Friday brunch at Hakkasan

A set menu brunch in one of Doha’s best restaurants

Friday brunch at Hakkasan

Just once in a while, we like to steer clear of raucous midday parties and free-flowing drinks and try something a little more refined. On such an occasion, a visit to Hakkasan’s Friday brunch is a great idea. The world-famous Cantonese restaurant offers the perfect excuse to settle down and catch up with friends over traditional Chinese dishes, all done with a load of style.

The restaurant has a great ambience. From the moment you step foot inside, through the wooden screens into the dimly-lit dining room, you can tell you’re going to be in for a classy experience here.

However, during the winter months we don’t need much encouragement to sit outside, so on this occasion we take a seat on the terrace. It’s pretty full but the tables are nicely spaced out, so it doesn’t feel too crowded. The music is low enough for us to have a proper conversation, too.

The staff are also excellent at Hakkasan, with a good knowledge of the menu. We get a full explanation of the brunch offering and start with some excellent mixed drinks.

The brunch menu is pretty simple – all the food comes to the table. It starts with Peking duck, moves through to a selection of dim sum and then there’s a main course before a selection of desserts. There are two packages, the soft option includes mocktails while the house package offers mixed drinks, hops, grape and sparkling, as well.

The crispy Peking duck is a brilliant way to start. The duck itself is clearly high quality and the skin is done perfectly. A bowl of tempura turnip is fairly bland in comparison.

Things go up another notch when the dim sum course starts. The options here are head and shoulders above anything else available in Doha. Among our favourites are the grilled Shanghai dumpling (the tanginess of the chicken inside contrasts beautifully with the garden pea flavour of the coating) and a sea bass, ginger and spring onion option.

The absolute pick of the bunch is the prawn har gau with black truffle, which has a striking glittering gold exterior.

Running it a close second is the scallop and  caviar dumpling for its intense, melt-in-the-mouth sensation.

While every dish looks fantastic, the crispy mooli puff is the most memorable looks-wise. The chefs have clearly put a lot of work into making it look like a carrot. Sadly, the radish filling doesn’t taste of much.

The glazed wagyu beef bun is also lacklustre, as the sweetness and the thickness of the bread overpowers the meat.

After so many dim sum, we’re already feeling pretty full before the main courses arrive. We order sweet and sour prawns and Sanpei chicken. They’re both good dishes, but neither match up to the brilliance of what preceded them.

After witnessing so much innovation and skill in the starters and mains (not to mention flavour), dessert is underwhelming.
Coffee ice cream and miniature cheesecakes are pleasant but they don’t offer as much wow factor as the other dishes. It’s unlikely you’ll have much room for dessert by this point, so it’s not a huge problem in our opinion, and who comes to Hakkasan for dessert, anyway?

This is a grown-up brunch, perfect for those who want to sit down and enjoy excellent food and have good conversation with friends. The attention to detail when it comes to the food is mighty impressive and the service and setting are superb. It doesn’t offer much for families and you won’t find a huge selection of dishes, but there are other places for that.
QR288 (soft drinks), QR458 (selected beverages). Friday noon-4pm. The St. Regis Doha, West Bay (4446 0170).

A set menu brunch in one of Doha’s best restaurants

For the dumplings

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