As far as weekend brunches go, Saturday afternoon feasting is slowly but surely becoming the new trend. With a beautiful setting and an award-winning menu, the tasty offering at Sabai Thai, The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa is just one of the newest on the scene. FACT’s Craig Ferriman went to indulge…

 

Once upon a time, brunch was this thing that happened on a Friday. It was a clear-cut ritual routinely followed but things are now evolving. Saturday is the new Friday and I’m increasingly coming across great weekend brunches, more recently the exotic Saturday Brunch at The Westin Doha’s popular and highly acclaimed Thai restaurant, Sabai Thai. I’d been to it before but only for an evening meal – in the daytime, the vibe is very different. Situated at the far-end of the hotels grounds by the pool area, there are large floor-to-ceiling windows all-around, letting light float in which gives a warm energy to the place. I find that on a weekend, I don’t want to be stuck in a windowless environment when I’ve been cooped up indoors at work all week so although this was an indoor brunch, the natural light was a definite plus factor for me. Another thing that immediately hit me were the diners in attendance. Families were there and made to feel very welcome but also there were Thai diners and other South East Asian clientele, which always strikes a good impression in any restaurant trying to offer authentic cuisine.

Service was strong and staff were in high supply that plates were quickly cleared and we didn’t have long waits to have drinks refilled. We were given a wonderfully refreshing lemongrass drink on arrival and their array of mocktails complimented most of the dishes I tasted. The tangy virgin mojito was the perfect antidote to the spicy dishes that were on offer. Having visited the restaurant before, I felt overwhelmed but very much excited by the large menu. Such is the beauty of a brunch that I didn’t have to choose because I could wander around the room having a little bit of lots of different dishes from the buffet. While I sometimes get a bit snobby about buffets, there was not the usual fight for food. That was in part a credit to The Westin Doha and the way they designed the room, and perhaps because the restaurant does not feel over-crowded. I was also struck by the freshness of the produce and the food on offer. The salads were SO fresh; Try the Pomelo and the Papaya Salad for a refreshing kick and healthy, light choices. The Shrimp Rolls and the Prawn Toast make for good, filling appetisers too.

There were lots of classic Thai curries to try. The Thai Beef Curry is something of a signature for Sabai Thai. The beef is braised and served in a thick red curry you’ll want to take your time eating this dish with your choice of rice because every spoonful is an explosion of aromas and flavours. Brimming with tender meat and crunchy veggies, you’ll be going for seconds in no time! The Massaman Lamb is a true winter warmer dish. It’s indulgent and hearty, packed with nutrients and rich ingredients like ginger, turmeric, cumin, lemongrass, garlic and, of course, chilli.

Simply delicious! I greatly enjoyed the Tiger King Prawns for its lingering spiciness – with a side of of steamed rice, could you ask for anything more yummy? There are other authentic Thai touches too like the gong that sits by the door and looks as if it weights a tonne! There was also a Thai Ranad Xylophone being played during the course of the afternoon which provided a mesmerising and calming ambience to the whole event. A lot of brunches feel exorbitantly pricey for what they are but this is very reasonably priced and you definitely get your money’s worth at Sabai Thai with packages starting from QR175

Will we return? That’s a huge YES!


GO: VISIT THE SATURDAY BRUNCH AT SABAI THAI, THE WESTIN DOHA HOTEL & SPA. CALL 4492 1555 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION.