Since becoming a mummy, the checklist of things I look for in a restaurant have completely changed. Ornate settings and plush surroundings have been replaced by the desire for family-friendly facilities and convenience; polite and efficient service is less important than waiting staff that tolerate, or even better, seem to actually like babies and children; I no longer feel the need for a fun atmosphere which exudes passion and excitement, just so long as there is a space to park the buggy and I can see that they have high chairs for future use. The only thing that hasn't changed is that I always, always expect good food.
When the Canadian restaurant, Eggspectation came to Medina Centrale on The Pearl, I hoped that it would be a place that would fulfill all of my new criteria. After all, it is only a ten minute walk down the road from our apartment (convenience box - tick!) and the menu is based around one of my all-time favourite things: eggs!
Luckily from the moment we stepped inside I was impressed. The staff were warm and friendly, helping us to find a booth that would happily house our enormous buggy alongside us so that we could keep an eye on the sleeping babe as we ate. Shortly after sitting down, the manager came over to welcome us, and cooed over Sophia and I immediately warmed to him and the whole restaurant.
The vibe is clean and cool, with an American diner-like feel and relaxed music. We took our time over the menu, which is extensive. With a whole page dedicated to one of our favourites, the Eggs Benedict, we were both intrigued and going against our usual rule, decided to go for different variations of the same item. We opted for a Chicken Benedict (me) and Lobster Benedict (him).
The Hollandaise was both silky and sharp, and utterly delicious, and our eggs were, on the whole, perfectly runny (despite asking for them soft, Mr Sunshine had one slightly harder egg, but we'll let this one slide for now!). We loved the unusual ham substitutions on our Bennies, and as you can not eat pork in Qatar anyway, we agreed that lobster and chicken were far preferable to fake 'turkey ham'.
The potatoes tasted a little greasy however, and neither of us could understand why there was a fruit garnish on the side of the plate - it just seemed a little out of place!
For 'dessert', I had spied one of the most exciting items I had ever seen on a menu before in the form of S'mores French Toast.
This beautiful brioche sandwich contains lashings of nutella and warm, melted marshamallow, which oozes out of the sides as you sink your teeth into it. For those of you with a sweet tooth like me, it is quite simply heaven on a plate and completely and utterly S'moreish (sorry, couldn't help myself!).
As we got up to leave the restaurant, I had one of those terror-filled moments as an inexperienced new mother, as I realised that not only was Sophia starting to root around for a feed, but that she had suddenly become rather smelly in the nappy department. I bravely decided to attempt quietly breast feeding in a corner, under the safety of my feeding cover, and breathed a sigh of relief as the staff smiled on in encouragement. Afterwards, I discovered that the small, one-cubicle ladies rest room even contained a nappy changing unit!
We left full of food, and discussing which menu items we would try on our next trip. But most importantly, we left with a sleeping, and very contented baby.
Eggspectation, you were incr-egg-ible! We'll be back soon.