“ Address: Queslett Road / Birmingham B43 7TN „
I cant put it any other way this place is ace my whole loves it even my 10 yr old wants his birthday there cant fault the the place in any way
~Buffet Island - Location~
Buffet Island is a chain of Chinese buffet restaurants. The restaurant I will be discussing is the Great Barr restaurant in Birmingham. It is in the outskirts of Birmingham and is easy to find using the Sat Nav. We aren't from the area but could easily locate the restaurant. It was around a 10 minute drive from our hotel which was the Travelodge Birmingham Streetly.
The restaurant offers a spacious car park and bus stops are located nearby. The contact details for the restaurant are as follows :
0121 366 6028
~Opening Times and Prices~
The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.
*Monday - Thursday : 1200-1430 and 1800-2300 (£6.90/£13.90 and £5.00/£8.90 children)
*Friday - Saturday : 1200-1600 and 1800 to 2330 (£6.90/£13.90 and £5.00/£8.90 children)
*Sunday : 12.00-1730 and 1800-2230 (£9.50/£13.99 and £6.50/£8.90 children)
~Exterior and Interior~
From the outside, the restaurant doesn't look anything special - it is a brick building and the restaurant name is visible from a distance. Inside, we were impressed and surprised at how large it actually was. At either end of the restaurant there was a spacious conservatory type area with large windows. Wooden tables filled the various sections of the restaurant allowing space for various sized parties. The restaurant is bright and airy and is finished off with some wall hangings.
We sat in an alcove with padded seating and a round table. We had Pandas on our wall which I thought was unusual! The tables are arranged in such a way where there is enough space for your party to talk without being interupted by fellow diners. There is enough spacious for prams and wheelchairs to be navigated around the restaurant and it is very much open plan and clean throughout. The toilets are located at the far side of the restaurant and I can confirm their cleanliness. Disabled toilets and baby changing are also available.
The buffet area itself is a noticeable as soon as you walk into the restaurant. It is incredibly spacious and very clean. There are various counters dotted around with different food at each. They have arranged it so that the main courses are together, sides together etc. It is a good set up and there is sufficient room for many diners to fill their plates at the same time. One aspect I loved was the huge parcel shaped ornament at the salad section. It was lit up and rotated - it looked very pretty modern.
~Food On Offer~
There is a wide variety of dishes to suit all tastes including children and vegetarians. Starters include various soups, pasta salad, mussels, sushi and even crab sticks. Main courses include a carvery with vegetables and potatoes, various curries, meat in sauces (chicken, pork, duck etc), prawns and even pizza and garlic bread. You can then help yourself to sides such as chips, prawn crackers and pancake rolls. Desserts can be found in two different cabinets and include choices such as chocolate fudge cake, biscuit pudding, cheesecake, jelly and ice cream and even crispy cakes! Crepes can also be made to order.
The drinks list is decent enough and includes various soft drinks, alcopops, beer, hot drinks and spirits from 80p up to a few pounds.
We were greeted warmly and shown to our table quickly. Any staff we experienced were polite and friendly. They didn't linger behind you waiting to sweep your plate away like most buffet restaurants I have dined in. Drinks were brought promptly and dirty plates were cleared in a timely manner. We were given our bill when requested. We were happy with the standard of service.
~Our Buffet Island Experience~
Having stayed in the outskirts of Birmingham for a few days, we were able to experience a few local restaurants to our hotel. Buffet Island was actually recommended by gingelou (thank you) after I asked for nearby recommendations worth trying. We had been at Thomas Land all day and were rather hungry when we returned back to the hotel so decided to try somewhere that the food be on offer there and then. We arrived at half past 6 on a Monday evening and the restaurant was around 50% full.
I wasn't sure of prices before going and we were a little apprehensive of the £13.90 dinner price. Once we went in though and spotted the dishes on offer, we were more relaxed about the price. The waitress asked what age my son was and as he was under 5, he would dine for £5 and not the quoted £8.90. I was pleased as my son isn't the biggest of eaters and couldn't eat nearly £10's worth of grub in one sitting!
When it came to ordering drinks, the waitress was a little confused by my request for Irn Bru. I thought I would chance it as a lot of English restaurants do indeed stock it but it was a lost cause here! I asked if they had Sprite and was met with the same confused look so settled with what everyone else was having. We ended up ordering 4 Pepsi's and a Fruit Shoot.
~Fill Your Plate!~
We were really spoiled for choice when it came to deciding what to have to eat. I love Chinese buffets and this has to be one of the best for offering so many different dishes! The salad display was amazing and featured around 40 different bowls of food - each labelled for your convenience. I decided to start with a salad mixture including cold boiled eggs, baby potatoes in a mayonaise sauce, cold chicken with lettuce and some tomato. I was very impressed by the quality of the food. My fiance decided to try sushi for the first time and loved it. It was presented well and made for a welcome addition to the salad section. My brother in law and his fiancee both opted for soup - chicken noddle and beef and tomato which they enjoyed.
My son had his usual of chips, fried rice, chicken balls and prawn crackers which he enjoyed. I was impressed with the restaurant offering a carvery. The roast of the day was pork which unfortuantely none of our party likes - it did look succulent and tasty though. I couldn't resist having some of the sides for the carvery though and filled a small plate with yorkshire pud, carrots and potatoes with gravy. The yorkie pud was a bit dry but everything else was cooked to perfection.
The main courses do offer something for everyone. I always appreciate a mixture of dishes on my plate (even if it does look a bit weird) and I could pick and choose what I wanted. All the dishes looked appetising and were replenished quickly. My plate consisted of chicken chow mein (vegetable is available), chicken balls, shredded beef, chips, spring roll and a few other bits. I enjoyed my main course mainly though found the spring rolls to be lacking vegetables. Any meat dishes contained a decent quality meat which was cooked well. Everything was hot and fresh tasting. The chow mein was particularly tasty and the shredded beef was nicely seasoned with a peppery flavour. The chips were thick and delicious - perfect for dipping in to the flavoursome sweet and sour sauce.
Others in our party had different dishes. My brother in law had some chicken curry with other bits. I avoided it as it was full of mushrooms - more than what there was chicken. It would have took me too long to source out the chicken! My fiance had some pizza with his meal and found it to be nothing particular special. All plates were cleared and we were all impressed with how tasty the food was mainly. It would have been easy enough to make up a main meal from the salad section too and there was plenty to suit all tastes.
I love desserts so was over the moon to see so much on offer at Buffet Island. The majority of Chinese buffets I have dined in have simply offered two types of gateaux, jelly cubes and ice cream - sometimes fritters of some kind. Buffet Island has all that and more! I couldn't resist filling up a plate with cheesecake, toffee banana ball, coconut pudding and a caramel egg dessert of some sort. I was taken to sweet heaven as I devoured my treasure! I had never tried coconut pudding before but it had a turkish delight texture - quite chewy and soft with a sweet coconut coating. The caramel egg dessert was interesting if a bit dodgy looking. It was like pannacotta and was creamy and sweet.
My son had a small bowl of ice cream and my sister law had some fritters. The men opted for chocolate fudge cake which was pronounced delicious and very moist. I held back from trying the gateaux and cakes as a few looked liked they contained nuts. It was a shame really as the banoffee gateaux did look delicious. The desserts were a big hit with us. I wasn't aware of the crepe option until we were leaving or I would have squeezed one of those in too! I promise, the diet will start next week!
We left Buffet Island full and satisfied. Our bill for 4 adult buffets, one under five buffet, 4 large Pepsi's and a Fruit Shoot came to a reasonable £72.00 which I feel is a fair price for the quality and variation of food on offer. We left a tip and paid by cash.
I can highly recommend Buffet Island for dinner. I'm sure there will be slightly less dishes on offer at lunch time but if you are looking for a tasty meal in the evening, try here. If we are back in the area, this will be our first stop as we really enjoyed our meal.
Thanks for reading :)