Friday, March 12, 2010

Buffet a Gogo

The happening food thing of the moment, it seems, is the buffet à volonté. I've just come back from La Rose de Shanghai in St Gély du Fesc, a restaurant serving Asiatic specialités, and it's been totally transformed into a buffet joint.

It was my youngest's choice. My eldest is at a school 'boum' (party) until the glamorously late time of 9.30pm so I thought it would be nice for my youngest to have a treat too. He wanted to go to La Rose de Shanghai. We've been there many times over the years, but haven't been recently mainly because the last time we went the service was so long we nearly took root.

Not being in a hurry tonight, then, was the perfect occasion to give it another go, and to our surprise found it had acquired a terrasse, and a buffet along one wall. The menu is now very simple. You have the prices for the buffet according to age and time of day, a wine list and an apero list, and that's it:  €12.50 at lunch time, €18.50 in the evening, €19.50 on weekend evenings, and different prices for younger diners.

I found it terrific because I love trying small quantities of different things, I love taking my time and I enjoy going up time after time to pick at something else. No longer do you have to choose the same dish because you dread not liking a different one and thus risk ruining your evening. No longer do you have to look aghast at the huge quantities brought to you in metallic dishes that you know you'll never finish.

You eat what you like, in what order you like, when you like, and for a euro de plus you get 25cl of wine.

I spoke to the owner and told him how much I liked the new formula. He said they've been open as a buffet for 4 months now and they are doing 3-4 times as much business as they used to, lunch time and dinner. I asked how they'd come to the decision to change, and he said it's working all over France, so they decided to give it a go too.

I'm sure they made money out of my youngest and me, but I'm not so sure about the people at the next table who'd stuffed their plates to overflowing, had a full meal on the table at once, and then went back for more. I think they were determined to get their money's worth. I just wanted to come out feeling I'd eaten, but not to bursting.

There were other young diners with a parent or two. It's a nice friendly place and you can take your kids there with no problem. Outside I saw a snazzy Porche and a car park full of cars, and if we hadn't gone early, we would have had trouble getting a table!

The buffet's the way to go. A tes marks...

1 comment:

  1. That sounds ideal.
    There's nothing like that - well, nothing at all really - round here but I do remember Sally Line buffets years ago where everything was so well prepared and presented and,as you say, you could just pick at bits ands pieces.


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