Kalvin Ng headed to the Highlands to try out the fare of the recently reopened Frying Scotsman.

I like a good pun involving food, and the name of The Frying Scotsman, in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha, fits the bill nicely. Named after ‘The Flying Scotsman’, the famous passenger locomotive linking Edinburgh and London in the early 20th century, the restaurant is fun and a great place for the family: kids, train enthusiasts and the young at heart will enjoy the two model trains running along the ceiling as you eat.

The Frying Scotsman was the brainchild of one of the hotel’s chefs, who is from Scotland himself. The restaurant recently reopened after being closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hotel manager Emre Kocamustafaogullari explained that the Radisson Blu has been slowly refreshing its food and beverage venues while opening new concepts in time for the FIFA World Cup in November.

The Frying Scotsman promises the best fish and chips in Doha and ‘the Ultimate British experience’, which included Union Jack bunting along the model train rail track, tartan-covered chairs and friendly, tartan-clad waitstaff.

Although fish and chips is often thought of as a cheap and easy meal, a lot of things can easily go wrong for such a humble dish. The simplest things can often be the hardest. The Frying Scotsman offers three types of fish: cod, haddock and hammour, in a nod to the local produce. The fish is delivered fresh on the day, coated in a special ale batter, perfectly deep fried to order and served with mushy peas, traditional tartare sauce and thick-cut chips – not skinny fries – just as a good fish and chips should be, it even came with the traditional British newspaper wrapping.

I tried the cod and hammour. The cod was fresh, soft and flaky. The hammour was firmer and had a slightly meatier taste, but both were expertly fried. The tartness of the tartare sauce cut through the crispy batter nicely, as did the side order of pickled onions. The chips were firm and fried to perfection.

With one British classic down, it was time to try another, the Beef and Potato Pie, which was hearty and comforting, with a handmade pie crust, flavoursome beef mince and soft, fluffy mashed potatoes on top. The seasoning of the mince made this a perfect dish to just sit in the air-conditioned coolness, dreaming of comforting green pastures and forgetting the unforgiving desert temperatures outside.

The Frying Scotsman’s carefully curated menu also includes a small selection of salads and add-ons such as lobster bisque. There are additional pies and other very British dishes on the menu but, by this point, I was saving space for the sweet selection and one very particular item.

The dessert menu features one of Scotland’s most infamous culinary exports. In fact, any visitor north of the border will inevitably be asked: “Have you tried a deep-fried Mars bar?” I had never indulged on my many visits to the country, so I’m glad to say that I’ve finally tasted one, in Doha. It was interesting to taste the combination of a deep-fried crust with the softness of a Mars bar along with vanilla ice cream. If this isn’t really to your taste, you can also choose to have a deliciously soft and gooey sticky toffee pudding, or a selection of ice creams.

The Frying Scotsman, far from being a gimmick, serves up tasty British culinary classics in a cosy, casual setting. And with the recent refit, it is even more welcoming and fun than ever. The best fish and chips in Doha? Well, I’ll leave you to decide on that, but I was certainly impressed. ✤