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


dk said...

Those empty trays are even worse than Raymond's.



travisl said...

I don't see any contact info for the Buffet King of Victoria :-) so I gotta ask here: I'm planning a trip for about 45 very cheap people to Victoria in September. We're looking for a buffet for dinner on a Saturday night. What would you recommend that could handle a larger crowd and is still open after sunset?

Gaetano said...

the best place to go would be crystal jade. the food is decent the last time i checked, and they can handle crowds(every time i go, there seems to be a different tour bus parked outside). i would suggest calling them before you go, and make a reservation.
it is located where the old uncle willy's used to be(if you know where that is) on 801 Vernon Street, (250)388-0299. one downfall is that it comes close to 18 bucks a person after taxes for dinner on the weekend.

if you want cheap and good, try calling Purple Garden. they are further into town, and are located in a sheltered parking lot behind the mcdonalds on cedar hill x rd and shelbourne. the exact address is 138-1551 CEDAR HILL X RD, (250) 477-8820. it comes to around 14 dollars after taxes.

i hoped that helped you, feel free to ask more questions

travisl said...

Excellent. From reading your blog, it looked like Crystal Jade would be the best, nearest spot, and I appreciate the confirmation. I'll just tell everybody that they'll have to cough up a few more bucks for dinner.

Gaetano said...

man i cant wait to get back in victoria so i can review crystal jade and purple garden, two gems that i saved for last!