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Best of Canberra taste off – Buffets

By Alexandra Craig - 5 October 2015 16

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When I put the call out for the best buffet/all-you-can-eat restaurant in Canberra, I thought I would have received many, many enthusiastic suggestions however I think most people wanted to pitch in about how wasteful buffets can be, and how they cause over-eating.

I can’t comment on the waste side of things, but the overeating thing can be managed. When I went to this week’s top two buffets, I wanted to try a wide variety of what was on offer and this was successfully done without overeating. It’s not too difficult.

The Star Buffet at the Burns Club in Kambah was the most nominated, and there wasn’t a second place. Several people nominated various buffets at the Hyatt, so I decided to pick one and run one with it – I opted for the afternoon tea buffet.

First up, the Star Buffet. Judging by the amount of nominations it received, plus what I’ve heard on the grapevine, I was really looking forward to it. There is a huge range of food here, all sorts of cuisines. From traditional roast meat and veggies, to Asian stirfrys, to cold seafood, to a sushi train, all the way to a giant chocolate fountain. It looked unbelievably good.

Sadly, the food quality was not good. I had two people with me and between our group, we probably sampled 80% of what was on offer and we were very disappointed. Everything seemed really, really overcooked. It wasn’t a case of it sitting there for a long time and overcooking in the bain marie as staff were constantly bringing out new dishes. I think it was overcooked before it made it out to the floor. I did quite like the satay chicken dish though – it had great flavour and lots of vegetables. Everything else was quite dry and tasteless sadly. One bonus was the drink machine that had frozen pink Fanta. Filling up a cup with sugary pink goodness reminded me of being a teenager and going for walks with my friends after school.

I get that the Burns Club has to mass produce food because of the large amount of customers, but I think maybe if they had a slightly reduced amount of variety in dishes, things could be a lot better. The staff at the Burns Club were highly attentive and extremely helpful though, and I think that is a big win – especially when they have literally hundreds of customers to keep an eye on.

On to the Hyatt for Sunday afternoon tea. Despite being partial to scones and jam, I’d never been to the Hyatt – it’s always been on my Canberra ‘to do’ list. I was pretty excited to try it out.

The table set up with the afternoon tea buffet is pretty small, but they somehow cram a huge amount of food onto it without it looking cluttered. Everything is beautifully presented and it just looks divine. No wonder Obama stayed here back in 2011.

We started with savoury food – cucumber sandwiches, spinach and feta pastries, and BBQ chicken wraps. They were all pretty top notch, but those cucumber sandwiches were to die for. Who knew that something so simple could be so delicious.

We moved onto the sweet food after that: scones with jam and cream, pavlova, truffle cake, and fruit tart. There was also lots of little slices, creme brulee, macarons, and fruit pie that I didn’t sample. While everything I tried was lovely, I think I actually preferred the savoury food. Probably the first time in my life this sweet tooth has ever said that!

One thing I wasn’t expecting though, the staff at the Hyatt weren’t very attentive or helpful. We asked for a pot of tea which was brought over but we had to spend a while trying to flag down staff because they forgot the milk. There was also a bellhop who nearly mowed me down twice with the giant luggage rack (both times were not my fault) and he could not have cared less. Pretty disappointing that the staff weren’t great – I expected better.

However, when it comes down to it – the food quality at the Hyatt left the Star Buffet for dead. I’m awarding the Hyatt afternoon tea with the title of best buffet in Canberra.

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
Best of Canberra taste off – Buffets
Dreadnaught1905 4:51 pm 06 Oct 15

rubaiyat said :

3 Things England got right:

Cucumber sandwiches, Watercress sandwiches and Pimms! 🙂

I don’t often wholeheartedly agree with you, rub, but by George I do this time!

Ezy 4:28 pm 06 Oct 15

Maya123 said :

Ezy said :

Alexandra Craig said :

chewy14 said :

rubaiyat said :

“Sadly, the food quality was not good.”

What a surprise!

And that it got so many Best Ofs…on the RiotACT!

It’s an “all you can eat” buffet, what do you expect, foie gras?

And do you think maybe some people factor value for money into their recommendation for these best ofs?

You know, where people compare costs and benefits against their needs, wants and resources rather than just going for the top shelf, most expensive option?

Just because something is cheap, and you get a lot for it, doesn’t mean it’s value for money if what you’re getting is terrible. I didn’t expect anything fancy at all. What I did expect is that the food would have some flavour and not be overcooked. It’s not that much to ask.

You went to a franchise buffet. What you got is exactly what you should have expected. Mass produced all you can eat food where people will stuff their faces silly with food, generate a hell of a lot of waste, yet still make a profit isn’t going to be quality food.

Unfortunately I have eaten at this place for a birthday – I did try to sway this choice, but the child had heard about the chocolate fountain and that was the end of that.

I went on a Wednesday night which I thought was going to be fairly quiet, it was absolutely packed. Now what i noticed was the amount of families here – but most importantly was the ‘size’ of the families. I am going to be brutally honest here… I have never seen as many obese people in one place. It made me terribly sad. Some of the kids were so disconnected, sitting at their table with their iPad in-between running up for the 3rd serve of desert whilst the parents just sat with a blank look on their faces – eating. The kids were so overweight they would come back with very little breath, just by looking at them you could see that these kids were carrying so much extra weight that it didn’t look natural on them and their health was suffering.

It was a really depressing place to be. Places like this where there are no reigns for over indulging – just eat until you feel sick – just highlight how deep in it Australia is.

Reminds me of a restaurant I once visited in the US to attempt to get breakfast. It was wall to wall obese, and worse, morbidly obese people. I had never seen, then or now, so many overweight people in once place. The only two people in the place who were not overweight, was the slim waitress and myself (not even the RSL in Broken Hill had as many obese.). I was shocked! Huge plates of food were being served to these people, and that obscene amount of food was often not sufficient for them, because many ordered extra side dishes too. The food was fatty and unhealthy. In fact, except for the coffee, there was nothing that wasn’t very high in calories that I could order. I ended up ordering one smaller side dish, as that was the lowest in calories I figured there was, but that was fried too. The restaurant was doing a roaring trade, which was scary. These people were eating themselves to death.

Now the scary thing is that it’s all happening on our doorstep.

rubaiyat 3:52 pm 06 Oct 15

Maya123 said :

Reminds me of a restaurant I once visited in the US to attempt to get breakfast. It was wall to wall obese, and worse, morbidly obese people. I had never seen, then or now, so many overweight people in once place. The only two people in the place who were not overweight, was the slim waitress and myself (not even the RSL in Broken Hill had as many obese.). I was shocked! Huge plates of food were being served to these people, and that obscene amount of food was often not sufficient for them, because many ordered extra side dishes too. The food was fatty and unhealthy. In fact, except for the coffee, there was nothing that wasn’t very high in calories that I could order. I ended up ordering one smaller side dish, as that was the lowest in calories I figured there was, but that was fried too. The restaurant was doing a roaring trade, which was scary. These people were eating themselves to death.

Maya you are getting close to sacrilege in these forums! 🙂

The worst of the worst in America is they deep fry everything, including bacon, then they pour mayonnaise over it all. Like fat needs to be on top of fat, needs to be on top of fat. Then they go ape and blame something innocent like bananas or bread or pasta!

We are not that far removed however, simply because so many Australians uncritically pick up America’s worst ideas, and go “Wow, cool!”.

Saw a pair of women in Grill’d that were startlingly to look at. How on earth they wedged themselves into the chairs under the table was the amazing part. How they got the way they were was not.

I can see why people hate the Greens, it starts with their plates.

Charlotte Harper 3:14 pm 06 Oct 15

Clicking “thoroughly approve” on that one!

rubaiyat 2:55 pm 06 Oct 15

rosscoact said :

I have never experienced the delights of a cucumber sandwich. Must remedy that next time some white bread makes its way into the house

3 Things England got right:

Cucumber sandwiches, Watercress sandwiches and Pimms! 🙂

Maya123 2:31 pm 06 Oct 15

Ezy said :

Alexandra Craig said :

chewy14 said :

rubaiyat said :

“Sadly, the food quality was not good.”

What a surprise!

And that it got so many Best Ofs…on the RiotACT!

It’s an “all you can eat” buffet, what do you expect, foie gras?

And do you think maybe some people factor value for money into their recommendation for these best ofs?

You know, where people compare costs and benefits against their needs, wants and resources rather than just going for the top shelf, most expensive option?

Just because something is cheap, and you get a lot for it, doesn’t mean it’s value for money if what you’re getting is terrible. I didn’t expect anything fancy at all. What I did expect is that the food would have some flavour and not be overcooked. It’s not that much to ask.

You went to a franchise buffet. What you got is exactly what you should have expected. Mass produced all you can eat food where people will stuff their faces silly with food, generate a hell of a lot of waste, yet still make a profit isn’t going to be quality food.

Unfortunately I have eaten at this place for a birthday – I did try to sway this choice, but the child had heard about the chocolate fountain and that was the end of that.

I went on a Wednesday night which I thought was going to be fairly quiet, it was absolutely packed. Now what i noticed was the amount of families here – but most importantly was the ‘size’ of the families. I am going to be brutally honest here… I have never seen as many obese people in one place. It made me terribly sad. Some of the kids were so disconnected, sitting at their table with their iPad in-between running up for the 3rd serve of desert whilst the parents just sat with a blank look on their faces – eating. The kids were so overweight they would come back with very little breath, just by looking at them you could see that these kids were carrying so much extra weight that it didn’t look natural on them and their health was suffering.

It was a really depressing place to be. Places like this where there are no reigns for over indulging – just eat until you feel sick – just highlight how deep in it Australia is.

Reminds me of a restaurant I once visited in the US to attempt to get breakfast. It was wall to wall obese, and worse, morbidly obese people. I had never seen, then or now, so many overweight people in once place. The only two people in the place who were not overweight, was the slim waitress and myself (not even the RSL in Broken Hill had as many obese.). I was shocked! Huge plates of food were being served to these people, and that obscene amount of food was often not sufficient for them, because many ordered extra side dishes too. The food was fatty and unhealthy. In fact, except for the coffee, there was nothing that wasn’t very high in calories that I could order. I ended up ordering one smaller side dish, as that was the lowest in calories I figured there was, but that was fried too. The restaurant was doing a roaring trade, which was scary. These people were eating themselves to death.

rubaiyat 1:26 pm 06 Oct 15

chewy14 said :

rubaiyat said :

“Sadly, the food quality was not good.”

What a surprise!

And that it got so many Best Ofs…on the RiotACT!

It’s an “all you can eat” buffet, what do you expect, foie gras?

And do you think maybe some people factor value for money into their recommendation for these best ofs?

You know, where people compare costs and benefits against their needs, wants and resources rather than just going for the top shelf, most expensive option?

Can you taste the “lotsa”?

That’s all you are getting for your money, and you see people piling food on their plates, despite the poor quality.

You can pay the same and less and just get a limited amount of food, well cooked.

Eat less, eat well, even if it is for your health’s sake. There are few people in this country who are starving and none of those are eating from buffets unless it is at the Salvo’s kitchen, and no-one needs the massive amounts of calories.

Like with many things, people think they are getting something for free. They are not, they are just getting a large quantity of cheap rubbish.

chewy14 1:08 pm 06 Oct 15

Alexandra Craig said :

chewy14 said :

rubaiyat said :

“Sadly, the food quality was not good.”

What a surprise!

And that it got so many Best Ofs…on the RiotACT!

It’s an “all you can eat” buffet, what do you expect, foie gras?

And do you think maybe some people factor value for money into their recommendation for these best ofs?

You know, where people compare costs and benefits against their needs, wants and resources rather than just going for the top shelf, most expensive option?

Just because something is cheap, and you get a lot for it, doesn’t mean it’s value for money if what you’re getting is terrible.

And I never said it was.

rosscoact 12:35 pm 06 Oct 15

I have never experienced the delights of a cucumber sandwich. Must remedy that next time some white bread makes its way into the house

Ezy 12:21 pm 06 Oct 15

Alexandra Craig said :

chewy14 said :

rubaiyat said :

“Sadly, the food quality was not good.”

What a surprise!

And that it got so many Best Ofs…on the RiotACT!

It’s an “all you can eat” buffet, what do you expect, foie gras?

And do you think maybe some people factor value for money into their recommendation for these best ofs?

You know, where people compare costs and benefits against their needs, wants and resources rather than just going for the top shelf, most expensive option?

Just because something is cheap, and you get a lot for it, doesn’t mean it’s value for money if what you’re getting is terrible. I didn’t expect anything fancy at all. What I did expect is that the food would have some flavour and not be overcooked. It’s not that much to ask.

You went to a franchise buffet. What you got is exactly what you should have expected. Mass produced all you can eat food where people will stuff their faces silly with food, generate a hell of a lot of waste, yet still make a profit isn’t going to be quality food.

Unfortunately I have eaten at this place for a birthday – I did try to sway this choice, but the child had heard about the chocolate fountain and that was the end of that.

I went on a Wednesday night which I thought was going to be fairly quiet, it was absolutely packed. Now what i noticed was the amount of families here – but most importantly was the ‘size’ of the families. I am going to be brutally honest here… I have never seen as many obese people in one place. It made me terribly sad. Some of the kids were so disconnected, sitting at their table with their iPad in-between running up for the 3rd serve of desert whilst the parents just sat with a blank look on their faces – eating. The kids were so overweight they would come back with very little breath, just by looking at them you could see that these kids were carrying so much extra weight that it didn’t look natural on them and their health was suffering.

It was a really depressing place to be. Places like this where there are no reigns for over indulging – just eat until you feel sick – just highlight how deep in it Australia is.

Alexandra Craig 11:35 am 06 Oct 15

chewy14 said :

rubaiyat said :

“Sadly, the food quality was not good.”

What a surprise!

And that it got so many Best Ofs…on the RiotACT!

It’s an “all you can eat” buffet, what do you expect, foie gras?

And do you think maybe some people factor value for money into their recommendation for these best ofs?

You know, where people compare costs and benefits against their needs, wants and resources rather than just going for the top shelf, most expensive option?

Just because something is cheap, and you get a lot for it, doesn’t mean it’s value for money if what you’re getting is terrible. I didn’t expect anything fancy at all. What I did expect is that the food would have some flavour and not be overcooked. It’s not that much to ask.

BombaySapphire 10:23 am 06 Oct 15

Wow I had the exact same issue when I went to the Hyatt for afternoon tea! The food was delicious but trying to get a drink of ANYTHING was so so hard. Hopefully someone from the Hyatt will read this and start asking their staff to circulate more and ask for drink orders – for the price it seems depressingly difficult.

chewy14 10:19 am 06 Oct 15

rubaiyat said :

“Sadly, the food quality was not good.”

What a surprise!

And that it got so many Best Ofs…on the RiotACT!

It’s an “all you can eat” buffet, what do you expect, foie gras?

And do you think maybe some people factor value for money into their recommendation for these best ofs?

You know, where people compare costs and benefits against their needs, wants and resources rather than just going for the top shelf, most expensive option?

rubaiyat 1:59 am 06 Oct 15

“Sadly, the food quality was not good.”

What a surprise!

And that it got so many Best Ofs…on the RiotACT!

Holden Caulfield 10:43 am 05 Oct 15

Cucumber sarnies are the bomb!

I would have been terribly disappointed if the Hyatt didn’t win this test.

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