I first saw this place wandering around City Center after I first moved to Doha. I didn’t go in because it seemed a bit, err, “adventurous” tucked way back into a shadowy corner of the mall.
Once I started branching out from the epicenter of my “residential hotel suite” and did some online research, I found a blog for the “Qatar Skeptic” (Google him) and was surprised to find this place on his list. He was my first foray into under-appreciated cheap Doha eats, so I have a special allegiance to him.
He said something like his Hong Kong friend was sad because there wasn’t any authentic Chinese food in the city. Then when this place opened up, Hong Kong guy and his family went buck wild over it and went at least twice per week. The blogger went a few times and didn’t see what all the fuss was about. He recommended it anyway because he thought it was OK but nothing special.
That was pretty much my experience. It was OK but nothing special. That being said, I had a satisfying experience here. It reminded me of the Chinese buffets back home in the U.S., Although there were some surprises, like chicken necks (which I didn’t try) and sushi with American processed cheese in it (which was pretty much as weird as I thought it would be).
But when I went I brought a buddy who had taught in Taiwan for several years, and he LOVED the place. He totally ratified the buffet. He said it tasted like the sort of fast food you would get on the corner in Taiwan. And he said that yes, you would totally see American processed yellow cheese in sushi there (according to him).
So my final analysis is that the buffet probably isn’t authentic Chinese food, although you may be able to pick some out on the a la carte menu. But the buffet (for better or worse) is what you’d expect to find at the corner restaurant in Taiwan.
Overall, I got full for hardly any money, I wasn’t offended by the experience (in terms of price to value ratio), and I appreciated the free fountain refills on Coke Zero.
I’d go back if someone had a hankering, but I probably won’t ever leap out of bed and go “I NEED ME SOME SHANGHAI GARDEN!”