FACT’s Muhammad Asad Ullah kicked off his weekend with the Family Fun Brunch at Al Hubara where everything was grand, sumptuous and delicious.

Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day according to the nutritionists but, on a weekend, it’s the brunch for us that’s the big deal. A good brunch hits all the right notes to kick off a power-packed weekend. It’s late enough to allow for a lie-in but early enough that the entire day still stretches ahead of you. And when it’s at a place like Al Hubara at Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, what’s not to love? Almost nothing! It’s grand, sumptuous, everything delicious and very family-friendly.

I was welcomed to the Sheraton with a huge floral installation of hydrangeas in the centre of the lobby. Since I love hydrangeas, that was the moment I knew it was going to be a wholesome Friday afternoon, even before looking at the large spread laid out on the left side of the main lobby.

Well, it was a large spread in every form, from salads, breads, meats and cheeses to seafood, sushi, shawarma, a pasta station and a sugary dessert corner — so elaborate.

The space was bright, with lots of pale wood and pops of vibrant colours. The light made it a very relaxed place for a Friday morning. The family-fun brunch here is a perfect place for family bonding time, not only because it offers many entertainment activities but also a space for kids to have fun. There’s a magic show for the little ones along with mascots dressed as their favourite cartoon characters to keep them entertained. At the exclusive kids’ counter there are several healthy, toasty options, including different flavours of jam and toast, milk and cereal with nuts, and lots of granolas and special themed cakes.

If it’s time for kids to play, you can leave them at the designated space and they’ll be immersed in face painting, games, balloons, colouring, and other wholesome activities. In terms of food, the brunch offers relaxed kid-friendly options like mini burgers, candy floss, fruit yogurts and waffles. Something for everyone. I started my Friday brunch with a wholesome wheat bun and goat cheese paired with assorted salads including fattoush, beetroot salad, baba ghanoush and seafood couscous with mint, lemon, olive oil and vine leaves on the side. Think citrus-cured. Where the bread was right out of the oven, fresh and puffy — the cheese was tart and earthy. It was a healthy start.

Likewise, for the drinks I ordered sparkling water with lemon and ice and a passion fruit mojito. This mojito was one of the best I’ve tried in Doha. Not too sweet, not too lime or sour. A perfect balance of mint, lime and salt — fizzy and bursting with fruity flavour. Now moving onto the mains. I went for a meaty affair: oven roasted ribeye, beef steak with peppercorns, and grilled chicken paired with Cajun roasted potatoes and sautéed vegetables. The meat, both ribeye and the steak, were flavoursome and tender. It was as if the firm flesh melted in my mouth with every bite.

The chicken was so well marinated that I could virtually identify the individual flavours. I also ordered some mixed grill that featured lamb kebabs, grilled chicken and prawns. The sweet chilli sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the prawns. When I say sweet chilli, I really don’t mean the retail bottled stuff, rather that there were pieces of sliced chilli in mine. It’s the attention to detail at Al Hubara that makes it stand out.

To continue my culinary tour — I then opted for a small chicken shawarma with lots of garlic sauce and French fries with arrabiata pasta that was prepared right in front of me. Sautéed garlic and mushrooms, a spoonful of sauce, a simmer of olive oil, chilli flakes and voila! A taste for days to remember! The pasta had something of a cult following and there was also an assortment of options in vegetables and sauces. The brunch menu was packed with Mediterranean-meetsMiddle Eastern flavours, especially the vast array of options for seafood.

Fish available included Faskar, Safi, Kufar, Blue Crab, Green Mussels, Razor Clams, Langoustine, Lobster, and Prawn Majboush, everything a counter away and grilled/fried fresh on site. The display window was filled with exotic sauces and vegetables to go with. Coming to the four different types of sushi: they began with pale pink slices of tuna and ended with small pieces of avocado. The tuna was seared and there was a puddle of sesame and a shower of cucumber. My favourite had to be the Philly and veggie rolls. A must to try! Now the dessert station.

The first things that captured my attention were the hot waffles coming right out of the waffle maker, next were the jalebis from Jamavar. Would you even be South Asian if you see jalebis and don’t get hyped up about them? No! not possible. They were crispy on the outside and dripping with sugary syrup on the inside. The best thing: they were small bites.

Apart from that, the menu also featured flavoured Greek yogurt, different cake slices, Umm Ali, Cheese Kunaffeh and candy floss amongst others. At the brunch at Al Hubara the best thing was that I didn’t feel rushed but waiters were checking in regularly enough to make me feel looked after. I left feeling smug for having eaten so well and been somewhere so wholesome, early on a weekend. And yes! I’m going back next week. Bisou Bisou! ✤