The buffet is a divisive topic here at Tatler Towers. While some openly turn their noses up at the wanton display of gluttony and unnecessary excess that often shadows an all-you-can-eat, there are others that are a little more forgiving—and strategic—when it comes to this lavish style of dining where the world is your oyster.
Aside from the very obvious benefit of never leaving guests hungry, the buffet, to us, is the great culinary leveller. Imagine the typical assortment of problematic guests you may encounter over dinner: the person who insists on (not) sharing everything, say, or the chancer who suggests everybody split the bill evenly despite having ordered the wagyu with its HK$300 supplement. Or the connection we all have who is invariably fashionably late to dinner proceedings, leaving everyone else who had deigned to be on time frightfully famished. The solution to all of these? A buffet, where what you see is what you get.
See also: Tatler's Guide To Buffet Etiquette
So yes, there is every reason to love a good buffet – the best present a vibrant spread and thought out platters of well presented delights that neither sweat nor wilt under the glare of a heat lamp or collapse into an unattractive heap. The very finest offer either focused themes with specialty items, or a thrilling diversity of dishes—we have no patience for those meddling in the middle of this culinary spectrum. In a city full of buffet restaurants, here are the ones that are worth your time and stomach space.
While the word buffet may often be maligned, not every restaurant offering it means that guests are made to suffer an uncivilised bun fight; even your picky mother-in-law would be hard-pressed to sniff at the array offered at The Verandah, with its tasteful furniture and artful sashimi display.
Save room for: The complimentary freshly-baked soufflé at the end of the meal; ours, served with a tart mango and passionfruit sauce, was textbook perfect with an ethereally light texture.
Price: Ranges from HK$480 per adult for the weekday lunch buffet to HK$798 for the weekend dinner buffet.
When The Market first opened in Hotel Icon back in 2011, the waiting time to get a table was at least a few months—longer than for some of the city’s five-star hotel restaurants; today, you’ll still need to plan ahead for at least a month. The Market’s USP is its rich selection of seafood and South-East Asian dishes, from noodles to Indian curries.
Save room for: This iconic buffet restaurant serves one of the best laksas in town. The dessert station is also where The Market stands out from its competitors. Durian lovers can sample a selection of durian desserts all year-round.
Price: Ranges from HK$338 per adult for a weekday lunch buffet to HK$698 for a weekend buffet dinner. See the full price list here. From June 1-30, 2017, diners can save 15% off the buffet by booking through Chope below with the promotion code BDAY.
Hong Kong’s only 360-degree rotating buffet restaurant is another difficult one to book, but is worth the effort for the one-of-a-kind views and top execution when it comes to selections such as dim sum, roast meats and fresh seafood. The split-level, circular layout of the space can be a little confusing for first timers, but soon you’ll be making the rounds with ease. An impressive wine selection, easily dispensed from the WineEmotion enomatic machine, is another plus.
Save room for: The seafood room is undoubtedly the most popular station, with its selection of freshly-shucked oysters and lobsters. Don’t miss the steamed live prawns from the Asian section, however, which are only available during the dinner buffet.
Price: Ranges from HK$298 per adult for the weekday lunch buffet to HK$708 for the weekend dinner buffet.
Ever since its revamp in 2016, the Grand Hyatt’s iconic Grand Café has been earning raves. Not only is the popular all-day venue the hotspot for one of the city’s best Hainanese chicken rice, but it has also updated its buffet with international gourmet items as well as themed cuisines. Grand Café serves a generous American breakfast buffet seven days a week, together with a celebrated dinner buffet, turning out Chinese barbecues, Italian pastas, composed salads and impressive desserts.
Save room for: The impressive selection of fresh shellfish on ice.
Price: Ranges from HK$658 per adult for the for weekday dinner buffet to HK$698 for the weekend dinner buffet.
The Place is the all-day dining establishment at Cordis Hong Kong and is a family favourite when it comes to buffets. The recent makeover ensures an inviting design with natural light and an open gallery for the buffet selection, from appetisers and salads to seafood and mains.
Save room for: The restaurant’s signature three-meter wide seafood bar, which showcases seasonal catches and jet-fresh seafood. Another highlight of the buffet is the rich array of dim sum on offer, straight from the hotel’s celebrated Chinese restaurant Ming Court.
Price: Ranges from HK$318 per adult for the weekday lunch buffet to HK$638 for the weekend dinner buffet. From June 1-30, 2017, diners can save 20% off the buffet by booking through Chope below with the promotion code BDAY.
Arguably the best seafood-themed buffet in town, Harbourside at InterContinental Hong Kong is a buffet lover’s paradise, especially for those who love seafood. Guests can stroll through a linear food gallery, with live cooking stations one after the other, as well as a stellar selection of classic dishes such as Peking duck, Chinese dim sum, and a healthy salad bar. One must not miss the display of seafood at the cold seafood station, where halved lobsters are stacked high together with platters of prawns, crab claws and a rich selection of Japanese sashimi. We suggest sharing some of the popular food offerings and save room for bite-sized desserts and excellent French pastries and cakes.
Save room for: The nourishing Chinese soup (which change frequently, but may include double-boiled chicken soup with fish maw) is a fantastic foil between rich courses. Keep your ears open for the chime of the xylophone, which indicates the arrival of freshly baked mini chocolate soufflés or other specials of the day.
Price: Ranges from HK$448 per adult for a weekday lunch buffet to HK$868 for the dinner buffet (Monday to Sunday).
Café on M
One of the most popular buffets in Kowloon, and one with live cooking stations throughout. Seating here tends to be a little more snug than our other picks (ask for a seat on the mezzanine for more breathing space) but the food more than makes up for it. We are particularly impressed with the establishment’s excellent execution of buffet staples as well as their freshly shucked oysters. There is often a section dedicated to the restaurant’s monthly special promotion, such as nostalgic Hong Kong flavours, bringing back forgotten flavours and revamping them with new twists.
Save room for: Look out for the roasted suckling pig, which draws long lines when it emerges from the rotisserie, but boasts gorgeously crispy skin and juicy meat that is worth the scrum. The freshly-shucked oyster station is also incredibly popular.
Price: Ranges from HK$358 per adult for a weekday lunch buffet to HK$658 for a weekend dinner buffet.
The Clipper Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental knows how to do a buffet right, and the selection of fine items featured throughout the square dining space within the hotel are of an exceptional quality. While dinner buffets are popular, we are particularly impressed with the lounge’s daily breakfast buffet, where guests can start with fresh juices, fruits and cereals, unlimited refill of greens from the salad bar and the city’s most revered selection of baked goods made from the same kitchen that turns out breads, cakes, and pastries for the Mandarin Cake Shop. Sunday Brunch also takes on a full-buffet format, with more Asian-inspired items on offer, including Japanese sushi and sashimi, a soba noodle station and various Chinese hot courses. The dessert spread also covers classics such as rum savarin, baked apricot tart, cherry trifle and various chocolate truffles.
Save room for: The Mandarin Oriental’s famed roast prime rib of beef, served with some of the most legit Yorkshire puddings in town.
Price: Ranges from HK$588 per adult for the weekday dinner buffet or Sunday brunch buffet to HK$628 for the weekend dinner buffet.
Stylishly designed with contemporary artistic flair, W Hotel’s Kitchen restaurant takes on a contemporary bistro setting where you can unwind over drinks and enjoy the wide array of gourmet items from charcuterie to cheeses, composed salads to freshly grilled meats from the carvery station. Kitchen’s Sunday brunch also features a special healthy food and drink offerings for those with wellness in mind.
Save room for: The charcuterie and cheese selection.
Price: Ranges from HK$318 per adult for the weekday lunch buffet to HK$678 for the weekend dinner buffet.
Kitchen, 1/F W Hong Kong, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 3717 2222; www.w-hongkong.com
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