Date visited: 2th July 2012
We've been to the China Bar Signature in Burwood, and today, AS wanted to bring Mum to try the newly opened branch in the CBD. We came early, just after opening time at 11.30am on a Monday. We were greeted at the door by a smiling waitress who made sure we were aware that this was a buffet for $29. This is handy for first timers :)
The interior is beautiful, with wooden panelling, interesting artwork and dangling overhead lamps.
I loved the black and red colour scheme and the patterned glasses with the black napkins.
And off we were to check out the displays. They had a huge enough selection to please the gluttons in all of us.
|Roast duck, pork and chicken|
|Cook to order section and congee|
They have a large selection of hot food including meats, curries and rice.
They have a section for crackers, nuts and three different cheeses - cheddar, blue and brie to make your very own mini cheese platter :)
|Cheese & crackers|
And on to dessert!
I tried the char siew bao - although I thought the skin of the ones at Burwood was a bit hard, AS kept raving about how good hers was, so I decided to give it a second chance. This one at Chinatown was much better - soft skin and sweet pork filling.
|Glutinous rice dumplings, char siew bao|
The other thing I saw was the glutinous rice dumplings - had no idea what they were but they sure looked cute. I was surprised when I tried them that they were just like Malaysia ondeh-ondeh with palm sugar coconut filling, just minus the pandan skin. Yuuuuuumm.There were various other dimsim goodies that we also tried at Burwood before, including siew mai, lotus seed bun and har gow.
|Clockwise from top left: Moneybag with prawn, black pepper beef, braised pork belly, drunken chicken roll|
The sushi I felt was fresher here. I had the avocado and the tuna.
Of course we couldn't go without the Cook to Order. The char kueh tiaw was as good as it was at Burwood.
|Char kueh tiaw|
MerlinFan tried the curry laksa. The soup was nice, but she said it could have used some chicken and eggplant to add extra flavour to the broth. Even in appearance, it looked a bit monotonous and boring without extra splashes of colour.
Before dessert, I wanted to have my cheese and crackers with preserved fruit. I had their brie with a saccharinely sweet lemon tart.
|Brie, crackers, lemon tart|
Still, we can never resist trying and tasting the cute cakes and mousses. MerlinFan and my strategy was to pick out a few and share them between us so that we could try more. All the desserts are labelled clockwise from the left top (if you bother to know).
|Honeydew sago pudding, cherry trifle, longan cheese bavarian|
|Rockmelon cake, green tea mousse, honeydew cake, green tea opera|
|Cherry pancake, pavlova, strawberry romanoff, wild berry panna cotta, green tea opera, creme caramel|
|Banana cupcake, longan cheese bavarian, Japanese cheesecake|
MerlinFan had to try the chocolate fountain fondue. The chocolate tasted like Asian chocolate - if you've tried chocolates (say like a KitKat or something) in Asian countries you will taste the difference, like a lower milk content so it tastes less creamy and more like cacao. It was all right.
Overall, staff are smiley and attentive, even a bit hardcore - two different waitresses tried to take away our plates before we even finished, and at times it felt a bit like sitting in the dining room of an imperial palace with guards in the form of young girls on patrol.
The buffet will satisfy those looking for good variety and of course your garden variety huge eaters. The quality is pretty good for an all-you-can-eat - seriously, if you wanted fine food you would have gone to a hatted restaurant. I hear the seafood, sashimi and Peking Duck are the best dishes here, however if you're not a seafood or sashimi person (or don't think $59-69 is worth it) like us, lunch on a weekday (Mon-Thurs) for $29 is fairly reasonably priced for the variety you get.
P.S. Have a look on the website, it says all the lunch sessions will be $33 in December, so if you're planning to check it out on a weekday, do so soon and save your $4 ;P
<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1659483/restaurant/CBD/China-Bar-Signature-Asian-Buffet-Melbourne"><img alt="China Bar Signature (Asian Buffet) on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1659483/biglink.gif" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>