“ Address: Old Fire Station / Hales St / Coventry / West Midlands CV11JA / Tel: 024 7655 3551 „
I love food, and a visit to a buffet style 'eat as much as you like' type restaurant is my idea of heaven. I may be on a diet, but I do like to treat myself from time to time and especially during special occasions. I visited MYO for the first (and only) time during my lunch hour with a group of colleagues from work as part of a leaving celebration for one of the women that I worked with. Having looked at the website and listened to stories about it from some of the women in my office, I had high expectations for MYO and was really looking forward to filling my face with an array of authentic exotic dishes! Unfortunately for me, this was not how my visit panned out, and the sparrow sized portion of food I ate really did not justify the lunch time price.
Finding MYO within Coventry is pretty simple, even for someone like me who had (and still really has) no previous knowledge of Coventry and its seemingly endless city centre. The MYO restaurant is located in the Old Fire Station building right in the city centre of Coventry. The Old Fire Station building is to be found directly across from the Coventry Transport Museum and only a minute's walk from the Pool Meadow Bus station (the large main bus station in Coventry). MYO is also close to various other Coventry tourist attractions, such as the Old and New Cathedrals and the Belgrade Theatre, making it a great place to stop for a bite to eat at lunch, or for a meal before or after a visit to the theatre.
Opening times for the MYO restaurant are as follows:
Monday - Saturday:
Lunch: 12 noon - 3pm
Dinner: 5pm - 11:30pm
12noon - 11:30pm
We visited the MYO restaurant during our lunch hour on a week day and our meal cost £6.99 per person. This price is for food only, drinks are extra and the prices for these depend entirely on what you order. I don't drink alcohol so only ordered a soft drink, but I did look at the drinks menu and the prices seemed pretty fair and average in comparison to other similar places to eat.
Prices for the MYO restaurant (food only) are as follows:
Monday - Saturday (12 noon - 3pm) £6.99
Sunday (12 noon - 5pm) £9.99
Monday - Sunday (5pm - 11:30pm) £11.99
Children aged 3 - 10 years old:
Lunch: Monday - Saturday £3.50
Dinner: Monday - Sunday £6.49
Looking at the prices, I would say they are pretty fair for the 'all you can eat buffet' style restaurant that it is, as they are similar to other restaurants that run this style of dining. If you attend the MYO restaurant for lunch, and opt for a soft drink, you can eat as much as you like and be filled up for the day for under £10. If you can eat a lot and like the sort of food on offer, you can definitely get your moneys worth. I have been told (but cannot state for certain as I have not been at this time) that the night time dinner services have more on offer and also include more desserts and a chocolate fountain. £11.99 seems quite pricey, but compared to a lot of other restaurants, this is pretty cheap for a night time meal out!
The food on offer during the lunch time service that I attended was, in all honesty, a lot less than I expected. I've been to a fair few buffet style 'all you can eat' dining places in my time and can say that the selection here was pretty poor. This is however my own opinion, maybe I've been too spoiled and overwhelmed with choice on my various trips to Taybarns? Haha!
The MYO restaurant itself looks pretty modern and clean with a neutral colour scheme and décor inside. The main focus of the restaurant is the central square area from which the food is made and served. Surrounding the square area, the food is available to customers and is served inside large metal silver domed containers. The layout and presentation of the different dishes is much more posh than other buffet restaurants that I have been to, but this is let down by the lack of different dishes that were available.
The website for MYO boasts a whole host of different pan-Asian dishes are available including Chinese, Thai, Indian and Mediterranean. I was excited by the prospect of trying new and different dishes that I had never sampled before; however during my visit I hardly ate anything!
I was quite surprised to find that MYO didn't offer any sort of 'starter' items. During visits to other Asian style buffet restaurants I've been overwhelmed with an array of finger foods such as: prawn toast, crispy won-tons, spring rolls, bahjis, samosas, ribs etc. None of this was present at MYO and I was a little let down by this as the 'finger' type foods are usually my favourite part of the meal!
MYO did pick up a little with its offering of 'sides', however some of these seemed a little far fetched in my opinion. There was a decently stocked salad bar including the usual lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion and a few dressings were present but I wasn't sure as to what these were as they were not labelled. On the hot food side there were spicy oven wedges which had been entitled 'Chinese wedges' and also a container of oven baked onion rings. I wasn't entirely sure as to how these fit in with the pan-Asian theme, and it did give me a little chuckle, but again this was a let down. MYO offered a few other side accompaniments to your main meal such as chips, freshly made naan bread and prawn crackers. These were pretty pleasing and the naan bread was fresh tasting and soft.
The selection of main dishes on offer was, in my opinion, pretty poor. The website makes it sound like there will be a huge array of different dishes spanning the cuisine of countries listed. However, this was not the case. The majority of the main dishes were in fact Indian. I'd go as far as to say that the percentage of Indian dishes was 90% in comparison to the small 10% for other countries dishes. The dishes on offer were labelled with their name, but no other information. For someone like me that is pretty unaware of what exotic dishes are, and what they contain, it was rather off-putting and confusing (especially as I have to be careful due to my nut intolerance). There was a selection of different Indian curry dishes, all of which looked somewhat similar and appeared to contain nuts. There was only one type of rice available, which was boiled white rice, and this surprised me a little as I always associate Asian food with a multitude of different and interesting rice. There was a silver dome which contained some spice infused chicken, which I tried and enjoyed thoroughly, even if it was just spicy chicken. The 'Chinese' cuisine offering was beef in black bean sauce, which was a disappointment as I have made this plenty of times at home and seemed like a bit of a 'cop out' when it came to thinking up an interesting Chinese dish! There was also only one other dish on offer which was a Thai curry (I think). Not only was there a limited range of food, but the food that was available was only there in small quantities and did appear to have been there for quite some time (a little dried out/stuck together). For a restaurant that boasts to be offering a huge array of pan-Asian cuisine, there really wasn't much selection or variety available.
The website does state that the Chefs situated in the main square cooking area run a stir fry bar at which you can order something which they will cook to your own specifications for you. I did not try this, as it seemed that whenever a customer got up to go to choose their food, the Chefs would move away from that area and over to the opposite side to look busy. I hate to say it, but they looked pretty disinterested in making anyone a stir fry, and I didn't want to embarrass myself or them by attempting to order something!
As for desserts, again I'd rate them a pretty poor score on this part. This is my own opinion, and I'm sure the offerings would be quite average or adequate for some, but I'm a gigantic lover of puddings and if there isn't a decent selection, I'm afraid I'm simply not a happy bunny! Available for dessert during my lunch time visit was an ice cream machine serving one flavour - vanilla, from which you can dispense your own ice cream into a bowl and sprinkle on a small selection of sweets - i.e) rainbow drops and smarties. There were no sauces available to squirt onto the ice cream, so I had to settle for vanilla ice cream with a handful of rainbow drops on top. Aside from the ice cream machine, there was a selection of fresh fruits including oranges, grapes and melon and a bowl full of cubes of red jelly. There was also a glass bowl filled with some sort of traditional Indian rice pudding that was scattered with pistachio nuts. I would have liked to try this, but the nut blanket that lay on top of the dessert stopped me from doing so. Unfortunately, the selection of dessert options was pretty poor and uninspired in my opinion so I was let down again on this course.
During my visit to MYO, my food intake consisted of one plate containing main and side items, and a bowl of ice cream. Although the food I did eat was tasty and flavoursome, the poor variety on offer really did let me down. I tried the 'Chinese wedges' and onion rings, a piece of naan bread, a small scoop of rice, a small portion of spicy chicken and some beef in black bean sauce. For dessert I had a small bowl of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with rainbow drops. For £6.99 this seems a pretty poor deal, and I would only advise those that can and do eat Indian cuisine to visit MYO during the lunch time services.
Aside from the reluctant chefs behind the service counter, the rest of the staff seemed ok. The welcome and waiting staff at MYO did their job well, seated us quickly and sorted our drinks order in no time at all. From what I could see, all the staff are of Asian origin and they did not appear to speak much English (or talk very much at all). We were given a nice farewell from one of the young women working there, however it did seem sort of rehearsed, as if she had been told to say those exact words and that was all she got to say over and over all day.
Overall I'd say I was a little let down with my one and only experience at MYO, however I wouldn't discourage others from giving it a go. The food that I did eat was tasty and well cooked, but the lack of variety and different dishes was a bit of a let down. Some of the dishes available seemed to me to be 'fillers', as there were oven cooked spicy potato wedges which had been titled as 'Chinese Wedges' - a little far fetched for the average spicy oven chip in my opinion. Also, I'm not entirely sure where oven baked onion rings come into the 'pan-Asian' category of cooking - if anyone wishes to fill me in one this one I'd be most appreciative! The majority of the dishes available were Indian dishes which included nut, and as I have a nut intolerance this greatly reduced the amount of dishes I was able to try. If you do like Indian food (or you can actually eat it unlike me) then I'd say give it a go. As stated, my visit was at lunch time, and the dishes available were pretty limited and not in abundance, so I'm not entirely sure whether more is available at night time (I'd hope so, especially for the price!). This is definitely not somewhere I could take my Girlfriend for a treat as she really dislikes Indian cuisine and curries, as as this was pretty much all they had on offer, it'd be a waste of time. Unfortunately, I can't give MYO more than 2 star, as my experience was not one of great joy, even though the small amount of food I did try was well cooked and tasty (although nothing to shout about). I won't be returning to MYO for a second visit, as my first experience was somewhat off putting and the selection of food on offer simply didn't live up to my expectations. Sorry MYO!
For more information about MYO you can visit the restaurant direct, give them a call on their direct phone number or visit their website:
The Old Fire Station
Telephone: 02476 553551