Buffets are usually a dull affair. Appetizers and salads lined up on one table, hot dishes lined up on another, and then the desserts set up separately. Totally predictable. However, Doha’s Shangri-La Iftar and Suhoor set-up is far from dull or predictable. Great ambiance, delicious food, and five-star service, not to mention a very unique dining experience.
Their Ramadan tent is sent up in an elaborate looking ballroom, fully equipped with round tables and mini majlises, which line up against the walls. Little lights also adorn the walls of the ballroom so as if to give an impression of a night sky, which really sets the mood up nicely. There are various Arabic decorative pieces set up around the room to enhance the Ramadan experience for everyone. The cuisine for their Iftar buffet is Asian and Arabic, staying true to both the hotel’s original culture and its new location in Doha.
The buffet is set up both outside the ballroom and inside. The external set-up is very traditional and organized, with various options for appetizers, salads, and hot dishes. The set-up within the ballroom itself has four live cooking stations at each corner of the room, and in the middle a magnificent set-up for all kinds of dessert. Each station is different; one is for shawarmas, where the chef makes you a shawarma with whatever you want to fill it with, another is for dim-sum and dumplings, one is a carving station accompanied with a platter of kharoof mahshi (lamb with rice), and a live sushi bar with maki rolls and sashimi.
It may seem overwhelming, particularly with the variety of items being offered, but on the contrary it provides as an insightful and rather comfortable experience. For Suhoor, there is a live Arabic music performance set up on a stage at the front of the room. It really adds to the change of vibe from Iftar (more energetic and lively) to Suhoor (more laid-back and relaxing). Suhoor is generally when you’d want to sit and drink coffee or tea at the majlises in the room.
My favorites of the evening were their Arabic spring rolls filled with cheese (which I guess were a take on an Arabic/Asian fusion) accompanied by red and green chutneys, their lamb machboos (yum), their Arabic grill, which consisted of shish taouk (chicken) and kebab (meat), and I also liked their shawarma and sushi. Their dessert station, which also has a mini ice cream parlor, really takes the cake (no pun intended). They had umm ali, chocolate fountains, various Arabic desserts, regular desserts, as well as fruits and dates.
The service inside the tent was also very good. There are multiple waiters and waitresses at the ready to fill up your glass with water when it’s empty, and if you have any questions there are many members of the hotel staff willing to help you out.
I would definitely come back, particularly because of the warm hospitality and lovely Ramadan atmosphere.
Their Iftar buffet is open from sunset to 8pm and costs QR230 per person, and QR115 for children.
Suhoor is open from 9pm to 1am and has a set menu, and costs a minimum of QR80 per person.
Check out their site for reservations: http://www.shangri-la.com/doha/shangrila/dining/restaurants/ramadan/
If you decide to visit and try out their Ramadan tent, comment about your experience below!
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