Casual Dining at Shakespeare & Co, Doha

Friday, 13 May 2016

A hop, step and a jump away from our apartment is one of those restaurants which, since its opening last year, has got people talking. 

 
As I stroll past this quirky restaurant's terrace with our pram on our regular walks around the marina, I've noticed it is the only place in the vicinity which is always busy regardless of the time of day. Families, business meetings, romantic dates...the clientele it attracts is many and varied, and because of this it's one of my favourite spots on The Pearl for a spot of people watching.

So what is bringing people here in their droves? My little family and I headed over for lunch this week to find out for ourselves.

Unfortunately Sophia had been suffering with reflux that morning, leading to bouts of crying, spitting up and inevitable outfit changes. As a result we were considerably late for our reservation - almost an hour in fact, something that I really dislike and try to avoid as much as possible. It was relief that we opened the door to be greeted with warm smiles from our waitress, told that they were waiting for us and taken to a table which they had kept waiting. I was reminded that the relaxed, friendly and attentive service which we'd also experienced on previous visits really gives this place the edge.


The unconventional decor of the Victorian-era themed interior makes it stand out amongst some of the more traditional restaurants on the island. The colourful interiors, adorned with ornate oil paintings, empty gilt frames and old fashioned light fixtures make it one of the most Instagram-able spaces on The Pearl.



The eclectic menu is also a big draw. It's a page turner which takes you from all-day breakfast items to salads to classic main courses, and a large array of naughty puddings thrown in to boot. You don't have to be the most discerning of diners to eat here; there truly is something for everyone.

We started with warm, gooey and satisfying Mozzarella sticks.


And the restaurant's famous Piri Piri Prawns which had a sharp tang of spice, and were served with crispy potato croquettes that take the edge off the heat. I was happy to discover that this dish was every bit as moreish as I'd heard it was.


My breakfast-obsessed husband opted for Eggs Benedict for his main course, while I fancied going for something a little healthier, and chose the Quinoa Salad with grilled chicken. We knew the Benny was a good one, as we had trotted down here for breakfast on numerous occasions previously.

Look at that perfect yolk!


However, the quinoa salad was a new one to me, and I was rather taken aback when this mammoth plate of food was placed on the table in front of me!


Tasty, perfectly-cooked quinoa spilled out of a flakey pastry bowl, accompanied by chickpeas, pomegranate seeds and other more traditional salad items in a delicious dressing. The grilled chicken was juicy and cooked to perfection. The only downside was that there was enough on the plate to feed a family of five and I was only able to manage about half it!

By the time the dessert menu was brought out, we were both stuffed, but agreed to order the strawberry cheesecake to share.



Definitely one of the creamiest and tastiest cheesecakes I've had in Doha so far!

We had had a lovely meal, we had warded off any FOMO by ordering several different styles of cuisine from the extensive menu, and most importantly, we were full to the brim.



In fact, we had had such a good time that we returned the very next day for a drink on the terrace.

 
If you are looking for a relaxed, friendly and informal place to eat, and if you are one of those people who dislikes the confines of small, a la carte menus and prefers to be spoilt for choice when it comes to their food, then this is the restaurant for you.

We were guests of Shakespeare & Co. on this occasion, but as always all views are my own.

14 comments:

  1. I love Shakespeare & Co! We have several in Abu Dhabi, one very close to my university, and it's a place I often escape to when I need a coffee and a change of scene, or a place I take my family when they visit. You did a great job of representing the quirky decor and delicious menu - it's certainly like no where else I've ever been to. Glad you enjoyed it, Sophia is so looking beautiful.

    Liza xx

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    1. Hey Liza, it's definitely different! We're heading to Dubai in a couple of weeks so I'm tempted to check out what you guys have to offer! Thanks so much for your lovely compliment. She's been so sick this week but seems to be better today.

      Polly xx

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  2. Really annoys me this place is viewed as even above "average"...
    Consistent? absolutely! Good in many ways except the food.
    "views are my own". Nonsense.
    Frozen potato croquettes, bought in frozen mozz sticks, dipping sauce out of a jar, hollandaise with the eggs benny so yellow it could be mistaken as mustard! Suspect out of a packet? Never seen real hollandaise that colour in 20 years of cooking. Qu'i'nõa salad as per the picture looks short on grains, lots of other cheap bulk though. Possibly the darkest strawberry cheesecake top I've seen for a while as well.
    All in all this place:- great pictures for instagram as long as the camera isn't pointing at the food.
    Service pretty reasonable on my own visits. Wouldn't rush back though.
    All views my own, no payment was received for this article ;)

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    1. Hey, sorry that you seem to have had such a bad experience with this restaurant. Before I respond, I would like to clearly state that I haven't (and doubt I ever will - it doesn't sit right with me) received payment for a review where I have received the products and services for free. Re: your comments on the food, I'm afraid I disagree. Have we ever had a bad experience at the restaurant? Yes, but this was in its first week of opening and I put it down to teething problems and didn't think it was fair to mention it in the post as we have only had excellent food ever since (and we have been numerous times due to its proximity to our flat). For any review to be effective, it's important that readers trust bloggers and it saddens me that you don't seem to, as both the majority of bloggers and PR professionals that I have met here in Qatar are completely above board about things like this, and actively look down on behaviour that's displayed to the contrary. From my point of view on this occasion I'll have to put your thoughts on this restaurant down to a difference in opinion. Thanks for stopping by!

      Polly xx

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    2. Ps. If you would like to read some slightly less positive reviews on this blog then please feel free to search 'recent restaurant disapointments' in the sidebar

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  3. Firstly, I just wanted to say how fabulous you're looking and how gorgeous little Sophia is! Secondly, this is another balanced and fair review, just as I expect from you! And thirdly, Unknown up there is welcome to their opinion, as we all are... but they maybe should be reminded to be a little more respectful when expressing it!!! I thought you responded to that one perfectly!
    C xx.

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    1. Aww Connie, reading this late at night after only 3 hours sleep the night before (because of the baby!) nearly made me cry. You are such a sweetheart, thank you :-) Thanks for the lovely compliments, and I completely agree. I am completely open to constructive feedback or different opinions on this website, but I am not going to encourage rudeness!

      Polly xx

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  4. A balanced review and the only thing "nonsensical" is Anonymous' reply. Good food at a fair price (an important factor to consider in Doha) in a nice location. What's not to like? Constructive feedback is always welcome but at least leave your name next time to avoid everyone thinking you're a troll. No payment was received for this reply ;) x

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    1. Thanks for sharing your views Mr S :-)

      Polly xx

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  5. Seems strange everybody is willing to bash the opinion of a seasoned professional over somebody who admits she has an "untrained pallette" I think I read in another post.
    How you Doha food bloggers think your "views are your own" is quite laughable. That's like Hillary saying the speech money she gets doesn't influence her voting on bankers bills. She might say it, but nobody reeaaally believes her.
    If you were to review a lunch you paid for by yourself, that was just spur of the moment like a secret shopper it would have more weight. Restaurants nowadays are too scared to stick to their guns. Knowing their product and often service is below par. Very few places in the city are doing good food. IDAM has to top the list on perfectly executed food, consistently brilliant in my 4 visits. And there are many others doing great food. I notice nobody reviews Turkey Central, or the Afghani brothers places which do actual authentic (as close as is possible with local food import restraints) foods, great prices, reasonably cheery service in pleasant enough surroundings.
    Going to all the "top" (this means most expensive) restaurants and picking them apart is a skill which must be learned and honed over many years from an intrinsic and meticulous attention to the details. I can price most dishes in such places before I sit down. If this were in London, you'd spend £100 on a couple of cocktails and some sushi at Nobu, here you get brunch for 4 hours and end up spending the same. That represents good value. Eating for free and giving a luke-warm opinion of the food serves no purpose. It's maybe an "honest review" but it shows a clear lack of understanding about food costing, cooking standards, provenance of the produce, clinical cooking, authenticity and most worryingly everybody is banging this same drum. Reviews like this give Doha what it has:- mediocre outlets everywhere! So few are the good places you can count them on two hands

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    1. If you want to bash Polly's review then at least have the decency to use your own name! If you are such a food expert and can do this so well, then do it and share it with the rest of us so we can benefit from your supposed expertise. Polly is not a food critic and never claimed to be, but eats out enough to have a relevant opinion (way more than me for sure!) She is giving her honest opinion and she has given her opinion on not so exceptional places as well.

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    2. Thanks Tiffany, you are such a sweetheart, and pretty much took the words out of my mouth!

      Polly xx

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  6. Wow drama in the comments! Haven't tried this place yet despite my 6 years in Doha! Love your reviews as always! Will have to give it a go soon :)

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    1. I know!!!! Thanks for the support Sally! :-) You should go, whether you agree with me on the food or not, it's a really relaxed and friendly place, and they're great with children.

      Polly xx

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