IT doesn’t take long for word to get round when a new restaurant opens in Sunderland and Do Zo on High Street West, formerly My Legends, is no exception.
I received a text message announcing it had opened from my food-loving friend – she had been driving past for weeks checking if it had opened and I imagine she was probably the first through the doors.
She was so excited about what they had on offer that I couldn’t resist giving it a try.
When I walked into the ground-floor entrance with my fiance John and our little boy, I wasn’t convinced it was open for business as it was empty, but once a helpful member of staff showed us up to the second floor I was pleasantly surprised.
The huge open-plan dining room really made an impression, the Oriental decor and the low lighting was very effective and it felt like we were somewhere exotic, a welcome escape from the cold snap outside.
All-you-can-eat buffets can easily end up looking like a school canteen with rows of tables and chairs, people stood queuing for food and a lack of atmosphere, but Do Zo has curbed the trend.
Yes, there is plenty of seating, but the furniture is tasteful and comfortable and there is plenty of room between each table, so you don’t feel like you are on top of other guests.
Once we were settled and had ordered a bottle of still water and a beer for John, I took the plunge first and took a look round the buffet to see what they had on offer.
I immediately noticed the duck and pancakes which are my favourite. Usually I would pile it onto my plate, but I wanted to try as many dishes as possible, so I refrained.
The duck was very tasty, it was moist and the pancakes were soft. There is nothing worse than chewy duck and overcooked pancakes, but you could tell this was fresh.
John also had duck, but opted for a spare rib accompaniment which he really enjoyed and the meat fell off the bone. I could tell by the sauce all over his hands and face that it was a good dish.
Time for round two. There was so much choice I really didn’t know where to start.
From cold dishes including half a crab, a seafood cocktail and salad, to the tasty hotplates which contained duck in pineapple, prawns with ginger and spring onion and a favourite of mine, beef in black bean sauce.
I added a big heap of vermicelli noodles onto my plate, but there was also a range of rice including egg fried and for the staunch English, chips are available.
A novelty for me was the addition of both an Indian section and a sushi section – sushi is something I always try, but never like. I’m not sure why, but I’ve decided it’s the texture.
It always looks so good and the tuna sashimi, California rolls and fire cracker rice ended up on my plate, but once again I just didn’t enjoy them.
The Indian dishes include a traditional selection of chicken korma, rogan josh, madras and Bombay potatoes – although these dishes were nice, they weren’t as good as the Chinese options.
Despite polishing off several platefuls of food I left room for dessert. The waiter had told me that they have a dessert chef who makes everything from scratch – and you could tell.
Our toddler loved the jelly and fruit which came in a champagne glass, but for the adults the tiramisu and creme brulee are a must-try.
The prices for the buffet differ depending on the time of day you choose to go. We went on a weekday evening and for adults it’s £12.50 per head and children cost £6.50.
It is cheaper during the day, but the prices do go up on a weekend, so call 565 8988 if you want to confirm prices before you go.
Our bill including drinks came to £37.50.