“ Address: 1 St Johns Place / Perth / Scotland / PH1 5SZ / Tel: Tel: 01738 441383 „
Perth is a favourite meeting place for me and a friend given that it is roughly 40 minutes drive from both of our houses so an ideal central meeting point. We were planning on spending the weekend together and decided to meet up for a pizza and watch a film on Friday evening, when we got to the pizza place we had chosen we were told we would have to wait for a table so we decided to wander around and see what other restaurants we could find. Perth city centre has a good choice of restaurants and we rejected the idea of French food (too heavy and lack of veggie options), pizza express (too bland) and a nice looking Italian (too expensive) before my friend remembered the Chinese restaurant we had spotted behind St Johns church when we had managed to get lost looking for the art gallery a few weeks earlier. Centro Oriental is just a couple of minutes walk from the pedestrianised High Street set down one of the many winding little side streets.
Upon entering the restaurant we were seated immediately and because it was quiet at around 6:30pm we got to choose a nice corner table, the dining area filled up as time went on and it is obviously a popular place. The dining room is on two levels, the smaller downstairs area beside the door has around 10 tables while there is more than double this amount upstairs. The restaurant has obviously been recently refurbished and the old building with high ceilings now has floor to ceiling mirrors on one wall and wooden floors and nice tables with comfy leather chairs to sit at.
Our drinks orders were taken immediately by a friendly Polish waitress and then it was time to hit the buffet. The buffet is situated along one wall with separate hot and cold sections containing a delicious array of tasty morsels to choose from. You could see into the kitchens which are behind the buffet carts and they looked nice and clean which is always reassuring when you are eating out and the chefs dressed in white regularly replenished the food so it was all nice and fresh.
I immediately went to the section containing seafood and filled my plate with huge succulent lightly grilled prawns still in their shells, calamari and enormous meaty mussels and vegetables in sauce. I adore seafood especially prawns and it is rare to see it in a buffet as it is so expensive and is also very difficult to cook properly without leaving it like rubber but this seafood was perfectly done. My friend went for a healthier salad with a very non-Chinese mix of coleslaw, potato salad and salad veg and my daughter boringly went for chicken balls, fried rice and lemon sauce.
Time for main courses now and I had enjoyed my prawns so much that I went up and had a couple more. I normally adore the starters in a Chinese buffet but here there was just so many choices that I left the spring rolls, onion rings and ribs alone. I had some Malaysian spiced green beans, some delicately spiced and carved pork, a couple of battered mushrooms, a spoonful of sticky lemon chicken and a beef dish along with a tiny portion of noodles. My vegetarian friend found several dishes which she could eat but said it was not the best choice she had ever seen and my fussy daughter went for some more chicken balls this time with some chips to go with them.
The desserts at buffets are often lacking but what Centro's puddings lack in imagination or diversity of choice they make up in the quality stakes. My daughter went for a huge slab of chocolate cake with some cream while I was aware that I had overindulged on the previous two courses so filled a bowl with fresh strawberries, grapes and melon. This healthy eating was spoiled a bit when I went back and got a bowl of banana fritters and doused them in syrup but at least I did think of my health for a minute!
The bill came to £46 for dinner on a Friday evening for three including the £12.99 charge for each of our buffet meals and four soft drinks, I thought the drinks prices were reasonable as it means three fresh orange and sodas and a small coke came to around £7. The buffet prices will change depending on when you visit and you will pay less for a meal at lunchtime or a weekday evening.
Centro Buffet is my new favourite buffet restaurant, we used to eat in City Buffet in Perth occasionally but the standards slipped and I am happy we have found a new restaurant in Perth we like. The prices for food are higher than I have been charged anywhere else but it is well worth paying a few pounds extra for good quality food and a nice atmosphere. The food was good with an impressive choice of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, the service attentive and the atmosphere relaxed and friendly which is exactly what I am looking for in a restaurant.
1 St Johns Place, Perth, PH1 5SZ
Tel: 01738 441383