Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Tale Of Two Buffets

I had the rare opportunity to try out 2 very different buffet meals, on consecutive days. The latter is not so good on the tummy. Mind you, I’m not as young as I once was, and all you can eat is no longer a forte of mine. However, these were opportunities that were hard to pass up. And I’m glad I went. After the recent double disappointments of Sushi Choo and Kobe Jones… (well… ok… the Volcano Roll was still spectacular, but did not make up for the rest…) I was happy to find something I truly enjoyed.

I did think of doing something that wasn’t quite done before (as far as I know) by reviewing 2 restaurants side by side. But that proved too difficult and much too taxing on my feeble mind. So I’ll do a rather more mundane review of these two buffet restaurants.

Exhibit A: The Sheraton On The Park Botanica Brasserie Buffet Special @ $60 a head.

Exhibit B: Ashfield RSL Lucky Buffet Restaurant Smorgasbord @ $20 a head for visitors, $17 a head for members.

Both buffets featured seafood galore, and the staple of seafood buffet- the prawn- was anything but lacking. I, for one, loved the prawns, especially at buffet. The ones at Sheraton were Australian King Prawns if memory serves me right. These were huge and had quite a bit of heft to them. Very solid and sweet. There was just no comparison here. This puts the casino buffet prawns to shame, and I’m sorry Lucky Buffet, but your prawns are baby shrimps, relatively speaking…

The king prawns and the Sydney rock oysters in all their glory

More rock oysters. The smoked salmon was excellent too

The other seafood staple, the mussels, were adequate in both cases, but what really turned me on, pun intended, were the oysters I had at Sheraton. The first lot I went for were quite pedestrian, then, I was shown the Sydney rock oysters, and I never looked back. There are simply no words to describe the taste. They were sensational. To compare it with a certain horizontal activity usually performed in the bedroom does not come close to doing it any justice.

HOWEVER, I must offer a word/sentence of disclaimer: I believe the Botanica Brasserie is quite susceptible to the different batches that they get from wherever they get the seafood. The sea comes to mind. I think different seasons coughs up different quality seafood, and as such, the great seafood I had on the night may not necessarily be there the next time I go. Just as I found some lesser fresh king prawns on my plate, and the Balmain Bugs left much to be desired.

The mussels and seafood salad- my first plate at Lucky

The sushi had that “over-riced, under-fished” syndrome, shared with Kobe Jones. Or, as some would say, the fish-rice ratio is all screwed up. But then again, I didn’t come to Sheraton to eat sushi.

As you can see- the fish to rice ratio is just all wrong...

I kept going back for the rock oysters. I couldn’t stop. They were that good. I think after about 4 to 5 plates later, I was finally ready for hot food. The hot food session lasted 1 plate. I took a bit of everything. Not to detract from the hot food or anything. The potato, the lamb and the chicken were all good. But when you compare them to the rock oysters, there was simply no match. Plus the dessert selection looks extremely enticing. I couldn’t hold off any longer. I had to go get some desserts...

My lone hot dish plate- and yes... I did 'try' to plate up...

the accompanying riesling for the night

Before I head into desserts, let’s head back over to the other side. At the Lucky buffet, the cold/seafood dishes were just so-so. I ended up having more hot dishes, as there were a great variety of hot dishes to choose from. Another thing about the Lucky Buffet is that when a dish runs out, they don’t tend to replace it with the same dish. Au contraire… they replace it with a completely different dish. This is quite good as variety on offer is actually greater than the allocated space allows. However, if you missed out on something the first time… it’s unlikely you’ll see it again. Most of the hot dishes were fairly predictable Chinese take-away style and quality. Lots and lots of fried items though, and these seriously fills you up post haste.

2 of the hot plates over at Lucky

Dessert at Botanica was simply divine. There is no other way to describe it. The choice desserts are the chocolate mousse - absolutely exquisite, and the bread and butter pudding was anything BUT bread and butter. That is one serious dessert. It’s heavenly fattening and melted in my mouth. I’d hate to think just how much ‘butter’ was in it, but whatever the amount, I think it’s worth piling on the kilograms for…

An honourable mention goes to the crème brûlée. It’s quite shallow, meaning every mouthful is filled with the crunchy caramelized sugar, juxtaposed with the creamy custard. Coupled with a sip of hot latte, and life is good! I seriously could not get up towards the end. I simply couldn’t. My tummy had inflated to sizes I’d only previously seen on pregnant women… not a good sign at all!

Choco moose, Creme brulee, Bread and Butter Pudding and some ice cream
The succulent bread and butter pudding

Should I even mention the dessert over at Lucky? They also had the bread and butter pudding, and it tasted like neither bread nor butter. The apple crumble was good- went great with the soft serve ice cream. Then there’s a whole host of cakes and the obligatory green jelly. I was happy with the apple crumble ice cream mix I made.

I love these- pastry over a bowl of seafood soup

The ice cream/apple crumble/bread n butter at Lucky

All in all I truly think that we human beings should never be pampered with the good life. Once you’ve tasted honey, it becomes increasingly difficult to go back to sugar. I remember not 5 years ago I would’ve been completely satisfied with the Lucky Buffet offering. But now? Thanks to the likes of Masterchef and Twitter, my horizon has broadened substantially, and this could mean only one thing- my waistline expanding exponentially relative to my horizon…

1 comment:

The Sydney Tarts said...

Think I'm ill just reading this LOL.