We went for lunch on Saturday, it was very quiet perhaps 2 other couples. This restaurant is just new, so it looks quite smart and fresh. I reserved beforehand, the reservation service at the Renaissance for all their restaurants is very good, with good clear English. I asked concierge where the restaurant was, and was told me level 2, it's not on level 2, level 3 actually. We were shown to our table for 2 right in front of a pillar, so had no views outside the window, despite the place being empty? The buffet has an Asian slant, it includes a salad station, dessert station, breads, a laksa station where you make you own, sushi, steamed dumplings and various hot Asian dishes like Malaysian beef rendang, lamb tagine etc. The cost of the buffet is 155QAR each. The service was excellent throughout, our plates cleared, drinks delivered quickly etc.
We started with the small sushi area which was fine, it was various types of Nigirizushi, toppings included splayed prawn and tuna. Nothing to write home about, the quality of the fish wasn't up there, but edible. Next were the steamed dumplings, this was probably the biggest disappointment, we LOVE yum cha, a perfect Har Gow is one of life's greatest pleasures. There was 3 types and all were just terrible. The dumpling filling was a puree of various bland bits and pieces and lacked any fresh flavors at all, no discernible chunks of prawn, ginger, bamboo or anything. Tasted like it was cheap frozen food. The laksa station has so much potential because it's such a wonderful dish, but execution is very poor. Firstly the bowl they give you, is a very small cereal bowl, so its not at all practical to load in noodles, prawns, green onion, bean sprouts, egg etc. The idea is you load you noodles into the boiling water, to heat through, into the bowl and pick your own toppings before pouring over the delicious soup broth. I loaded in my noodles into the boiler and there wasn't enough water to even cover 1/3 of the noodles. I asked the attendant to fill with more water, he didn't understand English at all. I said more water is needed to cook but he took my noodles out after 10 secs and put them in a cereal bowl for me, not understanding that they need to be cooked and heated through. I went along with it and yes everything tasted fine except the cold and undercooked noodles. With the size of the bowl, it's also very awkward to eat, laksa is pretty challenging to eat normally without splashing everywhere let alone eating it from a tea cup. I encourage someone in management who has been to Malaysia/Singapore who knows how it's served (big bowl) to sit down and try this dish. Flavors are good, execution is not. The hot dishes, were excellent. I could eat the beef rendang all day long, soft tender and great flavours. My husband loved the fish and chicken too. The execution is a little tricky as they are all under tagines, you have to lift up the heavy tagine lid, reach over the hot dish and place it behind the dish. Serve yourself, then reach over again to put the lid back. I think this could be improved, as you eat with your eyes, and removing 6 tagine lids to reveal what's inside can be a little tedious. The dessert station was good with great tasting little morsels to choose from, all expertly decorated. The real surprise came when we got the bill, we had assumed 1 beverage would be included in the buffet, but no it wasn't. Our can of pepsi each came to an astonishing 15QAR each! Wow, and it was literally a can delivered to our table delivered with a glass, 15QAR for a can! I note there is a 2 for 1 in the Entertainer Book. So that's our experience, I don't think we would come back, the buffet is quite cheap by Doha standards but I think that shows in the quality of the ingredients which I guess is fair enough, the price matches the quality.
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