There are certain places that ooze sophistication, class and sleekness – all emanating from the walls and hitting your every sense as you enter through the doors. FACT’s Craig Ferriman discovered one such place, Astor Grill in the 5-star St. Regis Doha…
Let’s talk food. There are hot and cold starters to choose from at Astor Grill. From the cold options, I tried the heirloom tomatoes. This sounds rather basic perhaps and I wouldn’t normally think to pick it but when the waiter brought it out and I tucked in, I realised that this chef knows how to kick in a delicate but rich key ingredient that provides a rather refreshing and stunning start. That special something in this surprising dish was aged goats cheese and then throw in some basil oil and walnut grassini and we are off and running with excited taste buds.
Also, we tried the dry cecina beef, excellently paired with manchego cheese and good old-fashioned pickled onions. Another fabulous dish. All warm appetisers that we try are seafood. You will not be disappointed by the sea scallops which are seared with salted butter and celeriac. The same can be said for the charred octopus with smoked paprika and aioli – a divine and elegant dish that gourmands will appreciate.
There are a selection of main courses including lobster, sea bass and lamb but one treat that Astor Grill is proud of that will appeal to vegetarians too, is the barbecued cauliflower cooked with spiced tahini, lemon, chive and garlic. Head Chef James was telling us that the kitchen has a giant Josper grill and they have taken to using it for all sorts of things rather than just meats – and why not? If it produces a dish of this calibre then it’s a powerful thing.
The menu has a small section called ‘low and slow’ and you can easily guess why. We had the pleasure of tasting the waygu beef ribs which had been slow cooked for 48 hours, smoked, and served with artichoke and truffle potato. If you only have appetite for one dish on a visit to Astor Grill, please make it this one. Incredible flavours that will blow you away! A steak lover does not go to a steak house and not eat steak so let me say something about that. Maturity is a key watchword here as far as the meat is concerned. All beef is stored in a maturation refrigerator for 21 days to shed liquid and dry for what they describe as the perfect balance of taste and tenderness. There are two options; U.S. Angus or a Waygu marble. I tried both and all I can say is WOW! Rich in flavour and as tender as butter, this is what people dream about when they think of the perfect steak!
I really didn’t expect a chef who can nail a steak that well to also be so on point with desserts – but I was wrong! The sweets were exceptionally good. He can do a mean New York cheesecake with berries. Chocolate freaks will go wild for the lava cake with hazelnut ice cream and I also tried something without knowing its name and said: this tastes like a pina colada! And that’s actually what it was called; coconut ice cream with a maple glaze. Divine! The whole vibe of the place is mood lit, and ultra edgy and modern in design. There is even a party room for birthdays and special occasions that can hold about a dozen people. The Astor Grill has been closed through the summer, tweaking and redesigning the menu. I’m happy to say that its comeback has been strong – fantastic food results
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