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Lord of the Pies
Jimmy Chung's Bar and Chinese Buffet (Scotland)
Member Name: ryanando
Jimmy Chung's Bar and Chinese Buffet (Scotland)
Advantages: Great food, cheap, tasty
Disadvantages: Kids might get bored, you can no longer have stabby fun with skewers
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)
Summary: Best buffet restaurant going.