrives looking rustic chic in a cast iron pot. All the components are there, but we feel a definite lack of brininess and richness of flavour. Same goes for the steak tartar, immaculately presented on a piece of slate. The quality of meat is rather exceptional, but the kitchen seems reticent with the tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and even salt and pepper.

We’re here for steak, and though there are more USDA Prime Angus cuts on the menu, we are drawn to the Australian full-blood Wagyu. Our meal would be nonpareil had we stuck to the fillet – each bite is juicy, tender, and hearty. But we also get the rib-eye, and are strangely let down. Typically, the marbling is rendered down during the grilling process, ensuring succulence. But, in this case, the flecks of fat have not had a chance to melt into the bursts of meaty flavour.

Still, we hold our breath for dessert, knowing the restaurant more than excels in the category. Feeling traditional, we order a baked cheesecake and warm crispy apple pie. The verdict, like our mains, is also divided. The cheesecake is edible velvet – the exact balance of sweetness to cream cheese, with a berry compote that rounds off the dish.

But the so-called warm crispy apple pie is neither. Far from crispy, the puff pastry on the base is undercooked. Tough and doughy pie is not our idea of a sweet ending. One bite in, and we send it back. No replacement necessary. We just want to leave with the happy memory of the cheesecake.

As we stagger out through the dimly lit dining room, we notice the other tables mostly occupied by couples. They seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Perhaps if we had come for a romantic meal, the experience would have been elevated. But for two hungry diners just wanting a good steak, we leave semi-impressed.

The bill (for two)
1x clam chowder QR50
1x steak tartare QR65
1x Wagyu ribeye QR385
1x Wagyu fillet QR395
1x potato wedges QR30
1x mac & cheese QR35
1x sautéed mushrooms QR30
1x cheesecake QR40
1x apple pie QR45
2x English breakfast tea QR76
2x large bottles of water QR60
Total QR1,211

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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