Where I ate:
Mister Wing, St. Helens Street, Ipswich
Anyone that knows me will know that I love Chinese and I love eating, so a Chinese buffet is well up my street. I hate those all you can eat places though – the food is usually bad, cold and the spoons have been used for various dishes. This totally isn’t the case at Mister Wing though. You pay a set price (£18.50 a head) and can eat as much as you like, the only difference is, it’s all cooked to order. There’s no getting up and wandering about, the waiters bring you the menus, you choose what you’d like, they take the menus away, the chefs cook the food, the waiters bring it to your table and repeat! It’s basically a smaller version of their a la carte menu – with around 80 dishes to choose from!
What I ate:
Mixed hors d'oeuvres (vegetable spring rolls, barbecue spare ribs, chicken satay, prawn toasts and crispy seaweed) and pepper & chilli squid, followed by crispy aromatic duck (half), followed by sizzling beef in black bean sauce, chicken with pineapple and plain chow mein
Okay, so I made the big mistake of filling up on starters so by the time the main course arrived, I was totally stuffed and even looking at the dishes appear, made me feel a little sick. I love mixed hors d'oeuvres and it’s something I always order because it’s nice to get a selection of different things. The seaweed is my favourite. With this buffet concept, there’s no point choosing the traditional platter, as all the starters come on one plate – you could choose a variety of unusual and different things – all for the same price. The squid arrived on the same platter and was beautiful - so well seasoned and crisp, I could have eaten a couple of portions of that alone.
We followed by a course of duck – ordering for two, we were met with a half and seven pancakes, definitely way too much. It was lovely watching the waiter shred the duck next to us, before serving and there was loads of left over. We could have done with more cucumber and onions really but it was lovely, nonetheless.
By this point I was totally stuffed, but I hoped I’d have room for a taster of the main dishes – so we chose one each, accompanied by a plain chow mein. Unfortunately all I managed was a piece of beef, a chunk of pineapple and a few beansprouts – despite piling my bowl full, of course. The food looked really nice – especially the sizzling beef on a hot plate, sauce spitting and all.
I really really wanted dessert but obviously had no room – so I’ll have to go back for banana fritters and ice cream.
It’s incredible value, like I said earlier at £18.50 each. I worked out we had about £43 worth of food between us, although I think it’d be better suited to larger parties where you can share more dishes between you. The service was excellent throughout and while the decor was slightly dated, it added to the charm of the restaurant. There was a lovely, relaxed ambience and it was nice we could order and eat at our leisure – there was no rushing around and certainly no trying to get rid of us. More buffet-style restaurants need to be more like Mister Wing.