Saturday, 11 August 2012
4 Corners, Wesley St, Southport
The last couple of years have seen a rising trend in a new kind of restaurant hitting Britain's high street. Taking inspiration from all-inclusive resorts in Spain and tapping in to the dilemma of finding a restaurant that pleases everyone, world buffets are the latest hot trend. Flash in the pan food fad or a revolutionary way of eating? I'll leave it to you to decide.
After being ripped off in overpriced sandwich bars and facing Chinese buffet fatigue, 4 Corners world buffet seemed like a viable lunchtime option. Tucked away in Wesley St, away from the pushy crowds of Lord St's cafes, this sparkly new eaterie is the first of its kind in Southport. At £8.99, it seems expensive for lunch but when I done a quick calculation of the cost of a butty (which wouldn't fill me) and a dessert, it came to about £7, not too bad considering you can have as much cake until you burst! In all honesty, both me and The Carnivore fancied an Indian for lunch, but the curry houses were either shut or bereft of lunch deals and therefore stone empty. Thankfully, 4 Corners offered curry- yippee!
Upon entering, we were greeted warmly by the staff who explained that diners pay upfront for both drinks and food, and the soft drinks and hot drinks were a set price with unlimited refills, perfect for the thirst that ensues during an all you can eat extravaganza. The ambience was chilled at first, the seating consisting of large tables and cosy booths, however this tranquility was soon to be shattered by the invasion of the dreaded Chav Brigade. Hordes of kids out of control, screaming and playing with the food, along with obese parents who didn't give a damn ruined what could have been a pleasant lunch. The kids were left to run riot and play by the cake and salad display, which is probably why I took a week off work with the flu after visiting here. Sorry for digressing, I just thought I'd set the scene so you can imagine the cacophony I endured.
THe food was in abundance but I saw little evidence of the 4 Corners of the world, unless Costco is a country. Great Britain was represented in this food olympics, along with India, and I suppose the pasta salad and the fajita wraps were a token to Italy and Mexico. The staff were helpful in explaining what some of the more unidentifiable dishes contained, i.e. were they veggie friendly, but this must have been pretty tiresome for them. They could have followed the Chinese buffet example of putting signs on their dishes, saving them a job and cutting down on food wastage.
The presentation of the carvery and the Indian selection was excellent,with dedicated chefs on hand happy to assist, the food served piping hot and not left to go cold like some buffets. My veggie curry (above) was as good as any curry house I'd been to, which I enjoyed with popadoms, a chutney selection and basmati rice. There were 4 curries on offer, but the other 3 were meat so I can't comment on those, but The Carnivore's chicken curry was devoured in no time. On the carvery, the vegetables were plentiful and the salad bar had lots of tasty greens, delicious. The Italian selection was a bit bog-standard, comprising of what looked like frozen pizza and two pasta dishes, one meat, one veg, which weren't very inspirational. The 'Mexican' assortment consisted of wraps and a couple of dips, the filling of which reminded me of one of those kits you get from Aldi with the sauce that no matter how hard you try to get it to infuse well with the meat and veg, it never tastes quite right.
Time for dessert- the cake selection was immense. Lemon meringue, chocolate fudge cake, more fruit than a tropical island, this is where 4 Corners really shone. No matter how mediocre a meal is, as long as there's decadent desserts, you'll walk away satisfied.
My culinary voyage of 4 Corners drew to a close and I was sad that I hadn't actually tasted the four corners of the world and had to finish my meal with a Nurofen for my head thanks to the raucous clientele. As it's a relative newcomer, I'll give it a few months to improve before I return as I'm sure the discrepancies I mentioned are just teething problems that'll get ironed out. The staff are fabulous, so I'm sure they're up to the challenge to make some additions to their culinary journey!