Before you go on reading this review, I have to warn you about something. This is definitely the most unreasonable review I have ever written and that you shouldn’t base your decision to try out the Yum Cha Brunch on this blog post alone. The thing is, the brunch for me didn’t start very well and I’ve let that one measly incident affect my whole experience of the brunch (totally my fault!). There are so many other reviews of this brunch which mentioned how good it is and while I don’t doubt that it must’ve been a really good experience for them, I have to give you my honest review about it. And that is, I didn’t like it. Not at all.
It all started with a bad customer service. I normally am very nice to people working in the customer service industry as I, myself have worked in a similar position as a travel agent. Dealing with people on a daily basis is not for everyone, you’ve got to have patience and an enormous amount of self-control so you won’t accidentally scream at your unreasonable customer or bang their head on the wall. I admire anyone who’s working in this industry which is why I’m normally very nice to them as I know how it’s like to be in their shoes. This time though, I was the unreasonable customer or maybe not? You be the judge.
I was invited to try the yum cha brunch and as soon as I sat, the staff asked me what kind of package I’d like to take. They have 3 packages for this brunch: one with softdrinks, one with alcohol beverages and one with premium alcoholic beverages. I told her that I wasn’t sure what kind of brunch I was supposed to take since it was an invitation but for sure I’d take any of the packages which includes alcoholic beverages and I’d be willing to pay for the difference if ever what was booked for us was the one with softdrinks alone.
The staff on the other hand didn’t understand this and wasn’t aware why we were there in the first place. She assumed that what I was telling her is that I was going to use an Advantage Club voucher which apparently is the norm for Yum Cha brunchers.
Again, I explained the situation but she refused to listen. I understand that if you’re living in Doha, which is a melting pot of all nationalities, you will encounter people who most probably doesn’t have English as their first language including myself. However, there is a difference between a misunderstanding caused by language barrier and a misunderstanding simply because one party wasn’t willing to listen. And in our case, the staff wasn’t willing to listen. She would cut me off, mid-sentence as I tried to explain our situation and she would tell me that she knows I’m going to use the voucher which is definitely not what I’m trying to tell her. I wasn’t frustrated because we couldn’t understand each other, it was the fact that she was cutting me off mid-sentence which I think is not how you practice a proper customer service.
It went on for a good 3 minutes I think and because she wasn’t willing to listen to what I was saying, I just told her to just give me a drink which I badly needed after that conversation with her and we’ll pay whatever needs to be paid. She left and I swear that at that moment, I also wanted to leave Hwang and skip this brunch. Which now I think I should’ve done because it’s still making me feel so frustrated. Maybe if I left the restaurant and rebooked myself to try this brunch another time I probably would’ve had a totally different experience?
I also think that the fact that not all of their staff weren’t aware why we were there (to review the brunch) means that there’s been a miscommunication somewhere down the line. If you’ve forgotten to advise your staff that someone’s coming to review your restaurant then imagine if a normal diner requested something special for this brunch? If it was easy for them to forget about a reviewer coming, then it would be much easier for them to forget a special request from a normal diner. That’s just me.
After that conversation, it seems to me like everything just went downhill. We were seated in a small corner of the restaurant beside a big group of brunchers with kids running around the place screaming their heads off. On top of that, to make matters even worst, our table was beside the DJ and the speakers. Although the volume wasn’t that bad, being in between the speakers and the big group of diners with screaming children isn’t really the best place to enjoy a meal. In fact, even if the big group wasn’t there – I think it’s the worst table you could ever sit in in this restaurant. You should definitely request a table in one of the “little rooms” that they have which is where The Greek Mister and I normally sit whenever we’re in Hwang. It’s lovely, those little rooms.
I do love the concept of the brunch though, having everything delivered to your table is definitely something I prefer than having a buffet spread. It’s the best kind of brunch for me, being spoiled with multiple dishes that you can enjoy as much as you’d like without having to get up and get it yourself.
The food however was mediocre, it was good but there’s not one dish which stood out that I could rave about. It’s probably also because I have been comparing the dishes served at Hwang’s Yum Cha brunch to the other restaurants which served the same dish. The wasabi prawns at Hwang definitely couldn’t be compared to the ones served at Tse Yang (now called Krane) at The Pearl Qatar. Hwang’s prawn hargow does not even come close to Hakkasan’s which I know is of a totally different spectrum when it comes to restaurants but as I’ve mentioned earlier, this is a very unreasonable review so I’m allowed to say that. While the mango and sticky rice was so bland that I think they took it quite literally and served mango + sticky rice with no regards to its flavor whatsoever, it definitely can’t be compared to Sabai Thai’s version of this dessert.
There is also one common taste in each of the dishes served, everything’s spicy. There should be a varying taste for each dishes in the menu I think or maybe make the dishes a bit more flexible to be seasoned according to the diner’s spice level preference. The Chef came to our table and asked how the food was and after mentioning that everything was spicy, he advised us to eat basil leaves after a spicy dish to remove the flavor in our mouth. Nope, definitely not going to change the spice level according to your preference instead, here’s some basil leaves to survive this meal.
I personally want to love this brunch, trust me I did. I was very excited to try it out specially after reading great reviews about it however, no matter how I looked at it – it wasn’t really the best experience I’ve ever had. I think even if the first incident didn’t happen, my opinion about the food would remain the same – good but spicy and nothing worth noting about.
Let’s say I didn’t have that encounter with the staff who wasn’t willing to listen and I also wasn’t sitting in the worst table location in this restaurant, will I go back to try Yum Cha brunch again? I don’t really think so. It’s kind of like one of those “been there, done that” thing which you’d try just because everyone’s raving about it and now that you have, you’re ok not to be there again.
I did love the fact that they serve the beer San Mig Light though which is a Filipinio brand. You definitely need a drink to go through this brunch. At least that was the case for The Greek Mister and myself.
Note: The service improved during the course of our meal because the first staff who I had the frustrating conversation with didn’t come back to our table afterwards. The other staff were all very friendly and efficient. I just felt like I have to say that because the bad customer service we received was only at the beginning of our meal but it definitely affected our whole dining experience.
I was a guest of Hwang for Yum Cha Brunch however as always (and obviously), opinions stated are my own, genuine and in no way influenced.