Amazing spread in an amazing setting.
With a selection that’s impressive even in the context of 5-star buffet dining, superb service, a great location and setting, and all around first-rate food on offer, FOODS at The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou definitely makes a visit to the Tier-1 property (or in my case, an entire trip to the city for the express purpose of eating) worth one’s while.
What the dinner buffet at FOODS provides is, essentially, a full selection of Western, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine, with some added bonuses: I noticed some Indian food, as well as a range of Chinese and Western desserts. By no means an exhaustive list, in the two times I visited the restaurant for brunch and dinner, breakfast at the location being a whole separate matter, I made use of a seafood counter, two dessert counters, a carving table, a Japanese station, and three counters providing various Western and Chinese foods, each.
In total, according to calculations I made when first dining at FOODS, the space in total appears to feature at least 100 metres of continuous counter space, with at the very least 250 different food items available for at-will consumption at any time. All items are clearly labelled in Chinese and English, with details such as items that do contain meat in spite of not appearing to do so, or the composition of more “original” dishes, displayed where appropriate, and halal status of food noted in Arabic for relevant items. The staff understand Mandarin, English, and Cantonese.
Nice service and flashy presentation and solid production alone can sometimes make a culinary experience memorable – à la ratatouille served as the eponymous dish in the 2007 animated film – but FOODS doesn’t stop there. The venue goes the full nine yards with some serious fancy fare: whole lobsters and fresh oysters alongside the more ordinary shrimp and prawns (“all very fresh, but not from Japan at this time for obvious reasons”, pointed out the restaurant manager) at the seafood counter, massive blocks of take-all-you-can-bite-off fish for sashimi to be sliced however you like by attentive chefs backing up the already impressive sushi, hand rolls, and shrimp-and-champagne jelly cocktails at the Japanese station, all supported by details such as a great cheese counter that features solid and potent Emmental, blue, Camembert, Brie and Gouda along with apricots, bananas and the like accompanied by halved, pitted grapes and plums, sliced into quadrants so that you don’t have to do the work yourself. This general theme carries on throughout every offering in the restaurant.
A meal on this level is always an adventure. I had originally planned to dine upstairs at the Italian restaurant on the Friday night I visited, but being a mature adult I found myself sucked in by the dessert counter, and previous plans went flying out the window. I went straight to the ice cream counter, the offerings of which apparently beat out Häagen-Dazs in a blind test a few months before. The plausibility of such an outcome was fully confirmed with my first bite, both the ice cream itself as well as the available toppings – fresh chocolate shavings, sprinkles, raspberry sauce and more – fully meeting, exceeding, and then rewriting expectations.
Even a large bowl of ice cream can not spoil the appetite when one is seated amongst such a glorious array of temptation. Filling a good number of plates, I managed in the first round to sample superb Hong-Kong style Soy Sauce Chicken, a childhood favourite that came through with an uncharacteristic smoothness, mini baguette-pizza that was fully flavoured with great sauce and strong cheese, and the full gamut of cheese, accompanied by a very fresh baguette. In total three varieties of baguette and five types of roll were available at the bread box, but I knew I’d have to pace myself. Next came one of the shrimp-and-champagne jelly cocktails, topped with a tapas-like offering that consisted of a slice of lightly cooked potatoe carrying a payload of cream and salmon roe – a bizarre compilation in general but nevertheless solidly worthy of recommendation.
For what I foolishly thought would be the last two plates of the affair, I assembled a full miniature-tray of sushi and followed it up with a large amount of sashimi, consuming a few hundred grams of salmon in the process. It’s worth noting that the wasabi was the real deal, and not the nonsense product made of horseradish and merely flavoured with the powder of the true plant that is so often found in Japanese restaurants outside of Japan.
At four plates in, I was nearing critical mass, but the sirens of the dessert counter, which is actually a whole section of the restaurant and more like two or three counters stuck together, called to me, and I was unable to resist. Making sure to take small slices, I finished off the meal with a creamy crescendo of mango pudding (fresh and delicious, topped with real mango chunks), a dark-chocolate crème brulée (very rich and satisfying), an inch-wide micro egg tart that featured a very crunchy crust and custard that was just supreme, and a piece each of deep chocolate cake and cheesecake, both of which were winners.
If you live in Guangzhou and are ever looking to great destination in which to execute an eating excursion but don’t know what you want, give FOODS a go to guarantee nobody in your party will be disappointed. If you’re not lucky enough to be a resident of the Cantonese capital but sometime find yourself visiting or just passing through, for the love of all that is tasty, eat here.
Service quality: excellent
Food quality: excellent
Price per head (RMB): 300-400
Location:View In Map
3 Xing’an Lu, Pearl River New City, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel: +86 20 3813 6688
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Keywords: Foods buffet Guangzhou FOOD Ritz-Carlton Guangzhou buffet restaurant Guangzhou
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