New No 1 Oriental Buffet, Stowell Street, Newcastle

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I VENTURED into Newcastle’s China Town for the first time on a friend’s recommendation – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Myself and my partner took our two children to the New No 1 Oriental Buffet in Stowell Street.

At first glance there appeared to be more for us than the children, but we decided to take our chances and try and expand their palates.

Children can have the buffet for £2.75 and that includes an endless supply of jelly and ice cream, which kept my partner’s little girl quiet for the duration of the meal.

We had headed to this particular buffet for the hot pot – which, when described to me by my friend, sounded amazing.

However, once we were there my partner and I dubiously eyed up the selection of raw foods, which you cook yourself in bubbling Chinese soups.

We finally decided to take the plunge.

When you order a hot pot, which is £12.99 each, you also get to use the all-you-can-eat buffet too. Which was a relief in case I really didn’t like the hot pot option.

First, we had to choose which soups we would like to boil our food in – we went for the spicy Korean soup and the Chinese spare ribs with carrots.

The spicy soups on the menu come with the option of how hot you want them, we opted for medium and that was definitely hot enough.

Once they arrived bubbling away on a hot plate, I tentatively approached the raw food.

I initially went for the safe option and grabbed some beef, king prawns and lobster balls. But also available were fish heads, pigs belly and squid, all things that are not for the faint-hearted.

While I was waiting I had a nosey round the main buffet, which is great value for money at £5.50 per person.

They have all the classic dishes available, sweet and sour chicken, beef in black bean sauce, chow mein, plus some more exotic choices. I love crispy beef in its sticky sweet sauce so a pile of that went on my plate.

It was time to scoop my food out of the boiling soup and it was totally worth the wait. It tasted delicious and now I was on a roll, so I grabbed some fresh crabs claws, mussels and even a bag of noodles and threw it all in there.

For two of us, one child and two rounds of drinks the bill came to £39.93.