The Big Fat Late Brunch at Irish Harp in Doha

A meat-heavy feast with good food that could offer excellent value

The Big Fat Late Brunch at Irish Harp in Doha

There are relatively few Saturday brunches in Doha, so we are surprised when we arrive at the Irish Harp around 2.30pm to find its Big Fat Late brunch completely empty.

A great playlist (everything from The Kooks and The Cure to Miike Snow) gives it a chilled-out vibe, but the place could do with a few more full tables to liven the afternoon up.

There’s nothing different about this venue for brunch. No fancy set up, just a buffet laid out against one small wall near the entrance. At first glance, the selection looks small, especially when compared to the usual international spreads. There’s more than enough to sustain you throughout the whole three hours, though.

Start with a few plates of breakfast food. You can choose from dishes such as eggs Benedict on soft white English muffins, beef bacon and golden hash browns.

On our visit, unfortunately, when we order fresh eggs Benedict it arrives cold. A shame when the hollandaise sauce and poached egg are both absolutely spot on.

Much of the rest of the food is inconsistent in similar ways. The mini burgers, again, are perfectly tasty and juicy, but are just the wrong side of lukewarm. Desserts, too, are very good in terms of flavour. The bread and butter pudding is particularly impressive but could do with being warm, rather than served cold in jars. This said, we can’t fault the mini pots of trifle, and the chocolate mud cake is as thick, sweet and chocolately as you would hope, balanced perfectly with the creamy vanilla and tart raspberry sauces.

Other parts of the buffet impress more. Little portions of thin, breaded veal schnitzel offer meat of surprisingly good quality for such a casual venue, and the spare ribs (of which there are three different kinds, including South Carolina and barbecue) are standout. There’s a wide variety of sauces that come with it, too, from black pepper to mustard, though our entire table agrees the mushroom sauce is the clear winner.

This is without doubt a brunch for meat-lovers. In addition to the ribs, schnitzel and mini burgers, there are also huge slabs of roast beef and beef Wellington (a highlight). The pastry is buttery, golden and flaky, filled with beef that’s tender, even if it is a little overdone.

All things considered, with some minor tweaks this brunch would offer excellent value for money and no doubt be packed every week. All that’s really needed is a few more diners and a more regularly refreshed buffet. The casual vibe, great playlist and, overall, pretty good food will see to the rest.
QR199 (food only), QR220 (with two house beverages), QR345 (with unlimited beverages). Sat 2pm-5pm. Irish Harp, Sheraton Grand Resort & Convention Hotel (4485 3000).

The bottom line
A good, casual brunch that’s on the edge of being excellent.

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