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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Brunch at the Ramada: Review

“Why on earth would anyone want to leave England?” My aunt’s disapproving words, spoken on my last trip home, drifted through my head as I floated in the warm water, gazing dreamily up at the cloudless blue sky.

We were at The Ramada. Every Friday morning, The Ramada has a "brunch and swim". On this day, almost everyone there was expatriate and Western. Not surprising, for this is the end of Ramadan, when it is forbidden for Muslims to eat or drink in the daylight hours. It must be very difficult for those waiters who are Muslim to watch us Westerners stuff our face with successive plates of food.

Unfortunately the brunch is light on Arabic food, though it includes stalwarts like Tabouleh (Lebanese salad) and Om Ali (a traditional Arabic pudding). It has standard breakfast fare (or, at least, its non-pork equivalent), though the bacon and mushrooms are overdone and the toast a little soggy.

The seafood section, on the other hand, was superb. There was prawn salad, grilled hamour (a local fish) and “trout fish”. You can have omelettes and noodles cooked for you while you wait, and there’s Haagen Daaz ice-cream and candy floss for the kids. Overall there was an excellent selection of food. However, it was busy on the day we went, and the waiters were struggling to cope, which meant a very long wait for coffee and tea.

After the meal, you can relax by the swimming pool in the hotel grounds. There’s a Jacuzzi, pool with a large (if ugly) bar, and children’s pool with a superb slide. It’s supposed to be for 6-9 years old, but as we were in Qatar no-one blinked an eye at a two year old and a thirty-two year old whizzing down it in glee.

All in all, excellent value for 90 riyals (24 dollars). Unfortunately, from next week, swimming will be at an additional charge. Tax included, the price will be 165 riyals (45 dollars). See you at the Mercure!

Qatar Hotels

Iranian food in Qatar