I was clearly wrong to expect that on a Thursday night it will not be crowded. As we arrived for our reservation time at 9:30 PM, the hustle, and bustle at Marriott Marquis City Center Doha’s Ipanema Brazilian Churrascaria can be heard a few meters away from the entrance. Thanks to the Marquis Food Fest, the restaurant was filled to the brim than usual.
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But first, what is a Churrascaria, you ask? It is basically a Brazilian steakhouse serving churrasco (barbecue). These are different cuts of meat which are flame-grilled slowly and served in different types of doneness – from rare to well done. This barbecue tradition hails from the southern side of Brazil.
And the star of the meat fest is the picanha – beef top sirloin with a thick layer of fat. The meats are served Rodizio-style and freshly sliced on your table by the skewer and knife wielding servers called Passadores. And then you grip the meat being sliced with the small tongs provided on the table. Et voila!
It was not my first time at a Churrascaria here in Qatar, but it was my first time to try the authentic Churrascaria experience at Ipanema Brazilian Churrascaria. And right on time for the Marquis Food Fest!
Marquis Food Fest 2017
Marquis Food Fest ran from August 21 to 31, 2017 with the promise of “Wherever you go, it’s QAR 100!“. For Ipanema, guests were able to enjoy unlimited signature picanha and pineapple along with a buffet of appetizers, salads, and desserts. When I first read that, it clearly sounded like a good deal, so I asked S to reserve a table for us.
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Ipanema Brazilian Churrascaria
Bold and vibrant primary colors welcomed us as we were led by the Manager to our reserved table. Because the stage was empty of a live band due to the observance of Eid Al Adha, the guests’ chattering and the clinking of cutlery filled the air.
We were seated beside the glass window, on an elevated platform. And a peek between the chain mail curtains reveal that The Gate Mall was directly in front of us.
Our assigned waiter explained to us the offerings when he gave our menu and the color coded coaster. The coaster is colored green/yellow and red on each side. And whatever color faces up on the table determines the diner’s fate – to be visited by the Passadores (meat waiters) or to be ignored by them. Haha.
But seriously, this coaster is how you control how much meat you’re going to eat. Just like a traffic light. 😉
We started our Brazilian dining experience by going to see what gustatory pleasures awaited us at the buffet spread. It was small compared to other restaurants, but that can be overlooked since the meat and pineapple are the stars of the show at Ipanema Brazilian Churrascaria.
There were 2 types of soup available – pumpkin and chicken (Canja de Frango). Along with a decent selection of salad ingredients for those who want to DIY, as well as a handful of prepared salads and Arabic mezze. Surprisingly, there is also a sushi/sashimi and seafood station. And the Chef of which was always indulging if he sees you taking a photo of his booth and offerings.
When we came back to our table, a basket of pão de queijo awaited us along with three other bowls containing feijão preto (black beans), breadcrumbs, and rice. The Pao de Queijo was definitely a winner! Wish I could have that for breakfast everyday. 😉
As soon as we finished our appetizers, we excitedly flipped our coasters, signaling to the Passadores that Yes, Please! We’re Ready! As soon as one meat waiter left our table, another one was hot on his heels.
I was so eager to try the different cuts of meat that I forgot to ask about the doneness of the meat. As a result, I unwittingly had a slice of medium rare on my plate that I didn’t get to finish. Lesson learned.
And after three types of meat, the grilled pineapple thankfully arrived. I was salivating at the sight of the stack of three grilled pineapples on his skewer. The caramelized brown sugar and cinnamon combined with the rotisserie grilled pineapple was a welcome refresher in between eating the meats, like the gari (pickled ginger) to the sushi.
After a few more rounds of meat, excluding the spicy chicken which according to S wasn’t spicy, I was almost full to bursting. Time to check out the dessert table!
The star of the dessert station was clearly the fruit flambe, where they have a designated chef to flambe it on the spot for you. I selected my fruit cuts and watched with delight as he ignited the liqueur up, resulting to a beautiful flame. I had it topped with their vanilla cookie ice cream and proceeded to check out the other desserts on display.
From the desserts I ate, only the lime pudding stood out as something I wouldn’t try again. Although I did enjoy that little meringue on top.
Ipanema Brazilian Churrascaria also offers a selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Although not included in the QAR 100 menu, we still opted to try their Classic Mojito (for me) and a spicy mocktail for S.
Despite being very crowded that night, the service staff was still very accommodating and friendly making the dining experience memorable. Kudos as well to the very hands-on restaurant manager, who was still all smiles when he ushered us out while asking our dining experience.
Even if I’m not much of a meat-atarian, it was certainly fun to experience the authentic Brazilian barbecue tradition at Ipanema Brazilian Churrascaria of Marriott Marquis. Hopefully next time, I’ll be eating at a Churrascaria in Ipanema, Brazil!
Ipanema Brazilian Churrascaria Info
Location: 2nd Floor, Marriott Marquis City Center Doha
Happy Hour 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Dinner 6:30pm – 11:30pm
Friday Brunch 12:30pm – 3:30pm
Dress Code: Casual
Contact No: +974 4419 5000
Have you tried eating at a Churrascaria? How was your experience?
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