SOMETIMES you fancy a light snack and sometimes you want a good old scoff.
On the latter days, eat-as-much-as-you-like buffets are your friend, but quantity doesn’t always equal quality.
Lau’s 202 is the latest addition to the bustling Chinese buffet scene in Newcastle, with the original and smaller Lau’s drawing in diners at the end of the city’s China Town.
‘New’ Lau’s is part of the huge development of Eldon Square and is much bigger, with glossy, dark modern decor, but still has something of a school canteen feel, as the tables – which seat 202, hence the name – are so close together.
We visited on an evening, when the gloves are off, scoff wise. We were shown straight to a table and told not only could we choose from the buffet of salads, starters and mains, but there was also sushi bar, a teppanyaki grill and steaming piles of dim sum.
I could eat sushi for hours and nearly did – although it wasn’t as fresh and authentically raw as I’ve eaten in China Town, erring on the safe side with smoked salmon nigri and crabstick handrolls.
The teppanyaki grills cooks up a host of goodies to order, including seven-spice squid skewers and spare ribs.
I swerved these for dim sum, which were glossy little parcels of siu mai (pork) and Chinese steamed beef balls.
My dining partner hates fish as much as I love it, so went straight into the main buffet for crispy beef, sweet and sour chicken and the obligatory pile of chips.
He wolfed them all down so quickly I’m surprised he could tell the difference between them, but they got the thumbs up, as “high standards, fast food”.
I had a wander round the buffet area and grabbed some prawns in batter, salt and pepper squid, pak choi and Thai chicken curry, then returned to wrestle with some crab in a mixed seafood sauce.
I savoured it all, apart from the crab legs, which were impossible to set about with a knife and fork, chopsticks, or anything else we could lay our hands on.
Two Sunset buffets and two soft drinks brought our bill to just under £30.
Lau’s 202 is open daily from 11.30am to 10.30pm, with buffet prices varying on what time you eat.