“ Several locations throughout Scotland. „
When walking around Edinburgh we noticed a Chinese restaurant right by Waverley Train Station, where we were dropped from the airport. As I love Chinese food we decided we would certainly be giving it a go!
Jimmy Chung's Chinese Buffet Restaurant:
In Birmingham close to where I live there are some great Chinese all you can eat buffets, one of my favourites being Big Wok. As Jimmy Chung's is twice the price as my beloved Big Wok I was hoping for something special!
As we walked in we were greeting straight away and directed to a table for two, the waiter only gave us a couple of minutes before coming back to take our drinks order. As this was our first time here, I personally would have found it nicer if the waiter had told us 'when you're ready, please go help yourself'. However I had to ask if it was ok to just go up.
The restaurant was set out well, even though there was a lot of tables you still had a good amount of space and wasn't right on top of one another. At the back of the restaurant there was even a place to sit and eat outside. However it was closed off, I'm guessing it was closed due to the time of year being on the chilly side. Warm plates awaited you and your cutlery was already on your table but still a set out if you wanted more.
Luckily when going up to the buffet everything was clearly labeled, so it was easy to see what we wanted to try. It was set out in sections, vegetarian and starters, mains and soups then a third section for desserts. It also stated that sushi was available however I didn't see any but that didn't bother me as I don't like it anyway. If you would like to see there menu it can be found here - www.jimmy-chungs.com/buffet-menus
The cleanliness of the whole buffet and surrounding areas was immaculate which is something I personally always look for. There was a chief/waiter by the buffet making sure it stayed clean and the food items where kept stocked. He was also friendly and you could ask him any questions you wanted regarding the food.
Being vegetarian can sometimes be a pain when it comes to buffets as they normally seem dominated by meat. However I was really surprised as the vegetarian options were rather good, and even better they tasted amazing! I must admit I did pig out a fair bit, my starter I had spring rolls, spicy vegetable samosa, egg fried rice and curry sauce! All of which I really enjoyed and the curry sauce was sweeter than ones I have tried before but still lovely.
After each dish and the waiter saw it was finished with on your table it was soon taken away. When drinks were gone they soon asked if you wanted more, so they really did keep an eye on you. So my second time up I had foo young, chow mien, mixed vegetable and sweet and sour sauce! I really was in heaven and writing this review and thinking of the food I want it all over again!
The toilet facilities where clean and kept well, which is always a plus in any restaurant as I personally don't like using the toilets when I'm out but there is only so long you can hold it in! The bar area was neat and presented well, but you didn't really need to go to the bar yourself as the waiters took care of all your orders.
For the desserts there was a nice little selection, I enjoyed a fruit salad and banana fritters. I must admit they were the best fritters I have even eaten at a Chinese. My partner went for a few helpings of ice creams and sponge cakes. My partner being a meat eater tried a few more dishes than me and even he really enjoyed the food. So all in all paying more than we normally do was worth it for our lovely meal.
Price and Availability:
Monday - Thursday
Children under 11 years or under 135 cm £ 5.49
Friday - Sunday
Children under 11 years or under 135cm £ 5.99
Monday - Thursday
children under 11 years or under 135 cm £ 6.49
Friday - Sunday
Adults: £ 13.49 per person
children under 11 years or under 135 cm £ 7.49
For me I really enjoyed the food, it was cooked well and tasted lovely. When I go back to Edinburgh I will certainly be visiting here again! The drinks were reasonable priced, the whole ambiance was great and I was comfortable which really does go along way. The restaurant is also wheelchair friendly.
Five out of five stars from me.
Thank you for reading.
Opening Times - 11:45 till 23:00 hours
17 Waverley Bridge
Tel: 0131 556 3313
Fax: 0131 556 3393
This applies only to the one in dundee, I haven't been to the other ones ):
Chinese people always tend to have a soft spot for their own food, even if its only remotely similar to the ones that they find in China. This definately applies to me. Ever since me and my family moved to Britain, the homesickness comes in the form of food. So, upon ariving in Dundee, within weeks, we had already ravaged every big chinese food place in the city.
This wasn't really a big achievement as there were only two :\
Jimmy Chung's is one of them. Ever since I was like 10 I remember eating out at the restaraunt with family and Chinese and non-Chinese friends alike. I can safely say that the impression of the place varies not only with time but also with people.
Firstly, don't go near closing time. The staff tend to wind down by then, the food is cold, and the only people ussually there are the staff and you.
Also, during the busier hours, you may get several repeated playings of "happy birthday to you", they've had the exact same song since I remember. The procedure is pretty much the same: song, cake, yay. I don't recomend birthdays being spent there, unless you go under the radar and dont tell them that its your birthday.
I went there with my friends on their seventeenth. Was dead fun, though probably not for the food, but because of the people I was with. A good game if you're with a decent fun group is gelo-eating contests. Basically: eat alot of gelo. It gets competitive at times, and after already eating a huge serving of Chinese food, most people tend to give up or throw up. My friend did that last time he was there, and only me and him were playing. As I said, competitive.
Another thing with the restaraunt is the people you're with. Better, as with all buffets, an informal group as opposed to a formal group. Don't go with a Chinese family (unless your own family is Chinese), as they tend to value people who eat alot highly. Especially in a buffet environment, where you eat all you can, the only way not to disappoint is to keep eating. In this way, every time I go, any exercise that I did previously would have been for nothing.
Erm, food wise, there's not alot of variety. Pretty much the same things since I remember. Gello. Fried Rice. That red chicken stuff, ect. ect. All the things that you tend to find in a Chinese buffet, really.
Its not too pricey too, so thats good. Get a jug of water with Ice cause thats free and the drinks, as they are in most restaraunts, are expensive.
The staff consist mainly of Chinese students, so as they finish their courses and employment beckons they tend to quit. In this, there is a regular turnover roughly every four years. So, good staf vary over time.
In all, its a decent place, if you're stuck for somewhere to go, then this isnt a bad choice. But for more high end Chinese cuisine look to Glasgow. Or a Chinese family.
There is a few branches of Jimmy Chungs about, but we've only been to the Edinburgh branch. I think there is a couple in Edinburgh, but it was the 1 at Princes Street we visited. Location is great and if you come into Edinburgh by Train then it is right there at Waverly bridge. I believe they know the location is a strong point, as it is about 50p more expensive than other Chinese Buffets up the road a bit, but there is a great choice of Food here.
The music is quite loud in here, but not too lud and they play modern chart music. The lighting is good here, and is bright and colourful.
The staff are good and attentive. They are constantly filling, cleaning and topping your drinks up. You can catch their eye easily enough, but you don't feel like they are hovering about watching you.
I've only been here at Lunch Time and the cost of the Buffet is £6.99. for this price you get a good selection. At night time it is still the same selection, but obviously a lot more expensive. I think it costs £12.99 the last I knew but I could be wrong thesedays.
There is a good selection of main meals. All the usual such as Chicken Egg Fu Yung, Chicken Curry, Beef Curry, Vegetarian options, Sweet and Sour Chicken and so on, plenty of sides such as Chips, Spring Rolls, Chicken Wings, Ribs, Chicken Balls ect. There is a small amount of vegetables as well. There is a couple of choices of Soup and a small dessert section. The Chicken is Breast Meat and everything tastes fresh and hot.
I would recommend to eat here if you are in the area. Yes, it is a bit more expensive than other Buffets, and the drinks are more expensive too, but it is a nice meal in a good location.
On a recent holiday to Scotland, we initially struggled with finding a good place for dinner. The main reason for this was that by the end of the day my parents were too tired to go out to eat and they really didn't want to eat pizza or burgers or fried chicken. Having fed them kebabs the first night, my husband and I set out on the second determined to find some 'proper' takeaway food at a price that didn't break the bank. Near our hotel we couldn't find anything other than pubs, Italian restaurants and pizza parlours. The further we walked, the fewer eating places there were. We were considering kebabs again when we realized we had walked almost to the railways station. And right next to the railway station was the sign for 'Jimmy Chung's' all you can eat Chinese buffet. It felt like a sign from heaven and we promptly went in and asked if they did takeaways. They did indeed and the waitress handed over four plastic boxes and said we could fill them up for £7.50 per box. The buffet was very attractive and had an extensive range of dishes - both vegetarian and non vegetarian. There was also a much better selection of desserts than at most Chinese buffets but I don't think they can be taken away.
When we opened up the boxes when we got back to the hotel, most of the food had been mashed together but surprisingly, the flavours were still very individual and very tasty. The food was also quite hot despite being carried for 15 minutes on a fairly cold evening. The food was surprisingly good and included loads of starters - their spring rolls were excellent. The flavor too was far superior to the Chinese buffets I've been to in London. The quantity of food that fit into the containers was also ample and well worth the price.
We ate at Jimmy Chung's another day in Edinburgh and once in Inverness as well. The Inverness branch wasn't as good but still a great place for a hot, well priced tasty meal. Also we ate in in the Inverness branch and I must say the location was both convenient and pretty (though the access was a bit grotty). The service was average but with a teeming restaurant I guess you can't really expect much more.
Dundee has two all-you-can-eat / buffet Chinese restaurants that I know of, Jimmy Chung's Chinese Buffet being the less-easily-accessible-in-terms-of-parking (because it's all strictly metered down there), but on the whole much better one. On the other hand, unlike its nearby Chinese restaurant buffet competitor the 'City Quay' Jimmy Chung's does not, nor has it ever to my knowledge served that delectable little Fife-and-Angus speciality (or abomination, depending on your point of view), the deep-fried peanut butter sandwich. Though I have to say that in my opinion, this can only ever count as a good thing.
Jimmy Chung's is about two minutes walk from the main shopping area of city centre down on Whitehall Street, which is one of the side-streets that run between the Overgate Centre and the waterfront area. Stand with your back towards 'Primark' and look towards the Firth of Tay; if not directly opposite, Whitehall Street is the next street over the road on the right or the one after that.
So much for location. For £6 at lunchtime (£3.49 if you're a kid under the age of 11) you get to eat to excess, choosing from a glistening array of deep-fried starters, slightly gelatinous main courses and a fine selection of budget sweet options. Lunchtime at Jimmy Chung's starts about 12 noon, which is normal enough, but continues till 4.30 in the afternoon as after 12 the place is effectively open all day. Following that the fixed price dinner time (when you are subject to a increase from £6 to £9 for adults and £5.49 for children eating as much as you / they like) starts. Between 4.30 and 5pm there is a moderately complex switching scale of pricing between the lunchtime and the dinnertime tariffs, which is worked out depending on the time you sat down versus the time you vacate your table. If you don't intend to pay the evening rates, it would be perhaps better to wait a little till 5pm when dinner starts, or to arrive well before 4.30pm if you only want lunch. Weekend rates run from Fridays to Sundays inclusive, when lunch costs and extra £1 per person, and dinner an extra £2. You can access all this pricing information on the restaurant chain's rather comprehensive website.
Drinks at the restaurant are reasonably priced; £1.50 for a coke and tap water is free. You'll need to drink a lot of water at Jimmy Chung's as the food is in the main all highly thirst-provoking - if not by virtue of having it been deep fried (ie. the starters) then because it's all quite highly-seasoned (the main courses) or super-sweet (the desserts).
Jimmy Chung's has weathered the current credit crunch by adding a mere £1 or so to its pricing over the last year or two. A quid per person seems nothing at all, in the all-you-can-eat scheme of things, and so something has had to give - arguably in this restaurant's case the quality of the food on offer, which has definitely declined a little since the restaurant was fresh and new - I certainly noticed this when I visited at yesterday. Pricier dishes, such as the aromatic duck with hoi-sin sauce and pancakes, for example, have disappeared from the lunchtime menu and I found the quality of the meat used in the starters and main dishes while still acceptable, was also not as good as it had once been. That said, the food is still of reasonable to good quality and there is a wide variety of different options on offer. Overall Jimmy Chung's is still a better example of a restaurant of this type; the staff are extremely efficient, clearing the tables and replenishing the dishes promptly, and the dishes if suffering to some extent from having been prepared in bulk quantities from less than premium ingredients are still recognisable as being something vaguely Chinese - a consideration that in other so-called Asian buffet restaurants I have visited has often been overlooked entirely.
The restaurant is well-maintained, and the decor in Jimmy Chungs is quite modern and nice - though the place is so often packed to the doors that there's little likelihood you'll actually be able to see any of it. It should also go without saying that, this being an all-you-can-eat restaurant, it's definitely a place for visiting with informal company only. Jimmy Chung's is decidely not the kind of intimate little eaterie you should take anyone you'd like to try and impress - say, if you're out on a date - that is, unless you specifically wanted to trough down bulk quantites of food together cheek-by-jowl with mostly-sportswear-clad Dundonians. The place - at lunchtimes certainly and despite its outward appearance of being a normal quite nice restaurant - attracts much the same subset of clientele that you'd expect to find dining in a standard fast-food burger bar or fried chicken shop, so if you're powefully averse to being gawped at by an adjacent tableful of slack-jawed seventeen year old youths while you eat, it might be a nice idea to choose somewhere else instead.
Jimmy Chungs is largely a Scottish chain of Chinese buffet restaurants found as far north as Inverness and as far south as Edinburgh, although should you ever decide to hop across the Irish Sea, there's one at Dublin too. It's probably not doing wonders for the supposed Scottish obesity epidemic but many Scots love this place and it's fairly light on my wallet...
*~Chungs is Cheap~*
I've been to two restaurants, the Stirling one and the Edinburgh Grindlay street one. You can pretty much waltz in to one of these restaurants on a weekday lunchtime and consume your own body weight for as little as £5.49 per person (Some include Sundays in this pricing and usually exclude Fridays and its £3.49 for the smaller 11 year and under gannets amongst us). The prices do get steeper at dinnertime (after 5pm) and increase to £11.99 (£4.99 for under 11s) on a Friday and Saturday. I also would recommend that should you venture to Edinburgh you visit the Grindlay street one instead of the Waverley one - The Waverley one is usually very busy, is slightly more expensive on every day but Friday and Saturday and the Grindlay street one is only about a 15-20 minutes walk away. However, even at the somewhat more expensive prices, Jimmy Chungs is definitely cheap for what you get. Just make sure you're hungry!
Unlike a lot of Scots who visit this place I am not inclined to join the obesity parade and will do whatever is in my power to keep fit and healthy. However, I LOVE the variety which oriental buffets offer. I find this restaurant is an absolute adventure for your taste buds and love to pick and choose and try little bits of everything. I have went into the restaurant on one or two lunchtimes and decided -'Well I'm broke, I'm gonna' eat enough to power me for the next two days' (so long as I don't puke it up after) but I don't usually like to eat that much. I like to savour each bite rather than pummel a whole load of food down my gullet.
Jimmy Chungs has lots on offer but I won't go into it too much as their menu can be found on their website. I absolutely love their noodles, chicken and black bean, their sweet and sour chicken and their Chicken Satay, amongst other things. You get a selection of food that can make up a starter (including soup), a main course and dessert along with sides like prawn crackers. In addition, if you do pay more in the evening you usually get slightly more choice which makes the greater expense a little more appealing.
*~Great customer service but what's with the swimming pool water?~*
The customer service is excellent even if a bit impersonal. Staff are always at hand to take you to your table, to take away your plates and get you more drinks. They also seem to keep the food fresh, changing it often so it doesn't do that disgusting crusty thing that food left out for too long seems to do. It tastes hot and if something runs out you don't have to wait long before they bring out more of it. Absolutely excellent service but I do have one qualm with the water situation. In the Stirling restaurant I was given a glass of water that tasted just awful. I didn't quite understand why because I know myself that the tap water around this area is pretty decent. It was almost as if they'd dissolved a chlorine tablet in it (Ok so some exaggeration. That would of course knock you dead). On a recent trip to the Edinburgh Grindlay street restaurant I spent an age just waiting to get my water till I had to go badger another waiter. Jimmy Chungs seem to make a lot of money on drinks alone so it seems almost to be an insult if your thirst beckons for some a bland glass of HO2 - Other than that, the staff seem great.
I think that the restaurants are very pleasantly designed - Everything is very modern with pretty lights and the Stirling one even has a fish tank at the front. The music can be pretty good, usually mainstream but not too loud. I think the only thing that might get on your nerves a bit is if there are a lot of birthdays happening. They like to play a cheesy little birthday track as they bring out the cake and you sit there and smile a little as some blushing randomer is stared at by the whole restaurant. On one occasion there was three in one night - Kind of annoying but humorous to watch the poor little person cringe as most of the attention is directed to them.
*~So why am I being stingy with the stars?~*
Ok, so it's cheap, the food tastes pretty good but I've been going to Jimmy Chung's since it launched in 2003 and nothing has really changed. Even when I 'spiced' it up a bit by visiting the Edinburgh restaurant the food seemed exactly the same and I'm getting a bit bored of it - when I go there I know exactly what I want and there is hardly ever anything new to try and both the Edinburgh and the Stirling restaurants seem to use the exact same recipes. The only semi-exciting discovery I made in the Edinburgh one was that they have those amazing icecream machines (Y'know the ones where you pull the lever and out comes some icecream van style stuff? Scrummy!) It's lost its initial sparkle. On top of that, I was introduced to Yang Sing which can be found in Camelon near Falkirk. It just seemed superior in so many respects in terms of choice and taste.
On top of this, the quality is decent enough but it's easy to forget that food shouldn't always be about quantity and about quality. I find it hard to believe that anyone who visited the place doesn't recognize that you could get an even tastier version of the dish you're eating a la carte at another restaurant. I suppose it depends on your mood and well...your wallet and your appetite. I just think that if you sit down and really concentrate on every mouthful, it is tasty but somehow it seemed I'd tried it all before and probably tried an even better version somewhere else.
I've had a lot of experience with Chinese buffets, some atrociously bad and some absolutely amazing and I can say that Jimmy Chungs is definitely worth the visit, particularly if you haven't been before. I adored the place when it first launched and no doubt would have given it a full five stars had I reviewed it a few years back. However, I have gotten bored with the food there and appreciate that whilst it is good, you can get better Chinese food out there. On the other hand, I do think it's a great place for birthday nights out and just generally for a night out with friends especially if you've got a big enough group. I will probably never stop going to Jimmy Chungs. It may not have the best Chinese food but there's great variety and its excellent value.
*~Thanks for reading~* :) x
*~Also found on ciao under 'Renza' - April 2009.
For anyone who has never heard of Jimmy Chung's. It is a chain of Chinese buffet restaurants all over the Scotland and one in Dublin. They are very reasonably priced and the food is delicious.
I have only been to one of the Jimmy Chung's restaurant's. It was the one in Stirling, Scotland. It is situated relatively close to the main shopping area of Stirling (a 5 minute walk from the Thistle shopping Centre). It is close to a few pubs and clubs. I think this is an ideal place to have it and this is one of the main reasons that they are so busy.
The other reason that it is so busy is that you leave there feeling that you have been well fed and watered, you get great service and it did not cost the earth.
This particular restaurant is quite big, it could probably seat 100 people at any one time. The tables were clean, the floor was clean and the toilet area was clean, I think that this is a good sign, the kitchen's must be clean too. I was in here one lunch time a few weeks ago, at around 12.15pm We were one of the first tables in but it started to fill up fast. The Server took our drinks order and explained to us about the buffet, when we got back the drinks were there on our table.
First you take a plate and extra cutlery and napkins if you need them, then you choose from all the delicious food, There are 2 hotplates, the smaller one has the starters in, there are around 8 as well as 2 soups, 2 different Prawn Crackers and a selection of salads.
In the larger hotplate are the main courses including 3 different rice's, 3 different noodles and around 12 main dishes (eg. curry, Tzesheun, and black bean).
If you feel that you have room left for a dessert then they have a selection of gateau's, ice-cream or fruit.
I cannot fault this restaurant at all, the food was lovely, the service was friendly welcoming and fast, the restaurant was clean and tidy. There was a family sitting at a table not too far from us and the staff were so accommodating and nice to the young children, there is even an area at the front of the restaurant to park, prams and buggies, out of the way of the diners.
I will go back to this restaurant, I had a really nice meal. The thing I enjoy most is that you can try a little bit of lots of new dishes.
Here are the prices and opening hours.
Monday - Thursday
11.45 am to 2.45 pm
£5.49 per person
(children under 11 years £3.49)
Friday - Sunday
11.45 to 2.45 pm
£6.49 per person
(children under 11 years £4.49)
Monday - Thursday
5.00 to 10.45 pm
£9.99 per person
(children under 11 years £4.99)
Friday - Saturday
5.00 to 11.00 pm
£11.99 per person
(children under 11 years £5.99)
5.00 to 10.45 pm
£8.99 per person
(children under 11 years £4.49)
I love Chinese Buffets and Jimmy Chungs is high up on my list of favourites. I know there is a few dotted around Scotland, but I have only been to the one in Edinburgh.
The one in Edinbugh is situated right next to the Waverly train station, and this is at Princess Street, which is the main shopping street in the city.
From the outside this restaurant looks quite small, but it is bigger inside. When you first go in, you go straight ahead and then turn a bit to get into the place, so the building is quite deep inside. It looks quite modern inside and there is lots of spotlights and different coloured lights. They play modern music in here as well, which appeals to me, but then everyone may not like Britney Spears blasting over the speakers. I think the music can be quite loud sometimes as well, so maybe could be turned down a bit. At least this doesn't seem like a stuffy resturant, more like a modern place.
This is a Buffet so you just go up and help yourself. There is a long strip at the back with food and then 2 shorter strips running down the middle. The aisles are double sided and although it is quite cramped in the middle where the aisles are back to back, and this place is usually busy then you can get your food quite easily.
The food is topped up quickly and i've never went up and had to wait longer than 2 minutes if something has ran out.
So, most importantly what is the food like? It is great. It tastes, hot, fresh and just really great. They have all the usual favourite you get from a Chinese Buffet
Egg Foo Yung
Chicken In Black Bean Sauce
Sweet and Sour Chicken
And lots lots more. There is a choice of 2 soups, fresh fruit, salad and also a small selection of desserts such as ice cream and gateuxs.
There is a not bad selection of drinks as well, but the drinks are quite pricy. I know it is the city, but another Chinese Buffet down the road a bit has cheaper drinks. I think they are taking advantage of the location, as a bottle of beer can cost £3.30, whereas a pint in the other buffet costs £2.80
So what about the price. There is different prices depending on when you go here. I've always been there for lunch, as it is the cheapest then and also it's just when i'm here shopping.
It costs £6.99 for lunch from 12pm-5pm
£10.99 from 5pm-7pm
£12.99 from 7pm-11pm
I think on fridays and saturdays there is an extra £1 added on for evening meals, so it could end up quite an expensive night.
So if you're in the city and want a nice lunch then head to here as it is highly recommended.
After a lovely day shopping (finally got the kid school shoes a week after the school went back!) and catching a couple of shows at the fringe, it was time to grab a bite to eat before catching our train home.
Jimmy Chungs is a chain of chinese buffet restaraunts operating in various Scottish cities and Dublin. The one I visited was Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh which as its name suggests is right next to the entrance to Waverley train station.
Its location and the fact that we visited at 6pm on the last day of the festival meant that the restaraunt was bursting at the seams with people wanting a quick meal. Dinner on a Sunday evening costs £10.99 per adult and £5.99 per kid but for some reason they have decided to levy an extra pound charge per diner during the festival. I really cant see any reason for that charge except pure greed, surely the fact that Edinburgh is full of visitors and they will be full every day making loads of money should be enough for them.
As soon as we walked in my daughter spotted the fish tank behind the entrance desk. She was very impressed and claimed that it had every fish from finding nemo in the tank. I certainly recognised the clown fish but you'll have to take her word for it that all of the film cast (except the sharks) were there. We were seated pretty quickly in a nice corner booth and eventually our drinks orders were taken.
Then it was time to join the barely organised chaos which was the queue for starters. In theory each of you start at the top with a plate (or bowl for soup) and work your way round clockwise. In reality it was a case of grab what you can! There was a good selection here including duck and pancakes, chicken balls, sesame toast, chicken won tons, satay chicken, onion rings and spare ribs. All were steaming hot and were repenished very regularly.
I really should know better by now when I go to a buffet, but still I manage to eat more than I would in a normal day in my first course! Time for a main course. This was spread over two carts and had a wide selection of rices, noodle dishes, curry, twice cooked duck, squid in some weird sauce, chips, lemon chicken, sweet and sour pork and various others that I cant remember.
While they had a wide selection of food, I can't say I was impressed by the quality of it all. Some was delicious, the sweet and sour pork for example had just the right mix of chewy pork and sauce but others were not so great. Me and my girl ended up picking the won tons apart to see if they actually contained chicken or were just folded pastry. She claims she found a tiny piece of chicken but I'm not so sure! The spring rolls contained just unseasoned beansprouts, not even a dash of soy sauce to pep them up and the chicken curry seemed to contain half a dozen pieces of chicken in the whole tray with the rest made up of onions and peas. Another shortcut was the use of shredded cabbage instead of spring onions to make up the duck pancakes.
Time for pudding and Jimmy Chungs is no exception in the buffet stakes in providing a pretty bland selection. My daughter managed three, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, a slice of chocolate cake and a bowl of lime jelly but alas my poor stomach struggled to cope with just one. I love banana fritters but hate the fact that when I order them from my local take away I get a mean dribble of syrup. Not so here where the syrup was in a bowl and I greedily poured on several very generous spoonfulls of sugary goodness!
With my belly practically bursting open and this point it was time to pay up and go home. We were instructed to wait and pay at the table but it took a very long time to catch a waiters attention to give them my money. The bill came to just over £20 for an adult and child including drinks.
Will I visit again? Probably not. Although there was a good selection of food and it was mostly good the place was chaotic, the service was poor with dirty plates stacking up on tables and this made our meal less enjoyable. I make allowances for the fact that it was during the festival but due to its location this place will always be busy. Theres so many places to eat in Edinburgh, I know several within walking distance of here which offer better food and service at a similar price so I'll visit these places when I'm in Edinburgh and want a quick meal.
For more information see http://www.jimmychungs.com/main/abt.htm
Today was quite fun. Saturday, known world wide as part of "the weekend". The day of the Sabbath (even if you think that's Sunday) and known as the seventh day by Quakers (those people with the hats that make that porridge). For the Chinese, Saturday is the day where... well... nothing in particular happens.
On this particular Saturday, however, a few Chinese people found themselves making food for me. These kindly folk work at the Jimmy Chung's Buffet and takeaway Restaurant in Dundee. I was in a particularly fowl mood since the date I was supposed to be on was no longer happening since the little bugger cancelled. Do not fear though. If you think a woman scorned is bad, you should see a gay in action. He will be getting what is coming to him later tonight when I see him out.
My flat mate, taking full advantage of the fact I no longer had any man love to get on with, decided to jaunt along with me since she also loves the place since that fateful day I introduced her to it.
Jimmy Chung's is mainly a Scottish chain restaurant with branches in Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling, Inverness and Edinburgh though someone, in their infinite wisdom, has apparently plonked one in Dublin too.
---Food on the Interweb---
Chung's have, rather sensibly, gotten themselves a lovely website so you can look at what they offer. Not only is it rather pretty and easy to use, the web-net-inter-site gives a full list of the 20 starters and 40 main courses that are on offer, and a much shorter list of the sweets on offer. You can also get the prices (usually between £5-£6 for lunch and £6-£10 for Tea), opening times and contact details for every restaurant on it, which comes in rather handy. The downside of the website is that, as much as it lists everything that can be cooked, it really depends on how the staff are feeling that day as to what will be out for you to pick at. It's all good though. It's a buffet. Surely they will have something you like. Or else.
They get a full five stars from me for the website. What that means I'm not sure, but they are pretty stars, so it can only be a good thing.
---You over there, Sit me down!---
Since I went the whole week assuming I had a date (insert mumbled expletives here) I had went to the trouble of actually booking a table, which like nearly every restaurant, you can do over the phone or, if you are feeling extra cool, in person.
Strangely, the person on the phone told me after I assumed I had booked that I probably won't need a booking as it wouldn't be busy at the time I went. Having been there before, I thought it odd the staff don't think its busy on a Saturday afternoon.
After listening to a rather odd band in the city centre play "I wanna be like you, oo oo" from the jungle book, my flatmate and I appeared at the door of Chung's to be met with a small queue. After giving the waitress my name, she asked me to sit in the waiting area. This was weird. Usually when I booked previously I was taken right to my reserved seat.
By chance, the seat we took was right behind the log book for the bookings. Me being a nosy bugger had a good look at it and noticed it was, in fact, blank. I began to curse the man on the phone slightly. Luckily we were seen to within a minute or two. But this was sheer luck. While we were waiting the queue grew to about 10 people rather than the 3 that were waiting when we arrived. Had we waited just a minute or two longer, we would have faced a good while waiting for seat. That bugged the hell out of me. I've just been annoyed by a man and you present the possibility that in another universe I am waiting on my Jimmy Chung's??? THAT'S JUST SICK!
---Crispy Duck, Dive, Spring Roll---
As you may have gathered, being a buffet, it's a help yourself thing going on. There are (at least in the Dundee and Stirling branches) four little islands containing big hot pots of everything and a pile of plates at one end. One island will set you up with starters, two of them contain main courses and the last (and the smallest) will throw desserts at you.
The one down side of this is that customers are pretty much left to do what they want. There is no order. There is, in fact, chaos most times. You will always have one person who spots an opening half way round at something they like, jumps in and upsets the balance. Even when its more ordered, you need to plan carefully. That table the fat family sit at all tend to come up at the same time, blocking everything. After them you get the obnoxious ones. Then, if you are lucky there will be a space. A small opening for you to become both fat and obnoxious (I do it so well). A window of opportunity to run like crazy, grab a plate and work your way round without having to feel like you can't pile another five wantons onto your plate because the idiot behind you looks like they want some.
---What do you mean this fish is Chicken??---
As far as the labels go, they are pretty decent. It will tell you above each section what is in it. There is, however, some trouble when it comes to sauces as they tend to put three rather similar looking ones in a row so you're never quite sure. But, hell, the point of a buffet is to try everything you're usually too scared to spend £6 on from your takeaway just in case you don't like it!
The labels even provide you with a little humour occasionally. Such as the Chicken Satay Sticks (no longer served on skewers for health and safety reasons). Makes you wonder exactly who done what!
As helpful as the labels are, you will always find some who just end up not knowing what they have had. I am one of them. Mainly because I pile a little bit of everything onto my plate then forget which is which by the time I get back to my seat. It's not half as bad as my flatmates grandfather who spent half an hour chewing down on Maryland Chicken then pondering aloud "I wonder what kind of fish this is, it's lovely!" Hmm.
Taste wise I'd have to give the guys at Chung's a big thumbs up. The food is also quite amazing. Everything is cooked to perfection and all of it has just been cooked when it's brought out. Yes that may sound odd, but a lot of buffet places let stuff sit in the pots and it doesn't get eaten so it goes to crap. Chung's keep everything fresh, taking away old stuff (which is rare since it all gets gobbled straight away). I feel I'm blethering. The short version of that is that the food is great, ok!
---So fresh and so clean---
The two restaurants I've been to have scored high in whatever section being clean falls under. The décor is nice, bright, fresh and modern while still holding on to an element of total comfort and luxury. It's one of those places that's aimed at everyone. Apart from the really posh people who don't do common things. Oh and children might get a little bored...but they have jelly to keep them entertained.
Clean plates and cutlery are regularly brought out and stacked on the islands, probably because the place is full of pigs who need plates. The toilets are spotless, it helps that they have a key in some of the restaurants. Being in Scotland, they would have druggies a go-go hiding out and shooting up if they were open. At least that's what I like to think of my fair country.
---Drink till I'm happy? Sure!---
Upon being seated the girl took our drink orders and disappeared. A couple of minutes after, she re appeared brandishing my breakfast: Alcohol. I was a happy person. My flat mate was also quite happy with her can of Irn Bru that she proceeded to pour for the next five minutes, getting a little more into the glass each time before having to stop for fizz. I told her to tip her glass, but she refused.
This is roughly where the good service ended. Most times I have been to Chung's, your empty plates are taken away before they are even empty!! (it's how they make their money, you aren't actually allowed to eat)(ok so that's a lie) It makes me sad that this time they didn't seem to care less about the plates that were slowly stacking up on my table. Being a busy Saturday, I wouldn't have minded so much if it was the case that the whole restaurant was a tad behind with their plate collections, but it just seemed to be our table they liked to ignore. 30 minutes and not one person picked up a dirty plate. The table next to us was bussed about 4 times. I was not a happy person, but I also was too stubborn to remind them of their duties! Why should I have to??
---Why is the Rum gone?---
After round one on the drinks, I asked a waitress to get a jug of water. How dare I. 20 minutes later (and in my alternate universe, not only did I have to wait half an hour to be seated, I have just choked to death because I couldn't get a drink of water) no water has arrived. This time I tell someone. While she was off getting it, the first girl came over and informed me that the table next to us had been given our water. She said it with a rather large grin. I had to prompt the girl to think about maybe getting it for me now. She then uttered the words "oh...you still want it?" Let me introduce you to one of my favourite sayings: "Face:Palm"
The lovely girl I asked done what the first girl should have done and went and got it when I asked for it instead of pottering around for ten minutes with a vase and forgetting. In the time I was waiting, I had started to notice that people who were already in the restaurant were getting a little bit ignored by the staff. They all seemed a bit pre occupied with setting up tables so they could get more people in and ripping apart tables of people who had just left all for the same purpose. Boo to Chungs.
---Anything else, oh piggy one?---
I feel I should warn you now, Chung's do this great little thing on birthdays. It is not for the weak of heart. Even I nearly died of embarrassment when my charming family pulled it on me. They have every light in the place rigged up to flash like crazy while a really cheesy "happy birthday" song plays about twenty times. A million times worse than your friends singing happy birthday. It's like the whole world stops for a minute or two and stares at you with hatred in their eyes. How dare you interrupt their feasting.
---Are you shutting up yet?----
So there we have it. A rather random overview! Now for the short version:- Chung's is generally quite fantastic! The food is tasty, the staff are courteous (Most times) and there's nothing more entertaining than watching the very talented staff carry about 30 plates at the same time (I'm not kidding either, they can all do it!) My last visit was a bit of a blip for them, but based on past experiences, I'm quite happy to say that it's a one off. It's not their fault I was in a bitch of a mood, after all.
Unfortunately for them, in my alternate universe, I am giving them an awful review. On the plus side, in this one, I'm damn happy with them. Most times. Now go eat yourself stupid! I have!
(also on ciao)