In this world of excess I would like to take you through some do’s and don’ts when confronted with a buffet. As the holiday season approaches I hope you will find my words of some use.
Actually the trick is not to go big on the first visit. Pace yourself … pace yourself … pace yourself.
Be calm and cool. Walk casually glancing but note contents at each station. Don’t show signs of commitment even if the displays are magnificent and enticing. It’s a negotiation between your head, eyes and stomach.
Forget about the principle of a three course meal. Buffet eating is when the number of courses should not be mentioned.Haven’t you heard “what happens at the buffet table stays at the buffet table”.
Also don’t limit yourself by being choosy .. “I’m having Indian , Italian, salad or pizza ….” No no no. Buffet is the one time when you can mix and match cuisines with ease and without judgement. Pizza and curry – why not? To make it more interactive there are often chefs at each of these stations – the Indian guy making fresh naans, the Italian (🤔) making pizza, the Arabic guy arranging the Middle East table etc etc. I for one believe (or am I dreaming again) that the nationalities of the food and chef are “matchy matchy”. Then there is the head honcho wondering around making sure that not a bean, a prawn or lettuce leaf are out of place and playing their part in this show.
To give you an example to get you buffet ready ;
Starter: flat bread, hummus, tatziki, cucumber, carrot, popadom, salad
Mains: naan, Kashmiri pilau rice, okra curry, chickpeas, paneer & peas, popadom , raita
Desserts (note plural form): fruit, baklava,pear tart, – avoid the chocolate fountain unless you want to be splashed by the giggly girls experimenting with various food and their chocolate applications !!
Option 2 (see the seafood theme)
Starter :prawns, mussels smoked salmon fish and salad
Mains : South Indian fish curry, fish Biryani , grouper and nan bread
Desserts : baklava , fruit,
Drinks: wine , beer , coffee and water
I am sure they use stylists at these buffets. Each one looks like a piece of artwork and who wants to be the first to put a great big ladle or knife through it.And that dessert counter or should I say counters. Which wonderful chef created that. That trauma at the end of a meal where you can’t choose one single pudding, gone in a swish. No sharing needed. And perfect for me to try a bit of everything. 😱
Don’t be complacent though, watch out for
⁃ the people who pile their plates so high that they can’t remember what was on the bottom layer. They will get their money’s worth!!
⁃ The naughty kids at the ice cream station who can’t stop the ice cream from flowing.
⁃ The people who don’t know how to queue at the omelette station ! I’m not calling out the nationalities — you know who you are and don’t want to start a diplomatic incident….. When you do get to the front make sure you don’t faff and ruin the flow .
⁃ Those children running around making it a dangerous assault course. 😂
⁃ Mistakenly using a large plate for the starters. Hmmmm we don’t do that do we?
⁃ Bad timing, you don’t want to be that person standing waiting for one thing that’s being replenished.
⁃ That one person who wants a guided tour of the whole buffet- I think this is just delaying tactics because they are confused and overwhelmed.
Now that you’ve ready don’t get lulled into some false sense of security if you arrive at a themed buffet. It is out to get you . They will squeeze in flavours and options that will make you raise your eyebrows. Go with it … buffets are a perfect place for experimentation.
Food priority is an area to consider. Especially for those that eat everything. Why would you put cucumber 🥒 (love cucumber btw) on your plate if you could put prawns 🍤 or lobster 🦞? Don’t fill up on bread, it’s easily done with the mountain display of tempting shapes, flavours and seeded options. Then they throw in rolls and flatbreads. Slowly walk past and acknowledge this carb feature or if you must take some for one person. You are not sharing tonight -reminder.
And if all options fail (as it sometimes does for me) play the I am a vegetarian card “really disappointed with the choice you have amongst all this wonderful… no I don’t want to have salad again for £££. Yes that would be very kind of chef. Yes if he could make it spicy that would be lovely.”😬 Smile graciously and thank generously- how many nights are you here ?!?!?!
Be careful in those restaurants. It may be prudent, no absolutely necessary to have another person with you. But make sure that the other isn’t my hubby – a buffet tart! No dear I don’t have any tablets – no I didn’t keep a track of how many courses you had. “Did I drink too much as well?” Imagine my rolling eyes 🤦🏽♀️.
No need to make eye contact with the waiting staff… they’ve seen worse. Remind yourself that you are not greedy and it was in the contract to taste as many foods as possible. It would be rude not to …surely ?