With a Groupon code you can have all the Chinese buffet food you can eat for £5. It sounds brilliant, especially if you are a student and looking to eat enough food in one sitting to see you through a couple of days. But trust me, it’s not worth it as this food review will show.
For a restaurant that names itself, The Real China and who’s website states they offer an ‘Ultimate Oriental Eating Experience’ you’d assume that you would not see cocktail sausages as a choice at the buffet. Well, if you go to The Real China in Poole, then that’s exactly what you’ll get.
It is superbly located for business, near the bus station, on the side of the busy Dolphin shopping centre and 10 minutes walk from the student property Corfe House, however when my friend and I walked in only one other customer was present, in a space that could seat at least 50 more people. Nevertheless, the restaurant has a pleasant look to it, clean, tidy and well presented.
Unsurprisingly we were seated quickly and left to our own devices. Making our way to the buffet you quickly notice a a number of space fillers: deep fried Samosa’s, some questionable cheese puffs (I’m still unsure as to what they contained) and cocktail sausages, probably the ultimate occidental attendent of our ‘Ultimate Oriental Eating Experience’.
Now an attempt to be positive in this food review: Some of the food was moderately tasty, the two different types of noodles, sweet and sour chicken and fried rice dishes were quite nice, if a little bland and cooler than is preferable, whilst the spring rolls and oyster mushrooms were the tastiest options available.
By tastiest options I mean, most palatable. The chicken dishes were dry, the beef dish was swimming in fat and tasted of artificial gravy powder, the samosa’s had little to no flavour, the vegetables managed to be both oily and watery whilst also tasting old. The fish dishes were the most heinous by far, a tempura battered calamari dish tasted like an old shoe and some kind of breadcrumbed fish was cold, flavourless and unpalatable.
However, the labelling of dishes is nearly non-existent so you spend a good amount of time trying to figure out what is what. This continues whilst you are eating what you had thought was a chicken dish, only to discover it was fish.
Dessert options? Well of course, you could maybe pick out some cubes of green jelly or have a small serving of ice cream which was kept in flat freezer next to a bag of frozen vegetables. We chose to skip these meagre choices feeling that we had gambled enough for one night.
Yes it is cheap, but given the extremely low standard of the food you’d be better off buying a pot noodle from your local supermarket.