“ Type: Chinese & Eastern / Address: 19-25 New Row / Dunfermline / KY12 7EA / Scotland / Tel: 01383 842400 „
Eastern Buffet was the first Chinese buffet restaurant I ever visited, when the first branch opened in Dunfermline's New Row in 2004 Buffet style dining was very much a new concept in the UK. The second restaurant opened in 2007 in the towns Eastern Expansion and it is this one I shall focus on for the review.
Eastern Buffet is set in a really great venue just next to the cinema and other attractions which means that the place is always busy especially at the weekends when people combine having a quick bite to eat and seeing a film. It's a restaurant which is really popular but one which I fail to see the appeal of, I have visited a few times with groups of friends and have always left feeling disappointed.
The restaurant is really spacious with loads of tables crammed in to make as much money as possible. It has the same set up of any other buffet with a series of serving carts with a range of starters, main courses and desserts to choose from. The place lacks any real atmosphere and feels cold and clinical and crammed.
Starters are always my favourite part of the buffet experience and the choice here is slightly lacking with spring rolls, ribs, soup, Indian Samosas and onion rings being the main ones I remembered. There is also a salad cart serving a very European range of salads, beware of the prawn cocktail as I chose this once and took a bite of a huge juicy prawn which had definitely seen better days. I am someone who is exceptionally fussy when it comes to seafood but when I saw someone else spit a prawn out it was the prawns at fault and not my taste buds.
Main courses are a similarly unadventurous affair and considering the size of the restaurant I would have thought they would have been able to offer more choice. The main courses were the old favourites of curry, sweet and sour and noodles and there were far too many chicken dishes made with obviously poor quality chicken and no duck or seafood dishes. There is a reasonable enough range of rices and noodles to accompany your meal too and there are some things like chicken balls and chips which are designed to appeal to the kids. Overall the food was really greasy and not very tasty at all.
Moving on to desserts and we have the usual selection of cakes from the freezer shop, jelly and a fruit salad but also the use of the ice cream machine. Chinese food is not known for its desserts but this was a very average range indeed.
The service in Eastern Buffet is adequate enough, drinks orders are taken politely and plates are cleared away as soon as you finish. Service feels very impersonal like the rest of the restaurant.
Prices for an adult meal are £5.95 for lunch and £10.50 for dinner with under 5's eating free and under 10s for half price. The prices are average for a buffet but the food is below average and I have certainly eaten far better Chinese food elsewhere.
I really don't understand why Eastern Buffet is so popular since the food is below average and the atmosphere bland. The only reason I can see why it is always so busy is the location but there are also better places to eat within walking distance of this restaurant.