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What's Your Favourite Flavourz?
Flavourz Buffet Restaurant (Oldbury, West Midlands)
Member Name: chrisandmark
Flavourz Buffet Restaurant (Oldbury, West Midlands)
Advantages: Excellent food, fantastic surroundings, (mainly) attentive staff, reasonable prices
Disadvantages: There isn't a massive selection of childrens food available
Flavourz is a buffet-style restaurant located in Oldbury; specialising in Chinese, Indian, Mexican and Italian food I decided to treat my mum to lunch after spotting that it taken over the building of my favourite pub of yesteryear.
We were seated as soon as we entered the building and a high chair was brought over for my son, my first impression of the staff was that they were friendly and efficient and this was reinforced throughout our meal. All members of staff were smartly dressed, tidy and well groomed with pleasant personalities - they checked with us at various points during our meal that things were going well, but were never intrusive.
The buffet is laid out by country in a very large area which takes up a quarter of the floor space within the main dining section. The lunchtime selection isn't as huge as in the evening, but there's still (literally) tonnes of food to choose from - in fact the first time I went up I was overwhelmed by the choice and ended up wandering around in confusion for a few minutes! The wonderful smells soon pulled me together however and within a few minutes I was tucking into a plate of delicious Chinese food, or more precisely battered Sweet & Sour Chicken, Pork Yuk Sung, Spring Rolls and Onion Rings. I ate far too much during our visit to list it all, but without exception the food was delicious - to be honest I dislike Mexican food so the only thing from that cuisine I sampled were some tortilla chips, although mum ate her favourite Chilli Con Carne and said it was perfect.
The choice of Italian food wasn't huge; aside from pizza, pasta and olives there was very little to choose from from this region. I suspect Flavourz listed Italian food just so they could serve their (excellent) pizzas, so if you are a huge Italian food fan you may find the selection lacking. The Chinese side of things probably had the widest selection; starters, main courses and 'snacky' foods being plentiful and varied enough to satisfy everyone. Almost every plate of food I ate had a pile of Yuk Sung on it as it was so fresh and delicious tasting, the Egg Fried Rice is also worth a mention as it was fluffy and perfectly cooked - I was drooling at the sight of some extremely sticky looking BBQ Ribs but unfortunately I'd had dental work the previous day so didn't risk it!
The Indian selection was mainly in the form of large vats of curry (the Lamb Curry being delicious but very hot, despite the 'mild/medium' label) and various accompaniments such as Naan bread, Onion Bahjee and Samosas. The Naan bread was fantastic, I'm not sure why but I hadn't expected them to be as good as in my local Indian takeaway - it turned out they were better; fluffy with a slight garlic tinge and perfect for mopping up the sauce from the various curries available.
There's a section where the chefs will cook raw food for you; here you have a choice of a noodle dish, pasta or a pizza made from your selection of toppings. I had a plate of noodles, prawns and mushrooms and it was delicious. Cooked in around three minutes, the chef asked if I wanted it spicy (I didn't) then expertly dipped his ladle into a variety of spices and liquids to create a wonderfully fresh hot meal.
My son, at fourteen months, was reasonably well catered for with breaded chicken dinosaurs, prawn crackers and some incredibly tender Beef in Black Bean Sauce. The dinosaurs were actually the only thing I could see that was specifically for children, although from the main selection I'd guess that any small appetite would be happy. There was a little girl on the next table and she seemed happy with a seemingly never ending selection of Chinese munchies, while I know my own four year old would have devoured the pizza and noodle dishes.
I'm not a pudding person, but craved something sweet after my meal(s) so headed over to the desert section. Here you have a counter with a choice of around ten flavours of ice cream, you can't serve yourself to this but a member of staff was waiting in the vicinity to provide dishes of ice cream to anyone who wanted it. Sauces are plentiful and there's a huge selection of sweets to top your ice cream - now, for me March is far too wintery for ice cream so I opted for jelly and a selection of small creamy cakes and mousses. If you fancy being healthy there is a decent choice of fresh fruit including some intricately shaped melon slices and huge grapes, all of which looked fresh and of the highest quality. Everything I sampled was perfect - although I did have a sneaking suspicion that the posh looking mousse was actually Butterscotch Angel Delight!
The atmosphere inside Flavourz was pleasant and conductive to a nice meal. We were in the building for around two hours and the only thing I can complain about is the fact that the staff were slightly too speedy to take our dirty plates away, at one point removing my sons before he had finished eating! At his young age that wasn't an issue, but my mum got annoyed when they removed her cutlery along with her plate and left her with nothing other than her fingers to eat her next plate of food with - this was quickly sorted out and apologies freely given, but mum was not happy at all! Drinks are brought to your table, or you can visit the well stocked bar to see the selection. As we were both driving that day we had Coke but the range of spirits and beers was excellent, including some Indian and Chinese options to compliment the food choices. A lady at another table was sipping a wonderful looking Lassi and I was fuming that I hadn't noticed these before paying my bill as the aroma of mango was so strong I could smell it even through the mish-mash of food aromas!
The building itself is beautiful. I remember this place as the Birmingham-famous Hen & Chickens pub - I had plenty of good nights in there, but the place was always shabby looking. It's amazing the difference a change of ownership makes as Flavourz is pristine clean, well decorated in airy neutral tones and filled with well chosen art pieces that define the countries whose cuisines you are eating. Tables are spaced out well so you never feel as though you are 'too close' to other diners, and there are a good selection of table sizes to choose from so whatever size party you're visiting with seating won't be a problem. For evening dining you're advised to book in advance, and I would second that as even at lunchtime the place soon filled up to the point where there were only two or three unoccupied tables by the time we had finished our meals. Everything is completely accessible for disabled visitors from the roomy disabled parking spaces near the door, to the fact that everything is all on one level so suitable for wheelchair users. In fact during our visit a group of people came in who were patently from the residential unit down the road and it was fantastic to see them treated so well by the staff, their carers had their hands full so a staff member hovered nearby in case he was needed - at one point helping a profoundly disabled lady to eat her noodles, no mean feat when I (as an able bodied person) dropped half of mine down my front!
My only irritation regarding our visit to Flavourz came as I paid the bill, when the member of staff thought I was lying about my sons age. Oh, she didn't actually use the 'L' word but she obviously didn't believe he was under four and therefore entitled to eat for free - after having words (he's fourteen months old, a big baby but absolutely could not be mistaken for a school age child!) she went to fetch her manager who laughed when she saw my son, gave the original staff member a brief dressing down and confirmed that he did, of course, eat for free.
I completely recommend Flavourz to anyone who is looking for somewhere 'different' to eat in the Midlands. The variety and quality of all food is excellent, and the tiny daytime price of £6.95 makes it a cheap (but delicious) place to eat. I love buffet restaurants, but this one stands head and shoulders above others I've visited simply because I'm not restricted to one cuisine for the duration of my meal - allowing me to ring the changes and not get bored of eating plate after plate of (for example) Chinese food.
Summary: A delicious place to visit in Oldbury where you have your pick from several different cuisines