“ World Food Buffet / Address: Units 71-72 / The Galleria / Comet Way / Hatfield / Hertfordshire / AL10 0XY / United Kingdom / Tel: 01707 25 99 22 „
After reading emma1973's review of this place the morning before myself and my partner were going to be having lunch there i was a bit worried about whether it was the right thing to be doing, but after going there myself i think she could only have gone on an extremely bad day and i dont think anyone should let this them sway them from trying it. We went on a Saturday lunchtime, arrived around 2.30pm. The place was very busy with only a few spare tables, however we were greeted stright away and taken to a table. We ordered our drinks, and these arrived very promptly even though the place was very busy. We went up to get our food, the first section is called breads, which had garlic bread, pizza, a meat and vegetarian option and chips. the next section was mediterrean and traditional, here they had a nice tomato vegetarian pasta bake, shepards pie, chicken nuggets, fish in a parsley sauce, chicken wings and drumsticks and a few other things. Next was the oriental section, where you had your pramn crackers, sweet and sour chicken and a selection of meat and vegetarian dishes with sauces such as mango chutney, satay sauce etc on the end, where you could also find frenchstick cut into slices. The next section was the salad bar which had a selection of cold pasta, pickled beetroot, tuna mayo, lettuce, etc. The indian stand had fish pokoras, onion bhajee, a mix of meat and vegetarian curries, lamb kebab meat and rice and nann breads. The mixican stand had chilli, chicken, tachos rice spicey potatoes and sauces on it. All in all i think anyone could find something they liked no matter how fussy they are and all the food was hot and was constantly being filled up. Lastly was the dessert stand and they had a selection of black forest gateau, toffee cheesecake, jelly, fruit, cream, chocolate brownie and icecream with sauce. As you can eat as much of any of this for only 7.99 at lucnh time i think it is well worth the money and i think they will do well. i wouldnt be surprised if they open another restaurant within the near future.
Hatfield, Hertfordshire...If you've been there, there's little to say! If you haven't been, well again, there's little to say! It's a small town outside London dominated by the University of Hertfordshire and not a lot more. But someone had the bright idea to build the Galleria, a leisure/shopping complex. Except nobody really goes, and rather than a busy, bustling social centre it can seem a bit of a ghost town, shops and restaurants coming and going on a regular basis. You can tell a place is quiet when you don't even get groups of teenagers hanging around!
Myself and my partner went as we fancied eating out and the only place to really go was the chain restaurants there. We'd intended to go to Chillies, but like so many of the others, had gone, so we looked for something else and saw Iliaichi; well I saw the massive board outside promoting World food buffet! Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Pizza, Salads, etc, so somewhat different to the usual. And reasonably priced at £10.95.
It was 8.40pm by then so we decided to take a look at the food before committing ourselves. There was a fair selection of pizzas, starters, mains, etc so we decided to give it a go.
The restaurant itself is quite nice, 2 are glass ceiling to wall allowing you to people watch (what peoples there actually are!) There's a small bar area and nice padded booths along one side. However the rest of the tables look like they were dumped in, the back few got arranged neatly but the more they carried in the more fed up they got and just left them where they were put down, oh and ordered more than they had space for! There were only 5 tables occupied when we were there so no problems, when it's full though I can imagine it's a nightmare weaving through all those tables and people. Extremely clean and tidy though.
But I go to a restaurant for the food, not the nice napkins or how much I can see out of the window. Hence I shall hereon concentrate on that.
There were starters of pizza, pakora, peri-peri chicken wings, oriental chicken, taco filling, etc. It was at this point I was beginning to rethink our choice. Actually stood there looking at it I could see it was beginning to become incredibly dried out, the fish sticks were so dry they appeared to be collapsing in on themselves in some kind of supernova and the chicken dippers could have been used as a deadly weapon.
I attempted to put my fork into my pizza and failed miserably, it was rock hard, I'm not talking bendy chewy hard as some dried out pizza could be, but a 'you could build houses with this' rock hard. My peri-peri wings were definitely lacking in actual chicken, but the oriental chicken was gorgeous, and being odd I decided to have my taco with cheese and mango chutney, and it was lovely I tell you. Strangely though for having been there for so long it was all rather lukewarm.
But you never know, mains could be better, there was a choice of 6 which is hindsight isn't a lot! I decided to give them all a stir, the skin on top showed that hadn't been done for quite a while. I searched in vain for any chicken in the sweet and sour but obviously some greedy bugger had picked that all out. Myself and the partner quickly grabbed the last remaining 6 chunks in the Thai Green Chicken Curry, I helped myself to a ladle full of the Chicken Jalfrezi, and then was disappointed to find there were no potatoes left in the fried pan, but we had been deceived into thinking it was pretty full by the ones stuck to the side! A small spoonful of rice and some extremely flat naan bread that had managed to stay soft and off we were.
And its lukewarm again, isn't there some kind of law that says food has to be a certain temperature when it's being served? I wouldn't be surprised if the rate of food poisoning hasn't soared with some of these buffets around. But I will give it its due, it was surprisingly nice.
I didn't mention the salad bar, mainly because I didn't have anything because it was so uninspiring, coleslaw, potato salad was just about out, couscous, kidney bean salad, and the usual tubs of lettuce, tomato, etc, there was no sauces other than mayonnaise and ketchup to be seen, and the bread that was there appeared to have no butter!
One good thing was that you were able to order your own stir-frys, you chose the noodles, meat and the sauce, then from behind the counter you could watch the chef cook it up for you. Piping hot, it was probably the best thing of the evening.
We were still there at 9.15pm and in that time the only food that was freshly put out was a pizza and more taco meat, in fact they were starting to clear the food away at that point, all the salads had been removed from the chiller to clean it and were just sat on the side where they stayed. Bear in mind this place doesn't close till 10pm and people were still coming in at 9.15pm. When food was running out, they just weren't replacing it. And then at 9.30pm we noticed they were starting to clean up the dessert section, no way do I leave a place without my dessert! Nothing to get excited about though, no chocolate cake! I mean, what is a place with no chocolate cake? No hot dessert, but trays of chocolate brownies, an ice cream machine and that was about it, not even sprinkles to put on it! In the end I satisfied myself with some brownies and ice cream. Although I should have put the ice cream in a separate bowl, as the brownies had been so chilled they were rock hard and then totally frozen with the ice cream on top.
By this time it was about 9.40pm and the most bizarre thing happened! Now in this buffet places I've seen a waiter take a break by taking some of the food and sitting in an unobtrusive place to eat it. But never have I seen the chefs, in their dirty chefs whites and hats come out from the kitchen and start eating the remnants, and the restaurant is still open! Not only that they sat right next to the only other couple left in the restaurant, all 4 of them and began joking and laughing extremely loudly, much like you would expect after the restaurant had closed, right next to the buffet trays.
The owner had just walked out the door at this point, obviously they were waiting for him to leave, but he turned round and saw them, hence calling the manager outside and giving him a right dressing down! Unfortunately we couldn't hear, but the mannerisms and the downcast look on the mangers face certainly spoke a thousand words!
Was I extremely hapy to have paid £29 including drinks, for the privilege for this? Absolutely not, I felt a bit ripped off more than anything else and couldn't help thinking we should have gone to McDonalds, at least the food would have been hot!
And if I had gone on a Saturday night when the price shoots up to £14.50 a head, then I would have been more than just a little annoyed and possibly a complaint gone in. Others may think that that's the consequence of going on a Thursday night at 8.30, but its not, for many Thursday is the start of the weekend, it was Freshers Week and surprisingly for the Galleria it was quite busy. I certainly wouldn't expect to go into the Frankie & Bennys across the way at 8.30pm to be told 'I'm sorry, you cant have that, that, or that on the menu as we aren't cooking anymore, but we do have some of that left' and I don't expect it just because it's a buffet restaurant. In fact, if you are going to spend £20 on a night out there I suggest the cinema and a McDonalds after, and I am certainly not a McD's fan. Oh and if I'd been a vegetarian and gone in there it would certainly have been disappointing, unless all you want to eat is a cheese and tomato pizza, salad and a plain vegetable curry!
And calling it a World Food buffet is rather hopeful, there is other food than just Chinese, Mexican, Pizza and Indian, perhaps they should be really adventurous and try some Sauerkraut or Curry Goat?
Myself and my partner disagree as to whether this a long term resident of the Galleria, he says yes as it will be popular with the students (no discount by the way), I disagree as the standard of food is just not up to the job, style over substance never lasts and certainly not in the restaurant trade.