Ah... the glorious creation that is buffets... all you can eat, all you can drink, all you can regret later...
I've always enjoyed a good buffet. As long as it has variation, I willingly enjoy chowing down on the heap loads of food up until my stomach is near to exploding, but post-buffet fever is almost always going to happen - you know, the moaning and groaning, slow paced walking and the regret of eating as much as you did. But if this doesn't happen, how do you know you got your value for money?
There's a certain structure you should go by when going to a buffet. Here's a little list of rules to make the most of everything at a buffet:
- Start with seafood. Fish and all those delicious crustaceans tend to be light and take longer to fill you up compared to meat and poultry. If you want to eat as much as you can, enjoy the seafood first. Starting with the lighter foods leaves more room for the heavier dishes.
- Avoid eating the "starters". Like I said, the starters are quite heavy and can be avoided being eaten since they're no different to frozen food you get from Asda, but you don't need to avoid them if you don't want to... just don't have them as starters.
- Take small portions. Instead of taking large quantities of each dish, take small amounts - you're not really going to eat that much of the same dish, are you? Besides you need to try them first; go back for seconds if you loved it that much!
- Drink sips of water in between plates, or even in between bites when the limit is very, very close. Avoid drinking fizzy drinks because they will definitely bloat you and stop you from eating all that lip-smacking food. If, like JRC, they have an unlimited drinks section, try the drinks after eating your meal.
- Still got that one dish to try but starting to get full? Eat an orange wedge! Oranges are good for detox so having a wedge or two might just open up a space for that last dish you haven't tried yet. If you're not into oranges, a few grapes or melon pieces may just do the trick.
- Take a rest. There's only so much your stomach can take in one go, so take a rest and have a chat with the company you're with.
If you really want to try everything at a buffet and enjoy it at the same time, I guarantee you these rules will help you. Of course, if you're a frequent at the buffet restaurant and already know what tickles your fancy, then by all means devour your favourites!
We took the trip down to JRC Global Buffet in Watford for my mum's birthday; of course we wanted to take advantage of their free of charge buffet meal for a birthday celebrant, I mean... FREE BUFFET! It may look small from the outside, but once you go inside and up the stairs, a grand, dimly lit lobby welcomes you. You pay before you go in and as you're led to your seat, you pass the pleasing comfort food of the Italian, Spanish and American cuisines. Further along the aisle the exotic, colourful look of the Indian food starts to catch your attention until you find yourself bombarded by the delights of spicy Thai food, aromatic Chinese dishes and the pleasingly elaborate Japanese cuisine. So many flavours, so little space. All of this lovely food for around £18 a head... yikes! Save this one for a special occasion, folks.I have to say, JRC is probably the best buffet I've eaten at to date. The food was as good as a buffet could get with variations of meat and fish dishes to choose from - they even had swordfish! Any buffet with a variation of seafood has my heart - seafood is expensive, you know! You could see the chefs making the food in each section, meaning the food was freshly cooked and always stayed hot. To my delight they had different types of dim sum, including sweet jujube that I had never tasted before and shrimp dim sums, which I LOVE (pictured above).
The JRC Global Buffet experience
Unfortunately buffets have their negatives, one being quality. Because of the large quantities chefs have to make, buffet food can almost never be perfect. A lot of the meat and fish were overcooked despite how tasty the dishes were, specifically the Indian fish curry which was far too tender. I was particularly upset about the shrimp being overcooked just because I love shrimp. There also wasn't any squid dishes that peaked my interest... sigh. But life went on. Eating went on.
I definitely enjoyed dessert. They had scrumptious treats like creme brûlée, rocky road, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate fudge, and even a green tea and red bean cheesecake - all bitesize so you could try them all! Dessert at a buffet isn't complete without jelly and fruits, as well as ice cream and maybe even a chocolate fountain. It did not disappoint, especially that creme brûlée in all it's bitter, burnt caramel perfection... SO. YUMMY.
Safe to say when going to a buffet, eating turns into a sport. There's no shame in this though because what's the point in going to a buffet if you didn't want to stuff your face? It's eat all you can so eat all you can... and more!