After many bad buffet experiences, I tend to swerve them as they are usually full of chavs licking the spoons and putting them back in the food, clueless staff who don't know what the slop they're serving is, screaming kids running round people's ankles and all the atmosphere of a rubbish Skytours package deal hotel in Santa Ponsa. However, when Tai Pan opened in Liverpool, I was convinced by my mate to give it a try. It seemed that the Jeremy Kyles hadn't discovered it yet, or saying that it was 12.30 when we went so they were probably just getting up. The other Tai Pan restaurant in the city has a great reputation so this seemed worth a try. For under £8 and with reasonably priced drinks, it seemed too cheap to miss!
There was soup and dim sums to start- I was disappointed to see that out of 3 soups on offer, none of them were veggie. I did have some spring rolls though and the famous Chinese delicacies of Samosas and Onion Rings (yeah I know).
For the main, there was a beautiful selection of stir fries, aubergines in garlic sauce, vermicelli and all the usual Chinese dishes, plus an Indian corner which I devoured! Pilau rice, lashings of popadoms and a yummy pea and potato curry. Perfection. It made up for the lack of veggie starters. Veggies watch out though, as the Szechuan tofu dish actually contains some sort of mystery meat.
The desserts were the typical underwhelming morsels offered by cheapo buffets. A few dried chunks of Turkish delight, some obscure Chinese jelly with fruits in, cubes of jelly (there seemed to be a running theme here). Tinned fruit cocktail. There were however about 6 flavours of ice cream, but the taste was so synthetic it wasn't a pleasant experience, a bit like that banana flavoured medicine you used to have as a kid.
Tai Pan Buffet is a must if you're on a budget, not so if you want a delicious dining experience or are a strict veggie like me. After a while, all the food started to taste the same, not so much a party in the mouth than an oil slick of dirty chip fat.
The good- cheap, cheerful and filling
The bad- boring desserts and not much for veggies