Shangrila Doha is Qatar’s only high-end luxury hotel from Asia. It is bringing some exciting F&B outlets including Sridan, Fuego (steakhouse), and Yabby (seafood). We are also eagerly awaiting the opening of Shanghai Club later in the year, which has been promised as the next best thing in Chinese dining.
Upon entering the hotel you are greeted with muted splendour from the trademark chandelier to the regal resident falcon. It bodes well for our lunch booking at Sridan restaurant, the ShangriLa’s all-day dining restaurant. Likened as a culinary souq there are artefacts from the Sheikh Faisal Museum and an antique corner where diners can purchase decorative items.
The ongoing special Lunch Buffet promotion is priced at QR 99 (beverages not included, but you do get a small welcome drink). No indication was given by the restaurant manager as to when it will end but it was suggested that the usual price would be QR 140, which is still below market levels. Better still the lunch buffet is available every day except Fridays, so you can also book this deal on Saturdays. The lunch buffet is an excellent way to try the restaurant out before committing to a Friday Brunch there. The Friday Brunch with beverages (QR 285/QR385) has increased seafood and sushi options, roast beef and peking duck.
Sridan, Shangrila Doha – Ibn Battuta Food Adventure
Hailed as an innovative souq concept the brunch is laid out throughout the restaurant, with shortcut corridors replicating the alleys of a souq. Attention to detail is everywhere, except surprisingly for these corridors which lack the character displayed elsewhere in Sridan. As there is some distance between stations do be prepared to walk – however this is all part of the adventure as Sridan takes diners on a culinary journey.
Loosely based on famed adventurer Ibn Battuta’s travels there are a variety of culinary options including Indian, Chinese, Seafood, Grills, and Pide. The live cooking stations add to the atmosphere with kebabs cooking in a tandoor, pizzas being tossed and water steaming as noodles cook.
Make sure you have a good look around at the dishes available – there is something for everyone. For the live cooking stations diners can hand over a table number plaque and their cooked food will be brought over to them once it is ready. Live cooking means that your requested dish will have a delay from a few minutes to longer, depending on the popularity of the station.
Although the Shangri-La is new to the Doha market, word is out and the lunch deal is pulling in the diners (so be sure to book in advance). They also have an excellent location and are an appealing choice for those working within Westbay. Also for the moment larger parties of 10 or more can use the private dining room – it is best to check in advance on its availability.
We did query how Sridan staff could maintain service standards with live cooking when there is a delay due to order backlogs. We experienced that for ourselves from the fresh grills station when an order of sherry fish had to be chased up after a 20 minute delay. Unlike business or express lunch deals you really have to manage your expectations regarding how much of the buffet you can attack before your lunch hour finishes.
Sridan – The Food
With the variety of cuisines at Sridan there are some standout dishes which have been cooked using authentic spices and flavours. The Fennel Salad, Lamb Masala, Seafood Laksa and Cookies and Cream Ice cream had us beaming – “more please!”
Appetisers included regional favourites Fattoush and Tabbouleh, although there is a distinct lack of savoury pastries such as Sambousek or Fatayer. There were a few interesting salads – the Fennel, and Grilled Pineapple salads were particularly flavourful.
Seafood was fresh and varied with mussels, crab, octopus and prawns. Smoked mackerel, gravalax and sushi were also available. The Grills station was very busy with one member of staff overseeing the grilling of fresh sherry fish, kingfish, beef kebab, and shish touk; he also kept an eye on the shawarma rotisserie.
Moroccan cuisine is particularly highlighted with vegetable couscous, Moroccan lentil, lamb tagine, and vermicelli soup. The continental section was a little neglected by diners in favour of the live stations, but there was fresh pizza and Turkish pide on offer.
The Asian and Indian stations were excellent, with chefs preparing fresh meats and noodle dishes with authentic flavours. Fresh naans are prepared in a tandoor oven whilst meat skewers cooked away in the neighbouring tandoor.
The options at the noodle station were almost limitless with a variety of vegetables and proteins to choose from. And even more surprising was the availability of fish cakes and crab balls as additional ingredients.
It was particularly impressive to see the effort that Sridan has taken in ensuring that the staff have the correct equipment at stations, which included a pizza oven, tandoor ovens and state-of-the-art juicing equipment.
There was a varied selection of tea including local favourite Al-Kbous tea, whilst the usual coffee options were available. Fruit juices are also prepared fresh and the pomegranate juice is an excellent Shangri-La speciality – flavourful without the astringent notes (although we would recommend you ask for ice with your drink).
The desserts station highlighted Middle Eastern pastries and continental cakes, whilst duo-chocolate fountains flowed in the corner under the watchful eye of some inquisitive chef statues!
It was brilliant to see a more restrained display of food in the buffet as befits a lunchtime; it gives hope that food doesn’t get wasted. The many dressings and sauces had delicious and authentic tastes – this was particularly so in the Asian station where they used South-East Asian ingredients including fish sauce for their homemade condiments.
The live cooking stations stand out but are probably not the best choice for those who have limited time. Overall it is an excellent deal, especially if you work within the local area or you have the time to enjoy the many varied choices.
Sridan, Shangrila Doha
Opening Times: Breakfast Buffet QR140: Sun-Thurs – 6.00am until 10.30am; Fri-Sat – 6.00am until 11.00am
Lunch Buffet QR99 excl Fridays: 12.00pm until 3.00pm
Brunch Buffet QR285/QR385 (Friday only): 12.30pm until 4.00pm
Dinner Buffet from QR185 to QR210: 6.30pm until 10.30pm
A La Carte is available from 6.00 until 12.00am.
Children under 12 get a 50% discount for buffet meals.
For more information and booking call +974 4429 5295 or email [email protected]