Buffets, who loves them? Well a lot of people, which is why places like Buffet City and All Day 6 do so well in Exeter. There are really only two choices and they couldn’t be more different if you tried.
Buffet City has never appealed to me, I have always seen it as being the more expensive cousin of All Day 6 (in Palace Gate, down the hill from South Street). I don’t really want to spend much on Buffet food, no matter how nice it is, the cheaper option has always won me over. But then Chinese food in Britain is by nature, greasy and mostly the same sort of thing where ever you go. Samosas, Spring Rolls, Prawn Toasts, every sort of Chicken, deep friend stuff, sauces, rice, noodles etc. And yes, Buffet City has the usual sort of things; but take the usual and add to it.
Add a Sushi Bar, a Chef’s Specials Bar, Tenkaippin Bar, Desserts with ice cream machine, Curry Bar and well, the usuals. An absolutely amazing selection.
Its a funny place, especially when you know what it used to be. St Georges Market used to occupy the large space that Buffet City does now. I have distant memories of walking around with my grandmother, looking at the toy stalls and then later on walking around just before it closed looking at the last few sad looking stalls. Then it became Foodeaze, a strange conglomeration of deli and restaurant that was overpriced, badly located and without direction, and a few years ago it ended up becoming Buffet City.
The space that it occupies is large and open, its not overly warm as there is a large ceiling space, and it is dark as despite the large ostentatious chandeliers they don’t emit quite enough light to let you see what you’re actually eating. But it is pleasant to look at generally, there are fish tanks and it does have a modern feel to it.
The service is good, but the rather stern looking manager’s strutting around eyeballing the diners was quite off-putting. The waiter who took us to our table asked if we had been before, he then explained how it worked and away we went. Simple.
Buffet City has its house-rules like any buffet restaurant. The one thing, and certainly its biggest negative is the pricing structure. Lunchtimes are cheaper, but a different menu. Evenings are more expensive, but this varies on the day you go. Saturday night prices are £11.95 per person (most expensive evening). If it wasn’t for the fact that we came with a BOGOF voucher, I would not have been happy paying that much for buffet food.
I have given it 4/5 because as an experience it was a good one. The decor was nice, the service was friendly and the food was tasty, but it looses my favour for the price of what they are serving. Buffet food is essentially food that has been lying around and is not fresh, it has been fingered by strangers and is essentially canteen food, even though the taste is far beyond anything that you would get in a canteen.
Great as a treat if you love Buffet style food. Correct at time of publication (March 2013)
Monday: 11:45am – 4:30pm (£5.95 per person)
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:45am – 4:30pm (£6.50 per person)
Monday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm (£10.95 per person)
Friday – Saturday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm (£11.95 per person)
Sunday: All Day (£8.95 per person)
Bank Holidays additional £1 per person.