I joined a couple of friends for a buffet lunch in Mainland China on a weekday afternoon. I came in early and spent a few minutes sipping Jasmine tea awaiting my friends. The restaurant as usual was spic and span, tables well laid and the buffet was neatly lined up on one side.
The buffet had two sections veg and non-veg separated by the salad items. Each had about 6 items (2 rice/noodles, and 4 main courses). In Mainland China, for the buffet they will serve the soups and starters on the table whereas the rest are to be taken by the customer from the buffet table.
Soon my friends arrived and we started off. The soup, a chicken and egg soya soup was nothing fancy but the starters were what I liked. There were both chicken and veg dumplings and they were nicely prepared going well with the assortment of dips served on the table. One of us asked and got a special mustard based dip with it too. The best of the starters was the perfectly prepared Drums of heaven chicken drumsticks glazed in honey. This warranted a second helping.
After a brief flirting with the starters I embarked on my main love, the non-veg section of the buffet. What first caught my attention was the Crab in black pepper sauce. The local crabs were soft with a lot of meat inside, and the black pepper sauce went famously with Sichuan Mixed meat Fried Rice. The fried rice was good in taste, but I could not find any mixed meat apart from chicken.
The Burnt Garlic Noodles was very well prepared with a distinctive flavor. The boneless Sichuan Fish could have been spicier in my view. The Shrimp in Green Garlic Sauce was a white colored delight, which warranted multiple servings and its popularity was obvious in the way the item was getting over at the buffet and needed refills.
I was happy at the number of seafood items in the buffet. The only chicken main course Chicken in Basil Sauce was a savior for the non-vegetarians who do not dig too much of seafood.
Among the veg items I liked a corn and broccoli preparation in a green sauce. Apart from these there was stir fried vegetables and an okra dish. But I did not try them.
All the courses were prepared well in my view. The place which was near empty at 1 pm, picked up pace and around 2o clock was fairly noisy and crowded.
For dessert, there was Coconut Wanton, Darsaan (flat noodles fried in honey) and a cake. I am not very fond of these, but my friend liked the coconut wanton.
The buffet was priced around Rs 530, all inclusive. At that price, the wholesome buffet is surely value for money.