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All You Can Eat
July 29, 2009 4:53 AM   Subscribe

With Chinese buffets - an all-you-can-eat fixed price restaurant - making a killing in Manchester, a new chain of traditional English buffet-style restaurants are seeing a sharp rise in trade during a recession that is seeing 100 restaurants per month go to the wall.

(By the way, my student dining days mean I can heartily recommend Tai Wu if you're ever at a loss for food in the Rainy City.)
posted by mippy (67 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously in the Guardian: £1 pub lunch.
posted by ninebelow at 5:06 AM on July 29, 2009


Rabbitts says the £1 meals cost about 30p for him to produce; the £1.50 meals double that. Going large may be a wise move. But let's not carp.

This gives me the same feeling as I get when looking at Iceland's prices.
posted by mippy at 5:12 AM on July 29, 2009


Tai Wu, nah mate, Number Ones all the way.

(I've always loved the logo - a hand doing the "ok" shape. It doesn't suggest place is gonna be good, but it lets you know that its, y'know, ok :-)
posted by 13twelve at 5:20 AM on July 29, 2009


I doubt this is any worse than the food at Wetherspoon's, say, and it represents better value for money. So yeah, winning formula, really. Canteen food without the major hangup it invariably entails - leaving feeling ripped off and rather less than full. Not exactly class dining, but then it doesn't claim to be. Fair play, really.
posted by Dysk at 5:21 AM on July 29, 2009


It's better value. And more than that, it's a predictable price and a predictable outcome. You know exactly what it costs to feed the family, no matter what they want. No worries about not having the expensive seafood, and as is mentioned in the article it's not complete crap. There's a low cost to trying all of the foods, so kids can experiment but can still have their favourites if they wish.

I can see the appeal, myself.
posted by jaduncan at 5:30 AM on July 29, 2009


Oh man those gigantic Yorkshire puddings looked good.
posted by molecicco at 5:41 AM on July 29, 2009


I totally don't agree with:
"I cannot believe that the second biggest city in Britain cannot sustain a quality restaurant," he said. "All the great European cities are judged on their restaurants as much as any other part of their culture and, if you look at Manchester's record of culinary achievement, it is appalling."
Raymond Blanc, from the Guardian article

There are a number of good restaurants in Manchester; Dimitris (heh, don't judge it by its website), Obsidian, Dough, Sapporo Teppenyaki to name but a few. I've missed lots out and there are some I just don't yet know about.

Come off Raymond Blanc. Just because your gaff didn't survive does not mean Manchester cannot support a quality restaurant. Your chained restaurant was not the only quality restaurant in Manchester. Toys and pram mate. It was just one of many similar places trying to attract the wealthy young professional types during a period of time where more and more similar restaurants/bars where opening.

Right irks me when people diss my city man' lol
posted by 13twelve at 5:42 AM on July 29, 2009


13twelve, that statement was bollocks before you even got to the part about evaluating the truth of the claim regarding Manchester's ability to sustain quality restaurants. Birmingham's the UK's second biggest city. You can have third.


(Don't worry, Manchester, you're still better in every conceivable way in my eyes).
posted by Dysk at 5:50 AM on July 29, 2009


Oh man those gigantic Yorkshire puddings looked good.

There used to be a place in Bradford that did a giant Yorkshire pudding filled with a full English breakfast. I still mourn the retirement of the owner.
posted by vbfg at 5:55 AM on July 29, 2009


Brother Dysk haha nah mate :-)

Its not all about size. Manchester is the UK's 2nd city, the BBC says so.
posted by 13twelve at 5:57 AM on July 29, 2009


Golden Corral, upon which this chain is based, is one of my guilty pleasures. I'm also fond of those giant buffets you get in places with gambling. I have no illusions, it's not quite food. I'm not even into getting loads and loads of it, there's only so much one can eat. I'm also pretty specific about what I get at these places. Fried Chicken and if they have them, fried shrimp (prawns to those of you in the UK). So what's the appeal?

I have no earthly idea.

I suspect that there's more to this than just an abundance of hot, salty, fried food. I suspect that there's more psychology than gastronomy in these places.

Certain aromas, certain sounds, even the seating plan is designed to maximize the lizard part of your brain that turns on at the site of heaps and piles of stuff you'd never buy off a menu.

I don't mind that I'm being manipulated, I'm going in with my eyes open. I think that abundance in times of recession, even an abundance of prison grade food, makes you feel better about the fact that you're not able to spend what you'd like at a restaurant.

As for all the tony chefs whinging about their lack of business, if people wanted it, they'd buy it. I'm as fascinated as the next person about the prospect of dining at one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants, but in reviewing the menu, I didn't see one thing that I'd eat. And I eat raw oysters.

Every town needs a place where you can take the family out for a decent meal, and these joints fit the bill. At least you don't have to cook, and there's something for everyone.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:57 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's a pub near here that does an awesome Sunday lunch with all the trimmings, served in a giant yorkshire pudding (some 20 to 25cm in diameter). It's bloody awesome.
posted by Dysk at 5:58 AM on July 29, 2009


13twelve, the BBC Northwest says so (and also says that Brum is just an extension of London, which is blatantly false) ;)

You can have second city, if you like, just not second-largest.
posted by Dysk at 6:01 AM on July 29, 2009


Brother Dysk the Terry Christian quote does take pride of place on that page :-)

Everyone, everywhere, its official. Two people you've never heard of, have decided that Manchester is, after all, the UK's second city.
(just not its second largest)
posted by 13twelve at 6:06 AM on July 29, 2009


- Ah, good afternoon, sir; and how are we today?
- Better.
- Better?
posted by pracowity at 6:14 AM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pepsi VERYORANGE
posted by DU at 6:21 AM on July 29, 2009


I'm as fascinated as the next person about the prospect of dining at one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants, but in reviewing the menu, I didn't see one thing that I'd eat.

Hang about, what menu is this? This seems very unlikely.
posted by ninebelow at 6:22 AM on July 29, 2009


"We don't encourage people to overeat, we encourage them to help themselves."

I think this man used to work in the Bush Justice Department before he became a restauranteur.
posted by baxter_ilion at 6:27 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, in ten year, the Brits are going to be as big as us Americans?
posted by octothorpe at 6:31 AM on July 29, 2009


Hang about, what menu is this? This seems very unlikely.


London New York (try finding THAT in the Yellow Pages).

Click here for a <>Menu

I suppose I'd consider the Roasted Duck, if they could substitue...pretty much ANYTHING for the chicken liver rillette.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:37 AM on July 29, 2009


I love this:

The management say they can always spot first-timers because they totter around with ludicrously overloaded plates. "They generally calm down once the wow factor's gone,"
posted by primer_dimer at 6:41 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been to the Little Yang Sing - the bill made me feel very guilty, as I was taken out by the parents of someone I was about to finish with.

It was outweighed by the yummy, though.
posted by mippy at 6:41 AM on July 29, 2009


It'[s weird - in the capital, the recession-busting trend seems to be 'restaurants' in people's houses catered by foodies - outside, it's carvery food for low low prices.
posted by mippy at 6:43 AM on July 29, 2009


So, in ten year, the Brits are going to be as big as us Americans?

Nope. They still walk way more than we do.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:44 AM on July 29, 2009


Gordon Ramsey at the London menu. I'm pretty amazed, you don't like fish, seafood, venison or even chicken? That is actually a pretty simple high-end menu.
posted by ninebelow at 6:48 AM on July 29, 2009


In Blackburn we had pizza joints, McDonalds (KFC and Pizza Hut closed down) and some small cafes in the market that were only open three days a week. Then Frankie and Bennys opened, so we took my mother there. People I know in London (disclaimer: I work in advertising and colleagues of mine frequently get taken out to extremely nice restaurants) would scoff at this, but it meant we could go out for a meal and treat her and both she, my boyfriend and I really enjoyed it. It was probably the nicest place in town to go for something to eat, and the food was pretty good.

Taybarns isn't a classy joint, but I would bet Wigan is hardly overflowing with places to take out the family.
posted by mippy at 6:53 AM on July 29, 2009


in reviewing the menu, I didn't see one thing that I'd eat.

And what's wrong with Roasted loin of rabbit with braised endive, shallot confit, salsify and blood orange vinaigrette? Ginger poached Maine lobster with forest mushrooms, tarragon and leeks, white port sauce? Loin of venison with celeriac pavé, beetroot and apple strudel, ras el hanout ? Sounds good to me. If you're that picky, it must be hell to cook for you.
posted by splice at 6:54 AM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Okay, Rabbit/Bunny, totem, wouldn't eat it on a bet. I'll give you the lobster, I would eat that, but there's no starter I'd like, too much liver. Venison is a bit gamey to me, also, not a fan of the beetroot. The chicken sounded okay, but do I want to spend $110 on chicken?

I suppose I do have a pretty narrow taste profile. If someone else was paying, trust me I'd find something to eat and enjoy and I wouldn't cavil. But if I'm spending my own hard earned $$$ I'd rather do something seafoody.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:58 AM on July 29, 2009


Flaming Dragon is the business for me right now. Helps that it's not only on the way back from work but also has unlimited ice cream and the nicest black pepper chicken I've had in a long time. They bring round little bits and bobs for you whilst you are at your table and they'll cut you a bit of pork or beef or whatever. Amazing.

On the subject of lardiness - when I was in the US earlier this year we did brekkie at an "all you care to eat" restaurant most mornings (usually Ponderosa - got bless popcorn chicken and powdered mini-donuts with maple syrup for breakfast) and I put on about two stone (that's just about 30lbs/15kgs) in two weeks.

It's taken me about two months to dump the weight with exercise and dieting and that's an hour or two a day 5 times a week. Without wishing to turn this into a "poke-the-porkies" thread I can see how people lose control of their weight at places like this. I know when I walk in that I am probably going to stuff about a gazillion kcal into myself and I set myself up a little exercise debt for the next month to make sure it's balanced out.

Still haven't ever managed more than a single serving of that unlimited ice cream.
posted by longbaugh at 7:00 AM on July 29, 2009


Way ahead of ya. Warning: obnoxious background jingle in continuous play
posted by gimonca at 7:01 AM on July 29, 2009


An observation that depending on where the buffet is in the United States you can get some pretty tasty food indeed. Heck, I went to Vegas not to gamble but to eat buffets. Not to denigrate the buffets of other lands, I giggled with joy at the buffet at the Sheraton on the Gold Coast and oh, the buffets of Constantinople made me smile as well.

My experience of living and dining and in London was that the restaurants catering to the yuppies definitely didn't seem too family friendly either in pricing or hospitality (on par with San Francisco.) I was actually surprised to note that there didn't seem to be buffets outside of some curry houses and Chinese establishments. So, it is not surprising that buffets with traditional English foods has taken off like gangbusters with folks with kids. Man, I would have totally been down for an English buffet, just to add another notch on my buffet (wide and non-prejudicial) belt.

In the US, you will see restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory not take the buffet approach but the wide expanse of menu where you can take a party of people and kids and be sure that everyone will find something that they like. But the price is not as predictable as a buffet. Nothing beats a certain sense of surety for a host on price and choices.
posted by jadepearl at 7:02 AM on July 29, 2009


and I put on about two stone (that's just about 30lbs/15kgs) in two weeks...It's taken me about two months to dump the weight with exercise and dieting and that's an hour or two a day 5 times a week.

Nah. There's no way you put on 30 pounds in 15 days. That would require eating something like 8000 calories a day. That's Michael Phelps training for the Olympics kind of caloric intake. You know, an entire pizza and a couple protein shakes for breakfast kind of eating.

And if you somehow managed to do that there's no way you would have lost it in two months on 7 or 8 hours of exercise a week.
posted by Justinian at 7:08 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


The first time I went to a Golden Corral was quite a shock. Not from the size of the portions but from the size of the clientele. But I figure when Soylent Green starts being people, they're going to be some good eatin'.
posted by digsrus at 7:08 AM on July 29, 2009


God, buffets are gross. Everything's lukewarm and been sitting around for a while. That nice skin that forms on top, or else that lovely mucousy texture. Yum..... And then there's that incomparably pleasant every-food-blended-together smell that wafts up from the steam table. But hey, at least it's cheap! You can line up like hogs to the trough and feed your face until you can't stand up anymore.

Bah. If I needed cheap food, I'd rather just make a sandwich.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:09 AM on July 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's not that weird. I don't like seafood very much and I won't eat anything with foie gras because of the cruelty of its production. That leaves me a choice of a duck breast, a roasted chicken breast, or a venison loin.

None of which sound particularly thrilling. I mean, it's stuff I'd eat, but really I'd probably rather just not go.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:11 AM on July 29, 2009


Ah, England. Even if you can't be first in line to the throne, you can always be first in line at the buffet.
posted by grounded at 7:11 AM on July 29, 2009


In other news, all you can eat hookers.
posted by doublesix at 7:13 AM on July 29, 2009


I went to the US in 1999, when you could get supersize portions (not available in the UK then) and where we had to get driven to the local strip mall as it was literally impossible to navigate on foot. I imagine In and Out Burger actually isn't so bad for you in small portions, but believe me, all those buckets of McFries meant I was a dress size bigger when I got back to Heathrow.
posted by mippy at 7:14 AM on July 29, 2009


The management say they can always spot first-timers because they totter around with ludicrously overloaded plates. "They generally calm down once the wow factor's gone,"

You know, the crazy thing about the buffet experience is that if you're willing to use your own selection sense and portion control, you can get a pretty healthy dinner. The chain around here (linked above) usually has a broiled fish selection, steamed vegetables, whole grain rolls and a big salad bar with fresh items. Much better than the burger and fries route.

If you're willing and able, that is -- not everyone is. They also have the fried chicken, macaroni hot dish, endless soft-serve ice cream....
posted by gimonca at 7:16 AM on July 29, 2009


In other news, all you can eat hookers.

Yeah, um, not so much...

Massage beds and other furniture were found to be heavily soiled and one whirlpool was very dirty, said Christoph Palm, the mayor of Fellbach. The way food had been stored had also broken hygiene regulations, he said. In one case police had found evidence pointing to forced prostitution, he added.
posted by chillmost at 7:25 AM on July 29, 2009


the restaurants catering to the yuppies definitely didn't seem too family friendly

Well, obviously.

There are plenty of family pub and restaurant chains in the Uk, you just tend to find them in the sort of places tourists don't go.
posted by ninebelow at 7:25 AM on July 29, 2009


I have seen a lot of kids at Wagamama, many of which are in touristy areas. However, I imagine some families are put off by it being 'messy food'. I had a friend as a teenager who would not try any 'foreign food', including pizza, and that could be a worry for parents of fussy kids. It's also a lot more expensive than places like Taybarns for a family.
posted by mippy at 7:32 AM on July 29, 2009


Here's a serious question --

How long until the cost of dining goes down? In NYC, we've already seen restaurant week extended and prix fixe menus become more common. Apparently, fine wines are becoming cheaper. How long until food does the same?

In the e. village, Japanese noodle shops have become all the rage, and those are a great source of cheap and delicious -- if not quite healthy -- food. However, I don't know if this is due to a greater appreciation of cheap food or the fact that the EV has become sort of a center for the Japanese population in NYC.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:39 AM on July 29, 2009


Join us for ★ Texican now ★
Saucy hot spicy
Ariba Ariba
Chicken-Vegetables-Jalapeños-Chilli con carne
Rice-Fajitas-Nachos-Cheese Sauce-Salsa
posted by Nelson at 7:56 AM on July 29, 2009


Aw man, longbaugh, I was coming here to rave about the wonder of Flaming Dragon and the roast-meat-on-a-skewer dinnertime delights, but you've beaten me to it.

The Nottingham branch (which I think might be the first one) is utterly divine. Aside from the roast meat, and aside from the delicious Chinese food, and aside from the even more delicious desserts (mango sago and coconut pudding all the way), they also do glorious teppanyaki with fresh squid.

Man, do I need to visit again soon.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:59 AM on July 29, 2009


Also, I love those Brazilian places where gouchos come around with meat on a skewer. So salty, so meaty...
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:09 AM on July 29, 2009


Urh, this makes me boke. I can't stop thinking about the disgusting food my school used to serve, and the way people like Paddy and 50p shovelled it onto their plates and then into their mouths. They would have died a glorious death at Taybarns, and memorials would have been erected in their honor. It was so gipping I took a packup to eat in the yard, despite being entitled to free school meals. I can't stand to watch people overeat, and you won't see me in one of these places any time soon.


So, in ten year, the Brits are going to be as big as us Americans?

WE'RE NUMBER TWO! WE'RE NUMBER TWO!

Wait, that don't sound so good...
posted by Sova at 8:29 AM on July 29, 2009


Rule of thumb: A restaurant called anything *barns is one step away from being called "The Feedbag."
posted by contessa at 8:38 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gordon Ramsey at the London menu.

Oh, don't spoil the illusion for me. I've always pictured a Gordon Ramsey menu as starting off something like:

Fucking Risotto, Yeah? You Muppet.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:58 AM on July 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Rule of thumb: A restaurant called anything *barns is one step away from being called "The Feedbag."

Here is Dallas, there is in fact a restaurant by that name. My husband used to like it, I refused to eat there.

Buffets make you feel like you're getting a bargain, even if, on reflection, you really didn't save that much for what you paid. Their saving grace is if they provide decent unlimited salads, and free drink refills, which seem to be a foreign idea outside the American Midwest. The Jason's Deli chain here in Texas is not technically a buffet, just an upscale sandwich joint, but even they have unlimited drink refills, free soft-serve, and don't really care if you snag free crackers/tiny corn muffins/carrots from the salad bar for your toddler.

If one or more members of your party is made up of perpetually-ravenous teenagers, however, a Chinese or pizza or mexican buffet is a godsend. Once my enormously tall three-year-old fulfills his promise of becoming 6 foot tall by the time he's 13, like his dad, I expect we'll be spending lots of time in them.
posted by emjaybee at 9:22 AM on July 29, 2009


Rule of thumb: A restaurant called anything *barns is one step away from being called "The Feedbag."

Exception to this rule.
posted by yarrow at 9:58 AM on July 29, 2009


Meh. That place is no Mandarin Buffet with its occasional outbreaks of all-you-can eat crab and/or lobster.

Of course, every time I go to mandarin I feel the earth shudder a bit as some small ecosystem dies to provide for the restaurant that night. I expect that in a hundred years Mandarin will serve most hoisin Riftia pachyptila or somesuch.
posted by GuyZero at 10:41 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Meh. That place is no Mandarin Buffet with its occasional outbreaks of all-you-can eat crab and/or lobster.

My wife, God bless her, wanted to have our wedding rehearsal dinner at the Yonge and Eglinton Mandarin. I talked her out of it by pointing out that no-one in my family would have been able to move for two days after being unleashed in that place.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:51 AM on July 29, 2009


As a resident of one of the fattest states in this fat nation, I draw the line at Golden Corral (I call it "The Trough"). And I cheerfully eat prefab garbage all the time and enjoy it. I just can't do Golden Corral. They have super-wide wheelchairs available for guests who might require assistance navigating the steaming rows of crap food. No joke. Jesus Christ. The only thin people in Golden Corral are the servers who walk thirty miles a day filling up vats of soda to take to some lumbering behemoth too busy cramming butterscotch pudding into his gaping maw to be bothered to refresh his Mt. Dew.

I also see it as a perversion of the tradition of quality meat-and-three buffets we have always had: family-owned places out near the farmer's market that serve fresh local vegetables in a myriad of ways. For the same price I'd pay at the Trough, I could have salmon croquettes and collard greens and fried okra at Nikki's, eat myself stupidly full, and not feel like I'd just failed at life.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:55 AM on July 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I draw the line at Golden Corral (I call it "The Trough").

I agree with you, one thing that keeps me out of the place is the sheer shame of going in and admitting that I too, am a typical lard-ass American. (Of course I do go, periodically.)

The place that it's trying to emulate, as badly as it possibly can, is Matthew's Cafeteria in Tucker, GA, or Monell's in Nashville, TN.

Friday is fried chicken day.

Now I'm jonesing for biscuits and peach preserves.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:59 AM on July 29, 2009


Suddenly, I really miss Mary Mac's. Those gigantic Yorkshire puddings do give sweet tea, meat, n three a run for its money, though.
posted by crataegus at 12:11 PM on July 29, 2009


Hey, Mary Mac's. I used to go there.

Now I live in Athens, GA, where we have Weaver D's (Automatic for the People!), and that's as good a meat and three as any.

Some months ago these 2 French dudes came to interview my husband about his line of work. While they were here, they said they wanted to try some real American/regional food. Food that said "Athens, GA." I was at a loss (all the Soul Food places were closed), so I went to the thrift store next to the 40-Watt and asked the guy who worked there where to go. He thought for a minute and said "When we go out to eat, we drive to Winder. There's a Golden Corral there."

I nearly had a fit. These guys come all the way from France and you want me to take them to the GOLDEN CORRAL? That's the best you can do? Why don't I just save time and just stay here and spit in their mouths? Or they can come back to my house and eat that brown, withered crust in the bottom of the crisper drawer. Bleh!

It wasn't until much later that I realized the thrift store guy was right. Ain't nothin' more American than all you can eat. We take that -- "all you can eat" -- as a challenge here.

We ended up taking them to Five Star Day, which is fine.
posted by staggering termagant at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2009


I used to love the all you can eat breakfast buffet at Shoney's. I've lost about 30 pounds (down to 155 lbs) and my stomach has shrunk accordingly, so the all you can eat price isn't worth it anymore. But the wonderful memories still live with me.
posted by Daddy-O at 1:17 PM on July 29, 2009


Can I give a shout out to those Indian lunch places in the Northern Quarter around Thomas Street? Dirt cheap and absolutely delicious.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:57 PM on July 29, 2009


Mmmmm.. British cuisine. Pile it on, baby: Meat pies, steak and kidney pasties, gravy, brain pudding, industrially-greased casseroles. Can't be beat, and all you can eat!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:25 PM on July 29, 2009


In my whole life I have visited Golden Corral twice, and neither time by personal choice. It is a temple to gluttony. I tried to restrain myself but 1 out of every 2 steam trays has some sort of carbohydrate bomb in it (and so help me I do love some hush puppies). Luckily the desserts are pretty gross. On each occasion I felt like that guy in "The Meaning of Life" - you know, Mr. Creosote, the "wafer thin mint" man. In fact, that is what I whispered to myself when the orgy of eating was done. Wafer thin mint.
posted by contessa at 6:00 PM on July 29, 2009


Nah. There's no way you put on 30 pounds in 15 days. That would require eating something like 8000 calories a day. That's Michael Phelps training for the Olympics kind of caloric intake. You know, an entire pizza and a couple protein shakes for breakfast kind of eating.

And if you somehow managed to do that there's no way you would have lost it in two months on 7 or 8 hours of exercise a week.


Data point -- I lost 30lb in 45 days recently...I'm about 6'1" (185cm) and still have another 30+ to go. This involved roughly 6-8 hours of exercise per week and calorie / carbohydrate restriction.

I then spent 4 days at a cabin in the mountains with some friends and cut loose quite a bit, gaining 12lb back in that short amount of time. I lost that in another week.

Cheap food tends to be loaded with sodium, so water retention is a factor...and human bodies being as complex as they are, it's never as simple as calories taken minus calories burned, or at least our calculations cannot take everything into account. Typical American chain breakfasts can easily hit the 1,000-2,000 KCal range if you go for the "manly lumberjack" meals and all-you-can-eat can push you beyond that.

Then you're probably too stuffed for lunch (maybe just a 700 calorie Starbucks drink to pick you up and saturate your blood with sugar, which has just been wiped clean by a blast of insulin), but by dinner time your metabolism has begun to slow down and maybe you're surprisingly hungry and drop another huge log on the fire.
posted by aydeejones at 8:25 PM on July 29, 2009


Rule of thumb: A restaurant called anything *barns is one step away from being called "The Feedbag."

There is a restaurant here which refers to itself as a "chow cart."

It has a pretty good reputation, but it is without a doubt very cheap.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:38 PM on July 29, 2009


Inspired by this thread I went to my local all-you-can-eat - the misleadingly named Gourmet Buffet - last night. I felt proper wrong afterwards. Plus it was £8.90! Bloody London.
posted by ninebelow at 4:25 AM on July 30, 2009


brain pudding

Do you mean black pudding? That's made from blood.
posted by mippy at 8:03 AM on July 30, 2009


Only all-you-can-eat of which I'm aware, near me, is Han Mongolian BBQ. If it isn't crowded, I love the lack of waiting around for service. You put raw food on your plate, add from a selection of sauces, then hand it to someone who grills it together on a griddle, rather than a wok. I admit, I love eating. But damn, even I am disgusted by the way I see people there piling their plates high with meat! (Different deals include 1 plate full or unlimited). I like it because I can get my preferred blend of vegetables without any red/green/yellow peppers.

I can no longer imagine being that happy with most buffets. I'm picky about what I overeat, and prefer to do that with my own cooking.

When I lived in the UK, our favorite quick dine-out places were Toby's Carvery (good vegies) and a chain called something like Harvester (Golden Harvest?) that had a good hamburger. Washed down with bitter ale, of course (didn't you know, lager beer comes from urinals?).
posted by Goofyy at 11:35 AM on July 30, 2009


I took this photo in Manchester, which may add to the debate about the local 'cuisine'.
posted by Gentlemanhog at 7:44 PM on July 30, 2009


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