Since opening in March 2009, the Australian-flavoured The Grill at the Grand Hyatt Doha has set itself apart from its rivals in Qatar’s crowded five-star hotel dining scene.
Fusing Australian culinary traditions with a Middle Eastern flavour, The Grill is redefining fine dining in Doha. Colin Bond, Executive Sous Chef, himself an Australian, said the philosophy behind The Grill was taking the best of ‘Modern Australian’, a.k.a. ‘Mod Oz’ cuisine, and adapting it to Doha. While the ‘Mod Oz’ nods towards the Southeast Asian flavour palette, Bond keeps The Grill firmly rooted in the sands of the Middle East. His philosophy, developed with Executive Chef Mark Hagan, is no more than three flavours on a plate; and uses local spices to highlight.
“The key is to not complicate the dish, to have a nice marriage of flavours,” Bond says. “It’s a little bit of east meets west. We use locally sourced spices such as baharat, ras el hanout and dukkhas.” Sourcing the produce is no mean feat, considering Doha is some 14 hours’ flying time from Australia’s east coast. “At first we rejected a lot, but it’s about finding the right suppliers. It really makes a difference now Qatar Airways flies direct from Australia,” he says.
The Grill’s menu includes Australian wagyu and grass-fed yearling beef and local seafood, especially the popular Hammour (a white fish) and lobster. Bond, who works The Grill’s kitchen along with fellow-Australian chef Daud Kendall, says although he “can’t go past” the rib-eye steak, local diners also rave about the BBQ Short Rib.
Bond describes himself as “self taught” but has also served his time in some of Australia’s best known restaurants, including Le Kiosk in Sydney and Dish in Byron Bay. But it was his two-year stint as a chef on private yachts sailing the Mediterranean and Asia that had the most influence on his career. “That experience taught me a lot, I had to be independent,” says Bond.
With a restaurant landscape crowded with Middle Eastern and Asian fare, Doha hotels have to offer “something different” for the increasingly sophisticated and well-heeled market. A recent ‘Taste of Australia’ promotion, with Australian produce showcased by visiting chef Mike Tafe, saw The Grill fully booked every night. Grand Hyatt General Manager Garry Friend, another Australian, said the restaurant was not just aimed at the western expat market. “This is an emerging scene, it’s starting to change,” Friend says. “We’re finding it extremely popular with both expats and Qataris. They appreciate the quality of the produce and the food.”
Connect Doha, Qatar Qatar Airways flies from Doha to more than 85 destinations worldwide.
On the menu
BEEF SHORT RIBS IN BBQ SAUCE
- 1kg tomato ketchup
- 500ml water
- 5g garlic (chopped)
- 200g brown sugar
- 20g Worcestershire sauce
- 5g cracked black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1kg trimmed beef ribs
- Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Strain through a sieve and keep refrigerated until needed.
- Meanwhile, seal the ribs in a hot pan until golden brown. Pour over prepared BBQ sauce and place in a 120?C oven for 1? hours.
- Serve with mashed potatoes or other accompaniment.