2 Totally Different Ways To Do An Awesome Brunch In Doha

Talk about an expat wife and you think of a gin-swilling platinum blonde who probably plays tennis every morning before lunching with her 3 closest friends (dah-ling) and drifting off to buy some designer clothes.

I’m exaggerating and you know it because you know my feelings about stereotypes particularly when it comes to ones about expat wives. But then I go and do something like have 2 brunches in 2 days and I start to feel a bit sheepish about being so defensive haha.

Me and my friend Laura at a brunch in Doha
Me and my friend Laura (Life With Baby Kicks) at a brunch in Doha

Brunch in the Middle East

Now it’s not just expat wives who are lushies when you’re in the Middle East, I think most expats here (at least the ones who drink) are pretty renowned for overindulging from time to time thanks to the brunch concept. Brunches in Dubai have to be the most infamous in the region with the ridiculous indulgence at the likes of Bubbalicious, Yalumba, Saffron, Al Qasr or Sky Dubai.

Brunch in Doha

Doha is definitely a less renowned affair all round and brunch is no exception. But just because the brunches aren’t as well-known, it’s not to say they aren’t amazing in their own right. The hotels in restaurants in Doha have had to cater to a very diverse market here with the footloose and fancy free still demanding a good time but the family element of the expats here meaning parents are looking for something else too.

My Things and a friend at a kid-friendly brunch last year
My Things and a friend at a kid-friendly brunch last year

So Where Did I Go?

I don’t want to bore you with a list of all the brunches in Doha especially since it would be out-of-date. Suffice to say there are many. They are on Thursdays nights and Friday afternoons AND Saturday afternoons. Don’t get me started on what the definition of brunch is because it really should be over and done with by 12.30pm but that’s another blog post rant.

A girlfriend had a big birthday coming up. She decided she would like a party at Nobu to celebrate so the planning began with 30 people RSVPing and a couple of Type A party planners as friends. I was pretty excited. I’d only been once before and it had been our first ever brunch. I had memories of eating my body weight in sushi, an a la carte menu of Nobu’s signature dishes (so hard to choose just one) and the world’s most delicious cocktails.

Stunning Nobu! (table decorations supplied by friends)
Stunning Nobu! (table decorations supplied by friends)

Why 2 Brunches?!

In the lead up to the event a text came through from another friend (the super positive one). She wanted to know if we’d be interested in going to the brand new Saturday Doha Golf Club Picnic Brunch by InterContinental Doha Hotel & Residences. Mr Wanderlust was travelling, due back at 5am on the morning of the Nobu brunch. Were we interested? I asked. Definitely! He replied. Even though you’ll have just arrived off an overnight flight and been to Nobu the day before? I wanted to be sure he understood the dates in his jet-lagged haze. Even then. Came the reply.

Fun in the sun at Doha Golf Club
Fun in the sun at Doha Golf Club

I should never have doubted his desire to be at the golf club even if he wasn’t there to hit balls. Shame Thing 2 ended up getting ill and he had to stay at home with her. (There’s irony in there somewhere!)

So here I was about to have 2 brunches at complete opposite ends of the spectrum and I thought it would be fun to compare them!

The Food

Nobu

I feel like Nobu’s name goes before it, conjuring up images of exquisite Japanese food.

The brunch lived up to its name and to my memories. We enjoyed sushi, maki and sashimi starters from a buffet as well as a selection of plates brought to us.

A big plate of heaven
A big plate of heaven

The a la carte main courses were, almost all completely well executed (the wagyu gyoza was deemed too different for a palette accustomed to raw fish and cocktails). The rock shrimp salad (ever my favourite) was as delicious as ever and the black miso cod looked incredible. The guy opposite me had steak which was also amazing.

Rock shrimp salad - one of the best things on the menu
Rock shrimp salad – one of the best things on the menu

I’d love to tell you more about the desserts but (and this is why I’ll never be a good foodie), I was too full to eat anything but one of the small chocolates on the dish I had ordered (it was delicious).

Assorted Chocolate Miniatures
Assorted Chocolate Miniatures

Doha Golf Club Picnic Brunch

Almost as soon as we arrived, a beautiful picnic basket tied with a bow was delivered to our table.

Picnic time!
Picnic time!

It was so exciting to open it revealing sandwiches, hummus, salad, biscuits, marshmallows, sparkling grape juice and so much more.

So many goodies
So many goodies

One of the servers explained about the food stations under the main gazebo and I set off to explore. Thing 1 by this point (Things 2 was sadly at home with Mr Wanderlust – oh the irony) had completely disappeared into one of the inflatable games.

I'm pretty sure Thing 1 spent about 2 hours in here
I’m pretty sure Thing 1 spent about 2 hours in here

Out of the options available (Mexican, Grilled Meats, Pasta, Asian Stir Fry and Shawarma) I decided to start with a couple of quesadillas and some shredded chicken. They were ostensibly for Thing 1 but when he failed to materialise I ate the lot. They were delicious! He proceeded to eat around 2 chicken nuggets the entire time we were there as he was so busy playing!

Super delicious pasta
Super delicious pasta

We were very pleased with the rest of the food – the grilled prawns and steaks were delicious and one of our group had some pasta which looked and smelled divine. He reported that it was, as was the cheeseburger that someone else had ordered.

Dessert was a simple affair with a platter of fruit and another of small cakes and mini desserts – both were also delicious.

Fresh fruit platter
Fresh fruit platter

The Atmosphere

Nobu

I mean, Nobu has a je ne sais quoi about it from the moment you walk in the door. It really is a beautiful restaurant and honestly I think it’s at its best during the day. It is super bright and airy with stunning views of the bay.

West Bay views
West Bay views

Both times we have been to brunch in Nobu we have been with a really fun crowd of people which has totally made the experience. I think you could be in the most fabulous place in the world but if you’re with bad company you’ll have a bad time. And vice versa. But Nobu makes it pretty easy to have a great time!

The girls!
The girls!

Intercontinental Picnic Brunch

The set up at the Golf Club was really lovely. Picnic tables with (optional) sunshades sat next to a large shaded area where all the food stations were.

Superb attention to detail
Superb attention to detail

The picnic tables were set out with retro checked tablecloths and multicoloured glasses. It was pretty striking as you walked in. Around the edge were various drinks stations and some inflatables for Things to play on. It was such a relaxed atmosphere for the whole afternoon. We sat in the sun (and some wind but it actually wasn’t that bad) and chatted away while Thing 1 played with his friends.

Brunch with friends is the BEST!
Brunch with friends is the BEST!

The Service

Nobu

The guys at Nobu and the Four Seasons Doha really have service nailed. I happen to know a couple of people who work there and when they ask me how something has gone I always tell them it was amazing. As normal!

Since we were an enormous group (27 people!), I should imagine we took a bit of handling. We didn’t even sit down for 20 minutes as we were all too busy chatting but the staff took it all in their stride. I wasn’t without a drink or water the entire time we were there. Plates were cleared within minutes of finishing to make way for yet more sumptuous food. I never felt rushed or that I was looking around to get someone’s attention. Basically they got it just right. (Seriously, I think I’m goldilocks).

Half the Nobu group - I'm sure we were model customers....
Half the Nobu group – I’m sure we were model customers….

Intercontinental Picnic Brunch

The wait staff at the Golf Club were very attentive and we rarely had to look around for long to find someone. Because the food was made to order at the cooking stations we did find that this was a little bit slow as there weren’t enough chefs on hand to cook at the peak times.

Busy chefs!
Busy chefs!

This was only the second week of picnic brunch running and they made a point of coming to us and asking for feedback. They explained that the week before the opposite had happened and that they were very grateful for our feedback. I would be surprised if this was a problem even next week as they seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say and it seemed like they were taking it all on board.

The Cost

Nobu is up there among the most expensive brunches in Doha at QR 510 including alcoholic beverages and QR 355 excluding them. I would argue that the additional money that you pay is worth it for the quality of food and service.

The Doha Golf Club Picnic Brunch by InterContinental Doha Hotel & Residences is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. At QR 185 per adult (children under 6 are free of charge) it is great value for money. We spent the entire afternoon there, the Things had an absolute blast and the food was really great quality.

Stunning sunset over the kids area
Stunning sunset over the kids area

The Verdict

There are so many great places to have brunch in Doha and there really is something for everyone. Looking for something Nobu and Doha Golf Club Picnic Brunch by InterContinental Doha Hotel & Residences are definitely 2 of my favourites. A good brunch needs to be great quality (food and service) and good value regardless of the actual cost and these have both those elements.

The final touch? Awesome company!

One of my Doha besties xx
One of my Doha besties xx

Disclaimer: we were guests at the Doha Golf Club Picnic Brunch, all opinions are my own. Want to know more? Check out the small print

 

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The Maldives With Family

Travel Addicts

You can’t have a travel blog without being a self-confessed travel addict. It will be no surprise, then, that faced with the Things having 3 days off school for half term… We decided to take a trip. I mean to be fair, if in doubt, we will always, ALWAYS take the trip. So why did we decide to do the Maldives with family? Read more

Beautiful sunsets from beautiful beaches

Phuket With Kids

After moving to the Middle East we had an awesome but VERY tranquil holiday in the Maldives. Then we had a very hectic and a bit stressful holiday in India. THEN we had a shocker in Muscat over a long weekend. So why did we decide to do Phuket with kids?

More intelligent people would have got the hint that maybe exciting and challenging holidays were not for us… At least not for a while. But not to be deterred we set about thinking of a new adventure to take the Things on and came up with Thailand! Read more

Kerala with Kids

I’ve been putting off writing this post for a while. I didn’t really know where to start to be honest! We spent 10 days in Kerala with kids 2 years ago and… (spoiler alert)… It wasn’t a massive success.

Now I know people who went before us and loved it. And I know people who went after us and loved it. To be fair to us, they did NOT go and have the same holiday that we had. Kerala is a beach destination and you can go to Kerala and sit in a resort for a week. I think you know Mr Wanderlust and I well enough by now to know that that is not what we wanted to do! Read more

Wine on the beach!

How to Choose a Resort in the Maldives

A couple of years ago, I started one of those chat enquiries with a travel agent online. “Hi!” types the chirpy agent at the other end. “How can I help you today?” I didn’t know where to start. I just wanted her to tell me how to choose a resort in the Maldives! Read more

Things to do With Kids in Devon

So I’ve done this a bit back to front, chronologically speaking. When we went back to the UK last month I wrote all about our time in London which was totally amazing. That was actually the second part of our time there. What I haven’t yet written about is the first part of the trip which was going back to my hometown in Devon.

To be honest… I wasn’t really sure what to write about because none of it is stuff that you guys would necessarily be interested in. Ok, you might be interested in the fact that we had a wonderfully chilled out time and that we saw lots of family and friends because you’re nice people. But not much of what we did was particularly touristy because, well, I’ve done most of it before and we really weren’t there for that long.

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9 tourist attractions in London for little kids

Going “home”

What’s a family to do when visiting the town they left for expat adventures? Its a funny experience taking your kids “home” when home for them is now the place you left. The place you are going on holiday is just that. A holiday destination! There are so many reasons why I love going back to the UK. We used to find ourselves with a jam-packed schedule when we went home. As all the children are getting older, this time we found ourselves with only weekends and evenings booked (and they were still full to the brim!). The daytimes were pretty free leaving us able to show the kids around the city we used to call home. We weren’t there for long enough to do everything on our list but after some planning before we went, I came up with my top 9: Read more

Here we come!

UK baby! A holiday in your own country…

7 sleeps till I take the Things back to the UK. This will be our first ever trip back as expats (including the Houston stint) that hasn’t had a reason other than we just want to go home and see everyone! We haven’t been home as a family in over a year and even the last 2 trips I took over were so whistle-stop that I didn’t have time to see anyone properly.  To say we are excited is an understatement!

This isn’t your typical holiday

So what are we going to do? Will this be a holiday or just a jam packed 10 days of seeing people, drinking too much and not sleeping enough? Well, there will definitely be an element of that :-). But I am determined to make this a holiday as well. The last year has made me realise that the place I know as home really isn’t home for the Things. They know it is where we are from, that we have lots of friends and family there and that our old house is there. But Thing 1 has only some fading memories of this place and Thing 2 remembers literally nothing of our life before we moved. So this will be the perfect time to show them where we are from.

How do you visit the place you are already from?

I’ve taken a bit of inspiration this week from Bebe Voyage and Wanderlust Crew on how to be a tourist in your own town and in London (which for us are one and the same). My favourite tips from Bebe Voyage included checking local blogs, taking pictures as if we were real tourists (well I suppose we are really) and taking a guided tour. Wanderlust Crew’s recommendations of riding public transport (you just can’t beat a bus or a tube when you are a deprived expat kid who only gets to go on planes or in cars), doing the tourist stops like the London Eye, Big Ben, etc, going to parks and for afternoon tea have really inspired me too!

So what are we going to do?

Our time will be split in 2:

Devon

First off I am taking the Things to Tavistock, Devon which is where I am from. It’s been almost 2 years since we made it down so I’m excited to see the moors and to show them where mummy grew up (for the most part lol). Or activities will include:

  • Seeing family and friends
  • Walking on the moors
  • Jumping in muddy puddles (new welly boots at the ready)
  • Swimming
  • Feeding the ducks
  • Exploring
  • Finding tunnels
If you want to jump in muddy puddles you must wear your boots!
If you want to jump in muddy puddles you must wear your boots!

None of it will be particularly touristy but I love the idea that they are both now old enough to remember this holiday and that they will start to have proper memories of where I am from.

London

After 5 days Mr Wanderlust will head over to the UK where we will meet up with him in London. The only weekend we are in town will be jam packed seeing family and friends (at least 2 sets per day!). The evenings are set to be quite busy as well: Of course we might be on holiday but everyone we know will still be at work so we are trying to do everything outside of business hours! The upside of this is that the daytimes are going to be quite quiet so we can do some more family focussed things.

We are planning on doing some touristy things like going on the London Eye and taking a river cruise (this isn’t a Merlin Entertainment sponsored post, honest!). We will do a few day trips for example to Wimbledon (where our house is) and Kingston (one of my favourite places to shop!). Both will involve trains / tubes / trams so the Things will be Made Up. If we have time I really want to take them to the aquarium and I know Thing 1 is desperate to go to a soft play that he remembers. (Honestly, take them all the way to the UK and they want to go to soft play which we have done twice a week since we got back from Italy?!!)

The end of the summer

It is still 3 weeks away but I can’t believe we are finally looking at the end of the summer. What stretched out ahead of us is now within reach. The UK will be hard (first proper time I’ve been back since my dad passed away last year) but super fun meeting some new family members as well as some of our favourite people in the whole world. On our return we will be back to 7am departures for school runs and settling Thing 2 into big school (*simultaneous sob / fist pump lol).

And of course I am already looking into options for the October half term break and an amazing Christmas holiday! The planning never stops!

Here we come!

We love a place with a pool!

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Sicily baby!

Our third and final week in Italy saw us fly to Sicily to meet up with some of Mr Wanderlust’s school friends. And what a week it was!

These lovely chaps happen to have lovely wives and lovely children so we were excited to spend a week catching up. Living away from your country means catch-ups usually happen once a year (twice at best) for an afternoon / evening. You spend the entire time talking as fast as you can to catch up on everyone’s news and leave feeling like you missed something huge. Having a week with friends from home is the ultimate luxury! Read more