Walking into Street Food Doha everything feels surprisingly authentic. The ‘restaurant gallery’ (a long corridor) is crammed with faux market stalls − the Indian stand is blasting Bollywood hits and showing colourful dance numbers on TV screens, comical banners are strung across the corridor and chart hits play in the dining rooms of Asia Live!, Salsa and Taj Rasoi which are self-contained but also part of the brunch experience.
Every inch the image that the words “street food” conjure up, it’s busy, bustling, loud and chaotic with steaming woks, huge pots of fragrant soups and sizzling hot plates piled with Mexican meats, veg and tortillas.
It’s a very no-frills experience. Everything is served to you on paper plates and a plastic tray, and none of the stations have any elaborate set up. It’s all just simple trestle tables and piles of ingredients.
You’ll find everything from fish and chips to Lebanese manakeesh, Chinese hot pot and Indian egg rolls, all with that unrefined quality that you would expect from a street vendor, but packed with flavour. Even the fresh seafood market is realistic. Housed in its own room, there are piles of local fish and seafood, iced in cool boxes and huge Styrofoam containers. This is a highlight, and clearly we aren’t the only ones who think so as we are told the food will take around 20 minutes. When our selected fish arrives at the table, however, it’s buttery, lemony and utterly worth the wait.
The other station of ready-cooked seafood looks less than appetising (as though it’s been sitting out for quite some time), but other than this, only the Mexican stand doesn’t live up to the rest, where the tacos are let down by poor quality meat.
The chaotic atmosphere unfortunately extends to the service, but it’s also clear that this is an extremely casual event. Fridges are set up around the brunch for you to take your own soft drinks from, though staff do come to your table to take beverage orders.
That atmosphere can be hit and miss depending on where you sit. The main dining area, for example, is full of families, while the individual restaurants vary between being fairly quiet or loud and lively.
No matter where you sit, however, this is a laid-back event. The food is mostly enjoyable, package prices reasonable and on the whole there’s a great party vibe. This brunch is perfect for large groups of friends looking for a fun Thursday night at the end of the working week that won’t break the bank.
QR240 (soft drinks), QR335 (house beverages). Thu 6.30pm-11.30pm. Doha Marriott, Ras Abu Aboud Street (4429 8499).
The bottom line
Lives up to its theme with tasty, casual food and good value for money.