Let’s face it. Food isn’t getting cheaper. Especially when it comes to the wonderful fare at fancy restaurants. Take for example a buffet. The prospect of 30, 50 or even 100 dishes at a fixed price sounds exciting — but that fades when you realise you don’t have all day to eat that meal. “Buffets encourage overeating and food waste. That’s because people often associate cost with the amount of food,” says Kishor Joshi, food and beverage manager, Hotel Sahara Star, where the buffet at Earthplate has around 70 items every day. “For example, if you pay Rs.1,750 plus taxes for a buffet, you have to consume a certain amount of food and drinks, or you feel shortchanged.”
Clinton Cooper, executive chef, Four Seasons, Worli, considers buffets an outdated concept. He points out, “Indians are used to having a lot of variety on their plates, so buffets work better for them even though set menus are trendier.”
Meanwhile, at Trident Nariman Point, Chef Joy Bhattacharya ensures that even buffets that are part of events and functions are kept in check. “The circulating snacks must be stopped at least 30 minutes before the main buffet to be able to do justice to it. No one likes trying too many things in a very short span.”
Eat your pocket’s fill
Here’s how to make the most of a massive buffet:
Don’t eat for at least 1.5 hours before you go to the restaurant.
Once there, take a tour of the buffet before putting anything on your plate. Make a plan in your head on how you want to eat — section-by-section or course-by-course.
See which items suit your dietary restrictions, if any, or which are specials and picks of the day.
If you haven’t had a dish before, take only a spoonful to taste it. If you like it, go back for more. If you don’t, you’ll know you haven’t wasted much.
Make more trips to the buffet rather than piling your plates.
Be a tough critic. Unless you really like an item, don’t go back for it.
Don’t go nuts seeing a lot of desserts. Try what you really like and then pick a few you would manage to finish. You can’t possibly finish everything.