Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Update from YVR- Shabusen

Stuck in airport traffic and feening for a buffet, I'm thinking about Shabusen and their all-u-can-eat for dinner for $23.99. Vancouver has two locations, one on Granville/14th, the other on Burrard somewhere downtown. I went to the Granville location. The service was quick and decent, except for being served unwanted stinky pickled organ meat(man some of the food they eat is fucked up!), and the food seemed fresh and tasted fine. There's all kinds of sashimi, sushi and meat dishes. You can cook your own food on the table bbq. My favorite self-bbq dish were the pork ribs. They charge extra for drinks, and each refill costs more, so stick to the water and tea if you're cheap. If you're really cheap, there is an all-u-can-eat lunch menu for only 13.99, which is essentially the same deal as dinner, except with fewer seafood options. Anyways I'm not going to go into greater detail, I just wated to say I highly reccomend this place. Stay tuned for a potential Mandarin buffet review as I am currently on my way to Toronto, just waiting in the Vancouver airport terminal as it shits snow outside. I better get out of here!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Its cold as fuck in Victoria. From all of us at the Victoria Buffet Blog, have a beautiful and wonderful christmas holiday.


Monday, December 15, 2008

J J Morgan Family Restaurant, 1520 McKenzie Avenue, Victoria B.C -- (250) 721-2188

Snow Day 2008 kicked off with a blast. We planned on going to Cowichan Bay to visit a 150 item hotel brunch buffet, we even had reservations, but vehicle complications and a shitty Malahat denied us the opportunity. So we had to settle on a long time Victoria favorite, the JJ Morgan Sunday Brunch Buffet. Long revered for its quality to price ratio, the JJ Morgan experience is one usually enjoyed by the plethora of senior citizens who call the Shelbourne/McKenzie area their home. However, being the frigid day that Dec. 14 was, many of our blue-haired friends decided to stay home and order meals on wheels and play crib, rather than trekking through the cold, wintery weather. They chose a good day to stay home because this buffet was shite. 

The chicken was good, I give them that. I always loved their sweet BBQ skinned chicken, thats always moist and tender, with the perfect balance of seasoning. But the roast beef was fuckin' off man. It could have been overcooked, or just a bad roast, because it was so tough to eat. Even though it looked like it was cooked well, I could stab the meat without even piercing it. It was way to tough to consume. I don't understand how a senior citizen could eat this stuff.

The scalloped potatoes were alright, the croissants were delightfully extra crispy, and the bacon was terribly old and burnt. Sausages were small, average at best, but the potato salads and cold pasta salads were very good as far as cold salad entrees go. Really, this buffet was lacking a serious entree dish like a pasta, or some sort of serious meat dish. There were eggs benedict for all of you people who would kill for your sunday morning bennies.  They were served on little pancakes instead of english muffins.

This is the third or fourth time I've been here, and this is easily the most disappointing visit, but for the price of $12.99, it won't hurt you're feelings to badly. 


Like a nervous mother, JJ Morgan's tends to overcook their food. Blackened bacon and crusty croissants are a major disappointment; no matter how cheap your buffet is. A lack of berry compote for the pancakes, and no jam for the croissants only furthered my distaste for this buffet. Scalloped potatoes lifted my spirits for a fleeting moment, but I was brought back down to earth after dry heaving on an eggs benedict. 

I suppose you get what you pay for, but J.J. Morgans ended up being a little cheaper than I had hoped for.  Too many standard items were missing, and too many other items were overcooked or under-palatable. If only the food was as exciting and playful as the bizarre "snow" blowing plastic christmas tree in their dining room.

ED SUM CHIMES THE FUCK IN !!!! !!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I have an iron gut. There are certain foods which can be burnt and still taste good. While it may not reflect well on the chef's part, burnt bacon is a must on top of eggs, and on salads; it just adds to the crunch and taste. That was the part of enjoying Snow Day 2008 with the guys. 

After feasting on the veggies, it was time to dive in on the meats. The chicken was okay but was a touch on the drier side than saucier. The roast beef was okay too, but it wasn't bloody enough to be classified as rare. It was more like medium rare, and when topped with heaping amounts of gravy and horse-radish, it was good. On its own, it'll take some convincing to finish off the plate, but I did.


If it wasn't for the vicious trek in the snow, I don't think the food would have tasted as good as it did, and that is not to say that they tasted good.

OK, JJ Morgans does have its highlight item, namely the eggs benny and the BBQ'd chicken; and a few rounds later I was loading up myself with potato salads and egg salads of sorts, which was when I realized all of these are appetizer items. Like, where's the damn entree? I guess that slab of roasted meat at the end of the line is supposed to be the entree, but the look of that meat just doesn't seem so appetizing. Skip!

On the other hand, I was delightfully surprised by the desserts menu. I mean, they have enough desserts here to keep Guy happy, and that in itself is no small accomplishment. Although a bite into the watermelon tells a different story, that of a bland fruit nobody wanted to pick up at the market, somehow making its way to the kitchen for little or no cost, and somehow end up on a buffet plate and into the growling mouth of a bunch of hungry students with millions of taste buds crying out loud for some mercy...and the millions of taste buds have once again been ignored...

Overall it wasn't such a bad meal, although leaving a pitcher of water on our table or giving us actually glasses to drink out of wouldn't be a bad gesture either. For the kind of food and service I received, I wouldn't pay anymore than 9 bucks for this.

Price For Sunday Brunch(11am-2pm): $12.95

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Paisley, 880B Esquimalt Road, Esquimalt, B.C -- 250-380-1105

It's an exciting time to love buffets in Victoria. They seem to be sprouting up at an astonishing pace, and all-you-can-eat Sunday brunches are a dime a dozen. But one thing that isn't very common in Victoria, are western style buffets that offer something ordinary, while being exotic at the same time.

The Paisley is a protein heavy buffet, that offers a few simple, but satisfying dishes. Their shake and bake chicken is juicy, and their use of dark meat is rampant. Savory bangers soaking in gravy also soothe the stomach, and are eerily tender; melting in your mouth.  There is also rice and some sort of Indian sliced beef. If you need a quick pasta fix, fill up on penne!

The buffet could have used more items, but the price is right for what you get. A nice little selection of hot entrees for ten bucks; you can't go wrong if you're in the Esquimalt area, begging for a buffet that doesn't offer sweet and sour pork. 


Imagine Boston Pizza teaming up with your mom to serve a buffet, but they cut a deal to only buy from CostCo. If you can wrap your mind around that, you'll understand what the Paisley lunch buffet tastes like: adequate. There are no standouts at this buffet, but there is nothing particularly disgusting either.

The sausages in gravy had been marinating so long it was hard to discern whether or not they still had casing, but damn it if Ed Sum didn't knock back at least ten of those yoghurty little dandees. The beef in the stirfry was dry, but passable, and the pasta sauce for the penne had just enough flavour to let you know what it would taste like at somewhere other than a family restaurant. If I ate this food at a friend's house, I would be satisfied with it–and that's where service comes into place. The service at Paisley is excellent; we showed up with 10 minutes of buffet time left and the staff had no problem keeping it open late for us. The staff is so nice here that you might as well be at your best friend's house for Sunday dinner: because of that I'm willing to live with the generally lacklustre buffet items. The End.

Price For Lunch(Mon to Fri, 11-1:30): $9.99 plus tax

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Actually it's not all that exciting: the Blanshard Street location of Raymond's Restaurant is for sale.

Details here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Zap Thai, 1207 Esquimalt Road, Esquimalt B.C - - (250) 389-1845

Zap Thai is a sardine-can establishment that offers the only Thai food buffet in the city. Shockingly enough, it escaped my radar for over two years, and has been serving up buffet to thousands of hungry patrons during their busy lunch hour. The unorthodox layout of the buffet turns the line into a game of twister between cooks and customers. There were many times when I had to go behind the counter to grab some Thai spring rolls, narrowly missing water jug yielding waitresses.

There were only six items, and lucky for me, the only two Thai food items I really enjoy were there. Pad Thai, spring rolls, red curry, coconut curry, some sort of beef and vegetable stew and steamed rice were readily available and piping hot. The items were replaced frequently, and the spring rolls were pretty good, stuffed with some sort of transparent vermicelli.
The Pad Thai was what you would expect from any take-out restaurant. I would have liked to see bigger chunks of tofu, and maybe some beef, but it filled my craving.
The red and coconut curry were fairly decent. Just make sure you put enough steamed rice down to soak in the curry runs.

The selection at Zap Thai is a little meager, but for the small size of the restaurant I would say they are fair. Often, I have payed too much for take-out Thai food, only to discover the dishes bursting at the seams with bean sprouts, especially Pad Thai. Coming to Zap Thai ensures that I will get what I want for just a little over ten bucks, but still leaves me wanting more.

Price for Lunch, Fridays only: $11.75

EDIT: Price listed at $10.50 as of July 31, 2009.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Buffet Report

Since the buffet blog does not have celebrity traffic, I figure it may be time to start giving a little more to my faithful followers.

First lets start with Side Dish, a Persian restaurant on Langley Street in downtown Victoria. Their website still claims to have a buffet, but as me and my fellow blog contributor Donald quickly figured out, their buffet no longer exists. We were pretty pissed off about this because we rushed downtown during our quick lunch break from school(we go to school at Hillside and Richmond) and barely found a parking spot. Upon entering Side Dish, we were told the bad news, and then persuaded into buying a lunch "special". There was nothing special about $9.50 for one lamb skewer, a scoop of plain white rice, and a few leafs of lettuce covered in italian dressing. When the buffet was going on, it apparently only cost eight bucks. Side Dish was a big-time rip off. I should also add that because the food took so long to cook, we had to request to-go containers, which really pissed off the cook. "This is a fucking restaurant," exclaimed the chef, who did not know I was literally inches away from him when he made the comment to his waitress. What the fuck were you doing for half an hour? My 8o year old Italian grandmother with swollen diabetes feet could have whipped up this Persian shit-icasy in half that time. What does it take to cook some plain rice and a lamb skewer?
Side Dish fails for wasting my time. It won't last long if their attitude does not change.

In happier news, something amazing is stirring up at Wharfside Eatery down on Wharf Street. According to their website, Wharfside has buffet aspirations. I'll keep an eye on this for you. For those of you that don't know, the Wharfside Eatery is a famous tourist trap that is also famous for its seafood. Lobster tails in a buffet line??? Its possible.

Also, I'm hitting up a Thai Buffet in Esquimalt tomorrow! Blog post will follow.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Marina Restaurant, 1327 Beach Drive, Victoria, B.C - - (250) 598-8555

The Oak Bay Marina is my favorite place to eat buffet. Not only do they offer several quality items, but they also offer a fun place to eat in a relaxed atmosphere with very friendly staff.
The idiot in the back of the above picture wearing the Canucks jersey is myself. I lost a hockey bet with my friend, and my punishment was to wear that jersey and pay for his meal. Even though the buffet was close to 35 bucks a head after taxes, I felt more of a burning sting after being forced to wear that shitty jersey.

The buffet line consists a wide spectrum of dishes; roast beef as seen above, typical breakfast fare including two types of eggs benedict and an omellete station, thai noodles, excellent sushi, and a generous selection of seafood.

There are many different types of salads as well.

Desert offers quite a few options. Blueberry and blackberry cheesecake, mousse, chocolate cake and fresh fruit only touch the tip of the iceberg in terms of selection.

The highlight for me was the seafood. Specifically the prawns.

Fresh and firm, the prawns were easy to peel and very refreshing.

The eggs benedict were one of a kind, rich and creamy. Thick breakfast sausages, while a shock to the system, were grilled to perfection.

Auggie tries to impress with a few prawns nestled beside a plop of cocktail sauce, a sliver of chicken breast, celery with a drizzle of blue cheese and cous-cous. Quite possibly the least impressive buffet plate ever created. I was not impressed.

Having visited this place several dozen times, the prawns never fail, but sometimes the main dishes do. On this particular occasion the main dishes were not overwhelming, but still good enough. The roast beef was on but the thai noodles were nothing special. The important thing is, nothing sucked. When you factor in very high quality seafood into a spectacular atmosphere, it's hard not to leave happy. The service was quick, polite, unobtrusive and helpful. Fresh squeezed juice comes with the buffet and the apple juice is great.

Price for Sunday brunch: $28.95 plus tax

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Breaking Buffet News (sort of)

I just picked up the latest Eat Magazine, and there's a little blurb in it regarding changes to BC Ferries' Pacific Buffet.

Here's the news as it appears in Eat:

BC Ferries is taking the sting out of rising fares and early morning commutes by giving their Pacific Buffet a complete overhaul. Fresh blueberries, a platter with goat and cow cheeses, edamame salad, lox and Indian Candy salmon are replacing the old menu standbys. New glass and plate ware present the changes elegantly. Thank manager of food and beverage Hans Zimmerman next time you find yourself on the ferry with a steaming cup of Salt Spring Coffee, a freshly made omelette with goat cheese, and a ruby red bowl of plump strawberries.

No mention of any changes to the dinner buffet, but I imagine there will be changes there as well. I have no idea what these changes mean for the price of the buffet... guess we'll just have to wait and see.

ps. Guy is back in Victoria, so expect a fresh review sometime soon. On behalf of Guy, and everyone else associated with the blog (namely me) thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dynasty Restaurant, 1320 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay, B.C -- (250) 703-2831

Dynasty Buffet in Courtenay has a wonderful homey feeling inside. The buffet table is perfectly smack dab in the middle of the restaurant(this makes it difficult to take pictures), and the seating arrangements make for easy access to the buffet table. The lighting is perfect, not to bright and not to dark, and provides the every day buffet goer with a much needed security blanket.

The buffet itself was very good, but not spectacular; I would compare it to Szechuan City on Burnside in Victoria, with a little less meat; however, one item simply blew me away: elongated spring rolls, possibly the best tasting spring rolls I have ever eaten in my entire life. They were so damn crispy, flavourful, and full of oily cabbagy goodness.

They also had Kung Pao Chicken, a well known dish, but not an always offered dish(I'm not sure why). It was basically red peppers and celery with sweet and spicy white meat chicken. The chicken was very moist.

The prawns were delicious. I am a sucker for prawns at a buffet, even if they are from a frozen bag. These prawns held up and had a great fleshy texture. No grainyness to speak of.

A couple of the fried items, the chicken balls and deep fried prawns, were a little chewy and overbattered, and the sweet and sour pork was standard but still a little tough. Shanghai noodles were average, but still a nice option to have. Dynasty had four types of chow mein to choose from: house, singapore, shanghai and vietnamese.

There were also the buffet staples like onion rings, fried squid and chicken wings

They even had a nice pizza option that I think my Victoria colleage Donald would have appreciated. It was just a simple pizza shell with pepperoni and cheese, but sliced into nice bite sized pieces that don't overwhelm as you consider other items to complement this pizza suprise.

The Mandarin style pork loins offered another reason as to why I compare this buffet to Szechuan City. It was almost a carbon copy, and was very good, although a little saucy. It's a good idea to eat this delicacy in proportion.

This was an above decent buffet. I have to admit, it kind of reminded me of a poor man's Szechuan City(BURNSIDE LOCATION ONLY), but it also had a couple of unique items like pizza and Vietnamese style chow mein. Also, the egg rolls are the best I've tasted yet, and the prawns were better then Szech's. The service was alright, but there were some moments when my drink was empty and I was dieing for relief. This was a bit of an annoyance considering there were 2 waitresses and only 3 tables with people. But if your in Courtenay, and want a buffet, this is your place.

Price for Dinner: 12.95

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Popseys Restaurant, 1090 Ironwood Street, Campbell River, B.C - - (250) 286-4828

It took me one month of driving past the big white banner to realize the word BUFFET was attached to the end of it. A combination of blaring sun, and a lifetime of being used to seeing roast beef and yorkshire NIGHT banners, is what caused the delay, but here we are.

The decor was beautiful. Wood tables and chairs, and nice coffee cups, and absolutely gorgeous curtains made me feel like momma was cookin' for me round the bend. Oh my god this place was AMAZING. The people were friendly and it felt like I was eating in rural Montana.

The first section of the buffet was the salads. Two types of potato salad, traditional and red, with green pepper, onion and cucumber salad and a wonderful looking fruit medley. I tried the potato salad, and it tasted like what potato salad tastes like. I really have to commend Popseys on their presentation.

In the main entree section, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes and garlic-cheese scalloped potatoes sat alongside carrot and cauliflower mash and several better tasting items.

The carrot and cauliflower mash was bland and boring yet understandable considering it is typically used as a side dish during a roast beef dinner, which is what this buffet was. The abundance of potato dishes can also be alluded to the roast beef dinner equation. I was a little upset over this fact, but not entirely disturbed.

The lasagna pictured in the bottom right container was top notch, and homemade. It was topped generously with mozzarella, and the beef was moist and had an orange, oily glisten; always a good sign for taste.

The buffet also had a trio of oriental dishes, including original versions of chow mein and fried rice, and an accidental Kentucky Fried Chicken taste-a-like. The sweet and sour chicken was perfectly crispy and glorious in terms of taste, almost mocking the taste of KFC's boneless wings.

The carving station was also glorious. The roast beef was almost perfect, just cooked a little under medium, and was injected with garlic. If you look above, in the bottom left corner of the picture there is a white heater with a pair of tongs in it. There was turkey meat, dark and white separated, with stuffing in it.

Around the corner was a little station featuring both chicken and beef gravy, as well as homemade horseradish, mustard and cranberry salsa. The cranberry salsa was one of a kind, and the yorkshire puddings were abundantly displayed (I don't like Yorkshire pudding, but I heard some "mmm's" from the old people eating beside me).

All in all Popseys was a positive, but not an overwhelming experience. The food was average, apart from a few flaws in the potato department, and a carrot/cauliflower puke-mash, but there were a couple of nice surprises. The roast beef was also very good, but it would have been nice if a number of the potato dishes were substituted with meat. This is an extremely filling buffet!

Price for Dinner SUNDAY ONLY: $12.95 + tax

Saturday, July 5, 2008

China Kitchen, 1891 Island Hwy, Campbell River, B.C - - (250) 286-6776

The word heading into this adventure, was not a good one. Having read two or three severely negative reviews on the internet, I was expecting China Kitchen to be a shit hole of astronomic proportions; possibly even granting "Wings" status (for those of you who have not heard of Wing's buffet in Victoria, it is a local legend in terms of it's atrociousness).

As you can see by the first plate, the food does not look like absolute shit. The sweet and sour pork was crunchy and sweet, the ginger beef was decent and the noodles reminded me of the Wonder Wok golden years. The deep fried prawns were nothing special but also nothing to complain about. For it's small size, the buffet managed to provide a satisfactory selection of items. The only major flaw with the available items, was the scarceness of chicken in the chicken balls. It was not until later during my first plate that my appetite went south.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, there was a six inch hair fused into one of my sweet and sour pork pieces. I know what your thinking. This kind of stuff happens all the time right? I shouldn't be too hard on China Kitchen. Well, the truth is, this is the first time I have ever experienced a hair during my buffet eating years, and it made me feel queasy.

I chose not to dine any further but still managed to snap some shots of the buffet line. The word "lacking" comes to mind when looking at it. Even though I commend China Kitchen's green initiative for only putting out food when it was needed, I think it might get annoying for customers to have to wait for food to be put out all the time, especially considering the average lunch break is only 45 minutes. Throughout the duration of my visit, customers routinely asked the waitress when more food would be available, and seemed concerned they were not getting their money's worth.

In fact, the celery chicken in the bottom left tray was not changed at all.

I think the main problems with China Kitchen are caused by their lack of customers. I walked into the restaurant once before during regular buffet hours and was greeted by a waitress who eagerly wanted to seat me but did not have a buffet to offer due to lack of customers. I also drive by the restaurant every day and rarely ever see cars parked outside. Whats the point of putting out a buffet if its going to sit and go to waste? Its possible that China Kitchen did not expect to have that many customers the day that I went, and could be the reason why putting out food was difficult for them. Then again, it could also be a lack of staff or just cheapness, who knows. The point is the food quality was alright until I found the hair, and they don't put out enough food when its needed.

Price for Lunch: $10.20

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Raymond's Restaurant — C4 100 Aldersmith Place — View Royal — (250) 381-6668

The first thing you see as you approach Raymond's is the warning on the door: something along the lines of "We have the right to remove you after an hour and forty-five minutes". The only way I'm staying in Raymond's longer than forty-five minutes is if I'm getting latered on bargain-basement tequila shots.

Raymond's has a plethora of Western and Chinese menu items — in fact it's one of the few places in the area that you'll find a full Western buffet. Unfortunately for the consumer, Raymond's monopoly on the local Western-style buffet market has resulted in lackadaisical line care.

The chili looked like it had been sitting untouched for close to an hour (we started eating at 6:30), and despite a sign asking you not to carve your own ham, no one was manning the ham station. The macaroni and cheese was overcooked, and the store-bought perogies weren't even Cheemo. If I'm paying $16 dollars for a buffet, I want to at least get premium store-bought, and I don't want radioactive bacon bits. The bacon bits on the perogies seriously looked like strawberry pixie stick dust.

I do have to commend Raymond's for their inventiveness though: nowhere else will you find "Hawaiian Schnitzel". Hawaiian Schnitzel is schnitzel topped with half a pineapple round and melted, processed cheddar. Surprisingly this was one of the more appetizing Western options. There were few stand-outs from the Western side of Raymond's buffet. The maple ribs were worthy of seconds, but most of the other items were lukewarm and uninviting.

On to the Chinese fare then...

The Chinese items were even more neglected than the western items. The "crispy ginger beef" tasted like it had been battered with wet chewing gum, and the beef had a delightful distressed tire consistency.

The honey garlic ribs had been sitting so long that the honey had crystallized. The chow mein was dry, and the battered salmon tasted like dead prostitute flesh.

The rest of the buffet would have been about standard, and some of the items could have even been memorable, but Raymond's just doesn't rotate items effectively.

Raymond's dessert options are slightly better than their main course fare, but they still lack TLC. The ice cream machine is top-notch, the cookies decent, and the Jell-O standard, but man is the cake crusty. You know how you always hear about old ladies being found in their houses weeks after passing away, with dogs nibbling at their feet? Well this cake was almost dry enough to be the cake found on the kitchen table in one of those houses.

Raymond's isn't as bad as a Wing's or as banal as a Chinese Village, but there is a glaring lack of pride on show here. The service is good, and the waitresses pleasant, but the neglected food trays taste like leftovers, and you know these guys could be doing better. There are next to no standout dishes, and the salad bar was almost the only thing that looked fresh at dinner hour.

If Raymond's was a women, she'd be a midnight princess — okay in a pinch, but you'd never introduce her to your mother.

Taylor Martin CHIMES IN!

Raymond's Esquimalt has got selection, but no class, no personality, and lukewarm Frankenstein dishes. Once considered Esquimalt's claim to fame — Raymond's has got potential, but is ultimately hampered by a number of curiosities. I noticed one too many radiant, iridescent colours. Neon pink bacon bits... the blinding glow of the orange-yellow mango mousse... the processed cheese on my Hawaiian schnitzel. Everything had a bright MSG sheen. Also; I want to help myself to fountain pop. Aside from the clearing of tables, buffets should be self serve. I don't to wait on a meandering waitress. When I need a refill I need it now. Lastly the coconut jello was horrible and tasted like a waterlogged chunk of Styrofoam.

I give Raymond's props for a few things. While the selection is fairly routine, there is a high number of dishes available. I appreciate the Western and Chinese sections. The Hawaiian schnitzel is actually a real treat. At first glance it appears to be a Kraft cheese single atop a slice of baked pork, however, the first bite reveals a tasty surprise, nestled between the pork and cheese is a donut shaped pineapple slice, hence the "Hawaiian." An island splash on what would have otherwise been a dull pairing. This shows me the staff knows how to have a bit of fun and aren't afraid to "mix it up." Found in the western section the Hawaiian Schnitzel is a cleverly original item that manages to remain distinctly western.

Raymond's Esquimalt is a relatively cheap place to get drunk. Domestic beer is $3.95 and tequila shots are an outstanding $3.80. And that proves to be the kicker, I recommend this buffet if you find yourself with a big appetite for a lot of the usual. A few pleasant and not so pleasant surprises await.

Price for dinner: $15.95+tax on weekends and holidays
$13.95+tax on weekdays