Tuesday, 19 January 2010

GOLDEN CENTURY BUFFET (formerly Royal Buffet) Ottawa ON


I used to love Chinese buffets. Or Canadian-Chinese buffets (as there isn't really anything 'Chinese' on the menu). Buffets in general. Yes there is the AYCE factor, but really its about trying and sampling. Now, maybe my tastes have matured, or, what I really believe, that buffets in Ottawa suck. LJ and I have tried several in the area, not all Can-Chinese, but they are all pretty terrible (see HERE & HERE as two examples). One after another, we had pretty much given up on a buffet to go back to.

But then we decided to try one that we had passed before, and it seemed decent from the road. We decided to stop in. I was a bit confused because I was looking for the Royal Buffet. Even the website address is still Royal Buffet, but at some point in the last few months, the place switched over to become Golden Century Buffet. I have no idea why the name change, or if the food would be different, if there were new owners or any other changes. But the place was busy, so we decided it was worth the old college try.

We were sat very promptly, with drink orders taken right off the bat. Service was friendly, water was refilled frequently. Another service plus I saw but did not partake in involved signs saying at off-peak hours, one could ask staff to refill a particular dish and they will make it fresh for you. That's pretty good I think. The place was clean, but some of the seafood dishes were very strong with that fishy smell.

The fare at the buffet is pretty standard. Deep fried this and that, noodle dishes, salads, sushi, beef carving etc etc.

Here's a sampling of a pretty vegetable-free trip to the buffet. Actually that's not true, there is some pickles on there, and some onion in the rings. The egg rolls were not like ones I've had before, more filled with minced meat rather than sprouts and meat. But everything else tasted relatively the way it should, and didn't taste like it has been sitting for a while.

I also got some General Tao chicken. I still can't find what I consider General Tao chicken in Ottawa, but this was crispy, sweet and full of whole chilies. Tasty, but not what I would consider General Tao.

Of course, I had to try their crispy chicken wings - one of my faves at any Can-Chinese buffet.

You can see in the picture of the buffet near the top, the wings are piled and waiting in whatever number you want (the price listed is for the take-out menu). The chicken wingette's still have the tips.

The chicken is large and hefty. They have a lot of meat on then.

The wings are battered, as opposed to breaded. Then the wings are deep fried, making them pretty crispy. Some of the wings are not all that crispy, but that has more to do with coming in contact with various sauces on my plate than the wings themselves - although the heat does break down the stiffness in the skin.

While they are served dry, you can put on plum sauce, or red sauce, or as I finally found, hot sauce. I had to ask a server, and she seemed so happy and surprised I wanted hot sauce. The sauce, in a squirt bottle by the salad dressings, reminds me of a red paste hot sauce I had when I studied in Hong Kong and had with my guy-yik wings. I ate a lot there and don't have too much of a stomach for it anymore. That didn't stop me from having it though.

FINAL SCORE: Overall, very happy with the buffet. I mean, it didn't knock my socks off, but it was definitely the best buffet so far I have been to in the Ottawa region. Crispy wings, good service, but not a chopstick in sight (my preferred means of conveying food from plate to mouth in an Asian eatery). If I get a hankering for buffet, which is about $15 on a weekend, I guess this is our go to place now. It's a little sad when you have to settle, but that's this crazy town I'm in. 4.5/9

Golden Century Buffet
2446 Bank St. Ottawa, Ontario


Chris said...

I love Chinese buffets. We had a great one near us where we ate several times a year until about two years ago when they got the worst score in local history from the health department. I just can't make myself go back.

Lord of the Wings said...

Chris - that sucks. Sometimes the best food comes from the worst places . . .

Anonymous said...

I was there just this evening. My overall rating for this place is 5 on 10.

The dessert selection is bland and the ice cream is the only thing that is mediocre and they offer jello of varied colours that's right, colours not flavours because they all taste the same, they can't use proper jello? Really???

The main dishes varied greatly... The eggplant & pork was devine and i could have had a plate full! on the otherhand the chicken fried rice was old... The rice was so dry that it almost cracked my crown! Likely recycled rice ... A big no no.

The seafood was generally good but not spectacular...the kicker tonight was the cigarette flavoured rice noodles! I don't know what happened but that was a refill ....the original serving was good so I decided to get another bit ... but there was a stench of cigarette smoke so strong that my dinner table party smelled the stench from there places.

If you're looking for a fine dining experience look elsewhere but if you're looking to "fill up and leave"go for it but for $19.95 per person I'd rather grab a chicken dinner at my grocery store.