After having LOVED Claridges, I was looking forward to another Gordon delight. Hubby made reservations for us and a close friend ("Would you like outside on the balcony?" ... "Yes that would be lovely" ... "We are very causal so jeans are ok" ... "fantastic, I know just what to wear on breezy balmy evening in Doha".
On arrival we were shown 2 firmly closed doors - in hushed whispers "that's our fine dining area" ... "Can we peek inside?" ... "sorry no, as soon as the doors are closed it's off-limits". Well - excuuuse me.
We were shown to a table out on the balcony area. The cloth place mats were misshaped and un-ironed.
All the usual expected service system was in order, except that whereas in Claridges we had what seemed to be half-a-dozen sommeliers swarming around our table to assist, in Opal this function was left up to the waiters. At our table one person ordered wine, one person ordered beer, and another person ordered water. They gave one person a huge mineral water bottle without asking (I guess assuming that others at the table would want some - which we did not).
The Menu. Ok, some starters, some pizza, some burgers and a very small range of mains. I wanted a steak. Nowhere to be seen (seriously?). There was one piece of veal put on the menu at an outrageous price to make all the other dishes appear cheap (which they weren't).
Bread basket. Yes, this was excellent, but one at our table was eating low-carb so couldn't enjoy. But it's a shame when the bread is the highlight ...
The tuna tartare in romaine boats was pretty decent, as was the salad starter and the braised beef. Appetizers can be classified as a "tick".
Main courses. I wanted steak, but because they didn't have any, I selected the grilled salmon - yeah it tasted like your average grilled salmon - nothing special. The other 2 ordered burgers - one wagyu and one vegetarian. Lucky we ordered sides because these very small burgers arrived with bugger-all else - some cheap taro chips on one; and 5 finger chips on the other. The looks of disappointment was very difficult to hide, quite honestly. Both commented on the lack of flavour; and the vegetarian patty was a pile of mush tossed in crumbs.
Sides. Broccoli, chips and coleslaw. Nothing worth mentioning here, except that the coleslaw tasted exactly like KFC (which I happen to like). Lucky we ordered these because it helped the burgers.
Desserts. I wanted something to make the evening finish on a high note. Hot chocolate fondant, hot apple crumble, hot fruit crepes - something hot. The alternative was a cheese board. Lo and behold, 7 items on the dessert menu and not single hot dessert and no cheese. Seriously? I still wanted something else to finish, so we ordered the profiteroles (we would have ordered a dessert each if there was a decent range). The highlight of the profiteroles was ... the ice cream - actually very delicious and you can taste that it's homemade.
Bottom line ... we never expected to be ordering pizza or burgers, but 2 of us ordered burgers as a last resort because the rest of the menu was so weak. Like it or not, the name Gordon Ramsay is associated with fine dining and great tasting food. Our whole table was expecting more. Certainly the bare minimum of a solid range, decent value for money, food that screams flavour, and at least one wow moment that makes it memorable. Unfortunately we will remember this visit for all the wrong reasons.
We paid over US$100/head and we left feeling that this was quite poor value for money.
I'll go back to Claridges!
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