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In the course of my life to date, the appeal of a buffet spread has changed over time. As a child, a dining experience at ANY all-you-can-eat restaurant was practically like Christmas come early. Nowadays, not so much. Many of the very same restaurants that had me jumping for joy during my childhood days now have me running in the opposite direction, away from the far-from-fresh, oil-laden foods. However there remains some decent buffet restaurants out there and one of them is China Bar Signature Asian Buffet. Touted as Melbourne’s largest Asian buffet, their selection of food is quite extensive indeed. Selection, check. Quantity, check (it’s a buffet!) As for quality, very decent and more so than most of the other buffet restaurants. Admittedly, the price tag is a little heftier but worth it if you’re after both quantity and quality.
Rather than write a ridiculously and seemingly endless post reviewing EVERY single item I touched, I thought I’d just post the photos. Besides, a photo is worth a 1000 words right? Enjoy.
Views of the interior.
The salad/cold selections.
Yum cha selections - dumplings, egg tarts and all things prawn!
Japanese selections - Japanese salads and sushi. (Sashimi available during dinner time)
More yum cha and Malaysian hawker foods.
A sweet, sweet ending: dessert! Oh, and fruits too for the healthy-conscious.
The desserts were quite petite-sized, which means stomach space to sample more goods.
Cheese, bread and olive selections.
BRIE. AND BLUE CHEESE. I’m not a fan of blue cheese but the capital letters were used to emphasize how amazed I was to see such good-quality cheese up for grabs.
China Bar Signature Asian Buffet (CBD)
222 Exhibition St,
Melbourne CBD, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9988 7778
When eating with a larger group of people, it’s always much easier to dine at an all-you-can-eat venue. Or in this case, an all-you-can-order. As a child, I LOVED buffets. Eat as much chips, fried goodies, ice cream and cakes as you please? Yes please. As a teenager, I still loved them. Nowadays? Not so much. But it’s been over a year since my last buffet experience and so this was a nice change of pace. Rae decided on Yar, a Japanese and Korean restaurant, for her birthday dinner.
Wooden ceiling fans, wooden chairs and tables, green plants and an expansive view of the outside world made for what seemed like a very eco-friendly restaurant. The bright sunlight streaming in from the outside added to this effect.
Possibly down to the fact that we were in such a large group, the first of our orders did take a while to come out. I was super hungry by the time they brought this out that it probably tasted better than it really was… Nothing special about the taste but given the oily batter used, it was quite filling.
Spicy tofu - deep fried cubes of tofu, with a spicy sauce.
Hmmm, I don’t think you should call a dish spicy when the ‘spicy’ sauce is sweet chilli sauce. The tofu was very similar to agedashi tofu, but with a slightly more crisp outside. Yum!
Spring rolls - pork and chicken spring rolls.
Japchae - stir fried sweet potato noodles.
Vegetarian california roll
Raw salmon salad - mesculin salad with raw salmon.
More salad than salmon. But given my aversion to raw fish, I wasn’t complaining.
Prawn tempura - lightly battered prawns.
Soft shell crab roll (on the right), Prawn tempura roll (on the left).
Close up of the sushi rolls.
Vegetarian Dolsot Bib Bim Bap - rice covered with naemul (marinated vegetables) and tofu, an egg yolk & chilli paste in a hot stone ball.
Chicken teriyaki - grilled chicken, with teriyaki sauce.
Spicy pork - grilled Korean style pork (mild)
Sweet chilli chicken - deep fried chicken, with sweet chilli sauce.
Given the other food posts that I have to get around to writing, I thought I’d keep this one short half way through writing it. Overall the quality of the food was quite decent but nothing spectacular. The taste was definitely on par with the food you get at any decent Japanese or Korean restaurants. If you’re with a smaller group of people and couldn’t decide between the different Japanese or Korean dishes, the buffet option is value for money!
YAR Japanese & Korean Restaurant & Bar
2 Queensbridge Square,
Southbank Melbourne, Victoria, 3006.
(03) 9699 3556
It’s been a while since I’ve last come face to face with an all-you-can-eat challenge but alas we met again at a friend’s birthday held at an all-you-can-eat Thai restaurant Ing Doi. On a Saturday night, they hold two sessions: from 6pm to 8pm and 8pm to 10pm.
Roti bread, served with peanut sauce.
It tasted like what you would expect roti bread to taste like but would have tasted better than mediocre if the texture had been fluffier.
Fried tofu, served with sweet chilli sauce.
Very nice to eat with rice and a combination of other things. Slightly bland on its own. Luckily for us, a lot of our dishes came out at the same time.
A selection of entrees - Thai fish cakes, deep fried fish balls and spring rolls.
The entrees were all delicious. The Thai fish cakes were standard but the deep fried fish balls and spring rolls were surprisingly good. I usually don’t expect much from non-Vietnamese spring rolls. They did not taste like the typical Vietnamese ones, but were still tasty in a different way. So much fried ‘goodness’ on a plate…
Deep fried prawns in coconut batter, served with sweet chilli sauce.
I could not taste the coconut in this but the crumbed texture was very crisp. Much more crisp than Japanese tempura prawn. Mmmm…
Grilled salmon, cooked in a creamy red curry sauce.
Due to my aversion to seafood, I didn’t try this but the seafood eaters had no complaints about the dish.
Pad Thai - Thai style fried rice noodles with prawns, tofu, dried shrimp, peanuts and bean shoots.
Tasty pad thai. Perfection with a hint of zestiness from the lemon juice squeezed on top. My tummy just made a noise as I just typed that last sentence so it was that great!
Tom Yum soup - famous spicy Thai soup cooked with lemon grass, lime leaves, lime juice, chilli and mushrooms.
Another dish that was well done (they kept on coming!). The soup had the right balance of sourness to spiciness. The flavouring tasted authentic and not MSG-laden. Add some rice with the soup and I could probably finish a whole bowl on my own. Mmmm…
Thai green curry - traditional hot Thai green curry cooked in coconut milk with green curry paste and vegetables.
Struggle town kicked in at some point before they brought out the thai green curry so this dish was left in practically the same state as it was brought out. I had two spoonfuls and it was good. Typical.
It was served in some sort of medieval-like dish and conveyed a sense of epic’ness. What I thought anyway.
Deep fried banana in batter served with ice cream and honey.
I tried a little bit. The batter was slightly too oily for my liking but the banana and ice cream was good.
Mixed ice creams.
Epic. Seriously epic. From left to right: mint chocolate, chocolate, green tea ice creams and strawberry and lemon sorbet. We polished off most of it between 5 of us.
I wasn’t expecting much when I accepted the invite but dinner turned out to be a surprisingly tasty affair. What made the food even better was that it wasn’t food sitting around in bain-maries but rather freshly made (an order-as-much-as-you-can-stomach system). Each dish tasted authentically Thai, their menu was super extensive and the quality was on par with any other good Thai restaurant. At $29.95 per person, it’s a bargain price to pay to eat Thai to your heart’s content.
73 Victoria Parade,
Collingwood, Victoria, 3066.
Friday 14th October 2011.
I met up with thehouseofem and chugasm for a spot of food before embarking on my first drinking adventure in quite some time. Originally on the agenda were $7 wagyu burgers. Which then changed to Indian food. Which then changed to Korean BBQ. Scratch that, Korean BBQ BUFFET. It was going to be interesting…
So much meat… We managed an additional plate of meat after these two. Most of the meats were very nicely marinated. If we were going to end up reeking of meat (which was unavoidable) at least it was good smelling and tasting meat. The tastes of the meats were further accentuated by the different sauces available.
Among the plethora of meats were other assortments. These were the other foods we managed to fit: Japchae (sweet potato noodles), crispy spicy chicken, kimchi pancakes, spring rolls, sushi, tempura prawn, egg roll and two other varieties of chicken. They all tasted surprisingly decent for buffet quality food. The sweet potato noodles were very tasty and possibly my favourite selection on the night.
Overall, the quality really wasn’t bad for a buffet. Though we definitely did not eat $40 worth of food each, it may have worked out anyway because the different meats usually cost around $20 each at other restaurants. Personally, it was a meat overdosing experience for me. I’m not the biggest fan of meat to begin with so I could really feel the ‘heaviness’. The last time my taste buds encountered Korean BBQ was all the way back in 2008 and I’m pretty sure if I recall correctly, I felt the same feelings after that meal too. It’s probably safe to assume that there’s a good chance I won’t be having Korean BBQ until the year 2014.
On another note, their vodka lemonade was horrible. More vodka then lemonade for my liking. Blegh!
146 - 148 Little Bourke Street,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.