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Where NOT to eat in Chinatown

Review of China Buffet – Chinatown

On the 29th of October it was my birthday and I turned 22. In celebration of this I thought I’d go to a Chinese restaurant as it’s food that I love and it’s part of my heritage. What better place to go to than Chinatown in Leicester Square to experience the awesomeness that Chinese food generally is. I went with my sister to a restaurant in the heart of Chinatown called China Buffet – a mistake and one that I won’t be repeating. It looked great on the outside and it had most of the Chinese food that I enjoy eating. (Sweat & Sour chicken being one of my favourite Chinese dishes)

So what was actually wrong?

Just take a look at this picture of food that looks like had been sitting there for hours:

horrible food at China buffet

And of course, the food tasted bland, as it was quite obviously not fresh. Sure, one will argue it’s a buffet, but buffets still need to taste nice and this is a Chinese restaurant, so I expected something that tasted authentic and I definitely did not receive that. Perhaps my standards are a little high due to myself living in Taiwan for the past 2 and a half years, but this food was sub-standard and even my sister did not like the food. Bland is the perfect adjective to be using and it’s the last word you would associate with Chinese food.

How were the staff?

I can’t complain too much about the staff; however, the reason why I even have this sub header is because I experienced another customer receive the poorest customer service that I have experienced before.

A customer asked:

“Where are the bins?”

Worker responded by saying:

“We have no bins” and then simply walked off.

I was quite baffled by this and attributed this to the worker’s poor English skills. Either way, I was shocked, and so was the customer asking the question. I almost wanted to use my Chinese skills to tell the worker that it’s not acceptable to respond in such a way.

The decor

The decor was just dreadful. It looked like it hadn’t been updated in a decade. The lighting was also quite poor and it was as if they were trying to hide the poor decor by dimming the lights a bit. I also didn’t like the fact that tables were so close to each other, and this really stops any chat during eating a meal there. It just makes things so awkward.

Would I go there again?

No. It’s just sub standard food and I would not touch that place again. My recommendations to them is have someone review the food every 5 minutes to make sure it’s at least presentable, and to ensure that food is replaced after a certain time; not only if a certain tray has been finished, but if food has simply been sitting there for over an hour. They would also do better to clean up the place and re-do the entire decor. It looks rancid and should not be representative of the cheap Chinese restaurants you should be going to in London.

Note: I know this is quite negative, so I’ll definitely review other restaurants in Chinatown, and hopefully give more positive reviews. Like most people would, I only went to China Buffet as it was cheap and it looked delicious from the outside. Unfortunately my taste buds disagreed.

More pictures:

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