The doorman stepped out of our way and we walked in to the building. We were stood in a brightly lit corridor; to our right was a door way that led to the section of the restaurant that we had seen through the window. Directly in front of us was a set of stairs leading upwards. We headed towards the door way on the right and before we could make our way in the doorman yelled out,
“Buffet, take stairs!”
As we approached the stairs I noticed a huge piece of paper stuck to the wall on our left. Written in bright red across the sheet of paper was a message that put an end to our cunning little plan :-
14 Dish Buffet – Only Â£4.99 – Basement. All Other Buffet Upstairs
I reassured my sister that if we went upstairs we could still order two meals from the Â£5.60 and one from the Â£7.90.
Up we went until we came to a landing. To the right of the landing was a doorway and posted above it was another sign.
Â£5.60 Buffet Here
Our plan had been thwarted but we were still undeterred. We continued to move up. The further up we got the darker it seemed to get and the more off white the floor tiles appeared. Somehow I managed to convince myself that the tiles only looked this way because the stair case got plenty of use. Plenty of use meant busy restaurant with many diners. Many diners was a good sign, firstly because people obviously liked the place and secondly it meant that the buffet food was constantly being refreshed to keep up with their satisfied many customers.
Finally we got to the end of the stairs and right in front us was yet another doorway and a sign telling us we had reached the Â£7.90 buffet.
We walked in and my sister noted that her feet were sticking to the floor. We were still debating whether to leave when a waiter appeared and huddled us straight in. He rushed us past the buffet food and sat us down on a long table which was currently occupied by two other people but had room for another 8. As we sat down the waiter, in one breath, asked us what we would like to drink and told us we had to pay before we ate. We paid him and he went to get our drinks.
In between the wait I had time to soak in the atmosphere. I had already noticed that the room was tiny. It could probably seat 15 people comfortably but they had managed to squeeze in 30 by making sure that there was only room for person to walk sideways between the tables. Thankfully the room was so dark I was unable to clearly make out exactly how many little pieces of chewed up bone had been left behind by the person on the table to my left.
The drinks arrived (Coke all round), no glasses, just the cans and lukewarm too. We got up to serve and realised that the food was not labelled in English. I served the stuff I recognised as rice (it was white and mushy), ribs (they were shaped like rectangles and looked pinky-red) sweet and sour something (battered stuff in a neon red sauce).
The food was awful. It was cold, it was bland, the rice was more like dough, the ribs were just dried pig fat on a bone, the sweet and sour did not taste like any meat I have ever eaten and I have eaten most animals including giraffe and zebra.
It did occur to me ask for a refund but I noticed yet another sign on the wall,
Refund will not be issued after first plate
We left shortly after.