Breakfast for a Sultan at Grande
Four months is a long break from blogging. I could blame it on a litany of excuses, chief among them sloth; but the truth is I have had a terrible time juggling a book I’m working on while keeping my pulse on the Doha dining scene.
I’m happy to report that the first draft of my book is now with the publishers (hopefully to be out early next year!), and I am back to stuffing my face around town. As my last entry was in June, I thought it a propos to start with a restaurant which opened that month and has quickly become one of my regular hangouts: Grande.
The Turkish restaurant in The Residence (formerly Sara Tower) in West Bay is understated. The décor is minimalistic and has about as much charm as my chiropractor’s waiting lounge. It’s not ugly, but neither is it memorable. At the end of the day, it occupies a non-purpose-built space, just an empty corner of an apartment building that got turned into an eatery with a few ceramics one suspects got sourced from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
Still, what Grande lacks in atmosphere it makes up in food. This might well be my favourite Turkish restaurant in town. I’ve now tried the mezzes and grills with a Turkish friend who vouches for their authenticity. But what’s keeps me coming back is the traditional breakfast spread, served daily from 7AM to 11:30AM.
For QR70 a person, it includes a platter of Turkish cheese, fresh veggies, fruit, as well as a bread basket with such favourites as simit and borek accompanied by more dips and spreads than can fit the table. You also get unlimited pots of tea as well as a warm plate of eggs; I recommend the menemen, basically scrambled eggs with salsa, or the sunny side-up with soujook sausages. In fact, if you have both kinds together, it’s much like a modified huevos rancheros. Other highlights include the tahin pekmez, a glorious dip of sesame seed paste and molasses, and honey with kaymak, Turkish clotted cream.
QR70 sounds like a lot for breakfast, but when you consider that the bowl of eggs alone costs QR45 in the other Turkish chains, a cheese plate is QR50 and a cup of tea (not unlimited) is QR10, Grande is an absolute steal. Don’t just come here because it’s a bargain. Come here because it’s good. Grande gets the Boulangerry seal of approval plus three gold stars. Boy, I sure hope it stays that way for a long time to come.
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