FACT’s Craig Ferriman has visited the Shanghai Club at JW Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha a great many times since it opened its doors in 2016, but it’s his latest visit that truly blew him away.

There has been a steady evolution of the menu at Shanghai Club and standards have continually been raised. Yet the recent acquisition within the last year of new executive chef, Ooi Kar Kim, has taken the popular Chinese restaurant to new heights.

There were subtle changes to the décor, mostly in the lighting, but the major changes can be tasted in the food itself. After a light appetiser, we started with the age-old favourite, the Peking Duck. It arrives on a trolley and the duck is sliced in front of the table – and it all looked as I remembered. It’s cured for a day and then roasted to perfection in Chinese spices. The twist though was in the pancakes which were the best I’ve ever tasted. Rather than a papery filo texture, these were fresh, ‘pillow soft’ by their admission and more authentic than what even most foodies are used to – truly wonderful. The dim sum is something to shout about too. Included in the basket now along with shrimp and crab dumplings are scallop and lobster dim sum which is a real treat and makes the offering top class. Not only do they taste equally delicious, they’re generously packed too.

One menu item that really stood out was the duck stuffed mushroom bun. It was particularly curious because the only thing that was mushroom like about it was its shape. Cut into it and we found duck meat inside and the outer layer was covered in light chocolate. It was an incredible revelation and a rare combination of style and substance! It sure got the table talking and proof that no duck is wasted. Indeed, we even ate another warm appetiser – duck on rice crackers.

I had the honour of watching Chef Kim cook the stir-fried beef tenderloin in the kitchen, live. The pan was flaming hot and at one point literally on fire! It was delicious and well complimented with seasonal vegetables.

The Shanghai Club is a versatile space occupying the entirety of the hotel’s forty third floor. One side of it is the bar and the other is the restaurant so we started our evening in the bar where the happy hour is competitively priced with a hardto-rival menu of drinks and bites. The beverages are generous in size and the bar bites are straight from the main kitchen meaning they are on point. The wasabi prawns we bit into it had the most outrageous kick. If you expect your food to come with plenty of spice, then you’ll not be disappointed. Nothing is cooled down here unless you ask for it to be (and we supported this!).

All desserts are Chinese and the chilled mango sago cream with mango jelly and pomelo was the ideal palate cleanser to an evening of rich cuisine. I could not believe how long we had been there when it came time to leave but we must have been enjoying ourselves a lot. All waiting staff are Chinese and the service is of the highest standard at Shanghai Club. This restaurant has not rested on its laurels and has continued to evolve now reaching new altitudes and I’m not just talking about its stunning sky-scraping views nestled in the very heart of West Bay – but every single other element – they’ve truly nailed it! ✤