I really hate buffets. I hate Sizzlers. The idea of 'all you can eat' scares me. I mentally associate normal buffets with poor quality and lack of freshness. There's a novelty appeal but appeal only takes you so far. Sometimes, when I've accomplished a milestone (e.g. end of exams), I'll feel like going 'all out' and doing a buffet. Otherwise, I'm happy without.
Having said all that, on the first day of our Gold Coast holiday, Charlie decided we'd be having the buffet at Food Fantasy for lunch. I didn't argue because I was STARVING. The other time buffets appeal to me is when my stomach feels like it's eating itself. Food Fantasy is located within Conrad Jupiters. I've eaten at several restaurants around the 2 Conrad casinos (Jupiters and Treasury) but never at Food Fantasy.
After we paid for our meals upfront, we were warned there'd be a 10min wait. The entrance is sort of small... I was expecting a really cheesy experience with substandard food. Well, there wasn't a 10min wait. We got seated straight away. Man, Food Fantasy is huge. Really huge. And it was nearly full. As soon as we were shown our seats, we got up and headed for the buffet bars.
I was LITERALLY stunned into immobility. Absolutely spoilt for choice. There's a salad bar (with vegetable salads, pasta salads, cold meat, condiments and sauces), a hot food bar (beef medallions, pork goulash, fried noodles, rice etc), a roast bar (soup of the day, roast pork, lamb and beef, roast potatoes and carrots plus lots of gravy) and a bench of bread and cheese. Forget all that... I was instantly distracted by the dessert bar. I had to force myself to ignore it and get sensible food to start off with.
Just because there were so many amazing things that I could have chosen, I mentally freaked out and the first thing I put on my plate was lettuce mix. I kid you not - it was plain old lettuce mix without any dressing. I ended up making my own spin on an egg salad and also plating up with some roast meat and a Yorkshire pudding.
I wanted to have a taste of everything (or, at least most things) so I took tiny amounts and anything that sounded good and shared with Charlie. My second plate had hot food and bread. This was followed by soup.
There's probably not much point in my commentating about everything I ate because they might change their offerings daily. I LOVED the tempura fish with tartare sauce. Really good. The soup was a bit too salty though... I left it alone.
The dessert bar is extensive. There are about 4 different types of mousse. I thoguht it'd be the commercial supermarket quality type of mousse... no... the mousse was really good. I chose the cake of the day as part of my second dessert plate. I think it's a bittersweet chocolate tart. So good. Definitely cafe/restaurant-standard. Exceeds my expectations of buffet food through and through. I was so intent on just trying one bit of everything but I couldn't help myself with the sticky date pudding. I lurve sticky date pudding. The one at Food Fantasy is HEAVENLY - moist, sticky, not too sweet, fragrant and warm. Adding custard takes it to a mind-blowingly awesome new level. Perfect. Am drooling as I type.
Dessert plate with dark chocolate mousse, bitter chocolate tart, fruit compote, jelly and vanilla slice
The buffet is almost embarrassingly cheap. We went on a Friday lunch and it was about $20 something. It includes soft drinks and coffee etc. The only thing missing is seafood, which is available on certain nights (obviously at a greater cost). This buffet OWNS over Sizzlers buffet or any other I've tried. I've tried higher end buffets too and I can admit that yes, the standard of food is really good but sometimes they are lacking in atmosphere or variety. I might be alone with this opinion but when I go to a buffet, I want it to be busy with a casual, comfortable atmosphere. Nothing too posh and refined. I mean, I'm stuffing my stomach here, I don't need a waiter in a suit to make sure I'm OK every 5min. I like to pile my plates unselfconsciously and I like having lots and lots to chose from.
If you're in the same frame of mind as me, give Food Fantasy a go. It's like a theme park for food. The coffee is yuk but the rest was everything I want in a buffet experience.