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Friday brunch is just as big in Doha as it is in Dubai. This is where you unwind after a busy week, while indulging in lavish, all-you-can-eat-and-drink feasts at the city’s international hotel restaurants.
Hwang is a chic Pan-Asian restaurant located one stair up at Intercontinental Doha The City (the lazy ones can take the elevator too). It’s more sleek and upscale that The Square (the hotel’s buffet restaurant), and the lounge soundtrack playing in the background served as another subtle reminder that this place was for the party crowd.
In Dubai most Friday brunches will be buffets, and I’ve heard that this is also the case in Doha, but at Hwang, they’re doing things a little differently. You get a menu from which you can order whatever you like, and they’ll make it to order and bring it to your table. The food looks a lot nicer when each dish is served on its own tray, instead of being piled up on your plate together with all the other things you pick up from the buffet. Though the most important thing is that you don’t have to spend valuable time queuing for food. Instead you can dedicate all your attention to eating, drinking and socializing.
I would consider myself rather well-versed when it comes to Asian food, but there were dishes at Hwang, which I hadn’t tried before. Without hesitation the staff could tell me about the origin and the ingredients, and they weren’t afraid to offer their recommendations on what to order from the extensive menu.
I won’t go into further details about the sushi, because even though it wasn’t particularly bad, I’m such a snob, when it comes to sushi, and I’ll always compare the sushi I come along with what I’ve had in Tokyo, which isn’t fair, if you’re a Friday brunch buffet in Doha. Instead let’s focus on what Hwang did really well. Such as the laksa, which tasted like an island breeze in a bowl, or the satay chicken which might not be very hard to make, but which many places still struggle to get just right.
When everything is included, it’s easy to over-order, and that’s just what we did. So when the time came for the mains, we were already halfway into food coma. Our sweet waitress therefore suggested that she brought us mini versions of their signature mains, which turned out to be a great idea. I wish we had opted for mini versions of the starters too. However, there’s always room for dessert, so Hanna and I ordered each our daifuku mochi as well as ice cream and fruit for Hanna’s kids. Daifuku mochi is a Japanese rice cake with a filling of anko (sweet bean paste). It was the first time for Hanna to try it, and she didn’t really like it. When I think about it, I also didn’t like mochi the first time I tried it, so I guess it’s an acquired taste. For me it was love at third sight (or bite?) and today, I’m a full-blown mochi monster. The mochi at Hwang was just perfect, so I didn’t mind finishing Hanna’s leftovers.
I really liked the brunch at Hwang, which was definitely one of the highlights of this trip. I didn’t pay for the food and drinks myself, but the prices were comparable to what you would pay for a Friday Brunch in Dubai. When you consider the table service and the standard of the food, I even think it’s cheaper than in Dubai, but we don’t have a lot of places over here offering a similar concept, so it’s difficult to compare.