The candy apples on the tiered dessert table are as glossy as Dorothy’s ruby slipper, holding pride of place on display next to mini-cupcakes the size of bite-size chocolate bombs, rainbow-coloured lollipops, and an assortment of cakes and pastries that should come with a dentist’s warning.
A few metres away stands another counter piled high with juicy burgers and golden corn-dogs on sticks – fairground memories of summer’s best offerings on an overcast Friday in February. We love a good brunch as much as the next Doha denizen, and today the wind and rain hasn’t kept the throngs at bay from coming out to the first Carnival Picnic Brunch at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha’s The Lagoon restaurant.
With a refreshed menu of well-loved picnic staples with a Ritz twist, the brunch boasts a vibrant Carnival décor – a backyard BBQ that beckons young and old to leave their cares at the door, indulge, enjoy, and share. With hay-bales, may-fair ribbons, rustic décor, and some very witty signage greeting guests upon entry, the light-hearted mood is set from the start. There’s also a soft-play area at the back of the restaurant where the little kids can be entertained while the big ones have a proper catch-up over a few cold beverages.
We’re seated at a cosy, umbrella-ed table by the window next to the DJ booth. Normally, a spot like this might put the brakes on brunch-time conversation, but thankfully the music is just loud enough to groove to without being drowned out. Decked out in checkered linen, the cutlery comes in a steel bucket on the table, and there’s already an ample cheese and charcuterie platter laid out on a wooden slab.
For those who prefer to eschew the buffet line, the Carnival Brunch offers an array of a la carte options that live up to the promise of making life a picnic. First up comes an arsenal of fresh, colourful salads and plated sushi. Highlights are the English roasted potato salad, the fried California maki rolls with Sriracha mayo, and an especially vibrant Brazilian crunchy coconut salad with mango and mint.
Hungry wanderers can also venture over to the select live cooking stations and dig into some carnival favourites such as Mardi Gras jambalaya, Navajo tacos, doughnut beef sliders, and a carnival grill station where you can fill your plate with blackened shrimp and grilled striploin with all the freshest trimmings.
After our scouting mission to peruse the live stations, we head back to our table where some quenching pink mocktails served in mason jars have arrived. Shortly after, more mains arrive to laden our table courtesy of the Carnival Picnic Brunch’s kitchen to table service. There’s a plump Caribbean jerk chicken served with plantain rice, and charcoal-grilled Brazilian lamb chops smothered in garlicky chimichurri with a side of cheesy mushroom gratin.
When it’s discovered that one of our ILQ dining companions doesn’t eat meat, the kitchen staff went the extra mile to prepare a sumptuous filet of salmon in a fragrant pesto sauce atop a bed of fresh vegetables.
It’s this attention to detail that’s made our afternoon at brunch a cut above – because good food only gets you so far. For the whole experience to be complete, the quality of service has got to be on par. After all, it’s the little things that count. And The Ritz-Carlton, Doha’s Carnival Picnic Brunch ticks the boxes when it comes to family-friendly atmosphere, accessibility, unparalleled ambiance, and food that will keep you coming back for more.
About the Carnival Picnic Brunch
Location: The Lagoon, The Ritz-Carlton, Doha
Timings: Fridays from 12:30 p.m. till 4:00 p.m.
Prices:QR 349 per adult with selected house beverages
QR 249 per adult with soft beverages
QR 99 per child ages 5-12
Contact Info: Call (+974) 4484-8000, or email [email protected].
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