New Quay International Buffet And Bar

4 – 6 New Quay Promenade
Docklands VIC 3008
+61 3 9670 3889

Every time I go to an All-You-Can-Eat place, those words from former food critic (and currently Grazia’s food editor) Matthew Evans ring in my mind. Come to any buffet restaurant on any given Saturday evening and my bet is that the oysters came from the same batch as Thursday’s lot. The fried rice has just been reheated. And the chocolate mousse has been sitting there all day. As a kid growing up, I’ve had more than my fair share of buffet food from Smorgy’s, Foodstar and Sizzlers. I used to think that buffets were awesome, only because we got to eat gweilo food such as roasts and wedges that you normally wouldn’t get at home. And then you got to eat as much ice cream as you could before you started to feel sick. Naturally, you felt like shite afterwards… but as a kid, we didn’t care about things like that.

These days, I rarely go to All-You-Can-Eat joints. For one thing, I’m over the whole excitement of going to a place where you were let loose amongst the bain marie trays of chips, pizza and fried fish. Secondly, the food is generally awful. Thirdly, going to these places mean that you are obliged to eat as much as you can to get your money’s worth, which results in you feeling sick anyway. And even though Adam and I thought the food at Melba was quite nice for a buffet restaurant, we both agreed that we wouldn’t be going back to a buffet restaurant in a hurry.

So when Adam’s mum decided that she wanted us to take her to a buffet for her birthday this weekend, Adam and I cringed.  We did, however, want to make her happy and so we arranged a dinner booking at New Quay International Buffet And Bar, a rather up-market buffet  (relatively speaking, of course) in the Docklands Precinct. Now I’ve been there a few times with my work colleagues when the team leader declares a long boozy lunch. The first time we went there, everyone seemed to be in awe and even I was impressed by how pretty and fresh everything seemed (when I say “fresh”, I’m comparing it to Foodstar). The second time around, however, the meal wasn’t that exciting and I made a resolution not to go there ever again should there be a team lunch (I’d rather sit alone on the grass at Flagstaff Gardens with my soba salad and a book, hmmmph!). But anyway, I may have been there several times for lunch and even though I said that I wouldn’t go there again, I was nevertheless curious about how different it’d be during dinnertime and so at 6pm, we took the City Circle tram to New Quay.

I’m too tired to write in detail, so I’ll let the photos do the talking…

Cooked to order pasta

The cold poached salmon with coleslaw and flying fish roe, I must admit and a favourite among the ladies at work.

Baby desserts…. *squeeeee*

More baby desserts! I especially loved the green tea sponge cakes.

Yes, the photos might look okay but the food was just “meh.”

  • The “lobster soup” was awful. While I could definitely taste something of a semblance to lobster (probably pureed lobster head meat or something), a “crab soup” consisting of seafood extender would’ve made a better soup.
  • The sushi was nothing to rave on about. Yawn.
  • The oysters and mussels had clearly been there for more than three days. In fact, you could smell traces of the iodine bath that the mussels had been soaked in prior to the restaurant opening up for dinner.
  • Adam had a creamy pasta (from the “cooked to order” station), which was bland beyond belief. We weren’t sure whether the sauce was marinara (because of the mussels) or carbonara (because it was cream-based and had bacon in it). I betcha $100 that the cooked mussels used in the pasta had been leftovers from the previous nights’ iodinised seafood platter that could no longer be passed onto customers as “fresh mussels.”
  • Not everything was terrible though – the tempura prawns were rather pleasant, particularly with the dill sauce they provided. Also, the poached salmon with coleslaw and flying fish roe didn’t disappoint. Plus, the desserts weren’t awful either. They might’ve copied Melba with their little serving dishes but I really like seeing buffets serve dessert this way rather than getting people to help themselves to one huge cake or batch of chocolate mousse – that way you get to sample many different things and it also reduces wastage (which I HATE!).

We also ran into some of Adam’s family friends during dinner. Jenny, if you’re reading this, you might recall a guy called John whom you set up with Christina/Christine? Haha, they were there with their kids and a bunch of family members. Nice people, but they were chatting away in Cantonese with Adam’s parents for much longer than I had hoped after dinner, so Adam and I had to smile and nod our way through 30 minutes of “sik sik sik fei fei fei ho ho ho.” Aaargh!

Adam’s parents are loving it. Hahaha I love how Adam’s dad tries to be all cool by holding up his prawn. So corny yet so adorable at the same time…

Was dinner at New Quay Buffet worth it? Well, let’s put it this way… lunch is $25-28 per head (depending on what day you go) and dinner is at least $40 per head. Given that there isn’t a huge difference between the lunch and dinner selections apart from having oysters and tempura prawns at dinner, I think that charging an extra $20 for dinner is a bit of a rip-off. I wasn’t expecting Melba standard food but I would’ve thought that they’d put a bit more stuff for us to try. In the end, we decided that we’d never go here again for dinner. To the restaurant’s credit, the place was packed to the rafters (with mostly Asians though, I might add). In fact, I saw a few people rock up to the place only to be told that there was no room to accommodate them which probably suggests that they’re doing quite well. Plus, my workmates rave on about this place. Granted, they’re not the first people you’d ask for restaurant recommendations because most of them aren’t freaky foodies like myself but still. Perhaps Adam and I have been corrupted by the hatted restaurants of Melbourne or something. Importantly though, Adam’s mum really enjoyed dinner, so as long as she’s happy then we’re happy (though I suspect that this had something to do with the amount of prawns she was able to eat… she LOVES prawns).

I eat too much.


  1. jtngu8
    November 1, 2008

    This entry sounded gross, but in the I’m-warning-you-that-buffet-food-is-gross-type-gross so I appreciate the advisory on this place. I don’t usually eat buffet but in my experiences (including hearsay), buffet food isn’t great at all. Maybe it’s just one of those concepts that really has no place because it doesn’t work. But I think the best buffet I’ve had so far was at Sante at Crown Casino. At least there, it appears as if the food is regularly turned over and the quality isn’t so bad either. But I concur; nothing beats freshness.

    One final thing – you know what amazes me? Your capacity to remember every tiny, eensy, bitzy item of food, down to every disgusting little detail.  I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to remember what herbs were in the friggin dipping sauce. How DO you do it?!

  2. JayTrinh
    November 2, 2008

    gah… I keep telling myself not to look at food posts at night.
    Okay, time to “sik sieu yeh”

  3. icesabre
    November 2, 2008

    Hahaha, the last time I ever had a buffet meal of any sort was at Sante this time last year when I had my farewell lunch before joining the Graduate Program.

    It was OK. That’s all.

  4. fipar20
    November 2, 2008

    LOL…reminds me of those days working at Foodstar. I would usually pig out on the food that’s just come from the cooks out in the back. And not having to touch the food at the front, I didn’t feel sick afterwards.

    That buffet place seems nice, I wouldn’t mind trying at least once…

  5. Lady_tRucey
    November 2, 2008

    The last buffet I tried was MESH at Crown Promenade- the best thing about the place was the cute band.. lol

    Hmmm, is Melba worth the try? What are the prices?

    I think I’d rather a nice Steak hahaahha

    Yeah, life is grandeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  6. Angely2605
    November 2, 2008

    do you think you are funny or what? comming to my blog for no reason when alll your blog is this talking about food, pictures of food HELLO trying my  best to avoid it so stay off welyou earned you a good old fashioned blocking anyways

  7. Gurumi_Sunday
    November 2, 2008

    lol@above retard who thinks she can avoid food pics and posts on the INT0RW3BZ.It’s like going out to the city and trying to avoid PEOPLE! *cackles*

    RE: post: Didn’t know that about buffet food so this post was informative 😀

  8. princesstrang
    November 2, 2008

    yea we went there a few thursday ago for dinner and i was very impressed.  the melba is pretty awesome too.  a little to pricey for out asian brothers and sisters i think.. they’d probably rather go to the all you can eat place fod star.. LOOL

    November 3, 2008

    @jtngu8 – That’s because I’m sooo good. Haha kidding. I bet half the time, I get ingredients all wrong…

    @JayTrinh – Very good! Are you Chinese-Viet?

    @icesabre – Totally agree. Sante was just okay. Come to think of it though, I think that even Sante was better than New Quay.

    @fipar20 – Hmm did you work at Foodstar Knox? We used to go there all the time on Sunday afternoons. Wouldn’t it be funny if we walked past each other many times back then?

    @Lady_tRucey – Hmmm Mesh sounds vaguely familiar, but haven’t been. Melba prices vary but I think the time me and Adam went there (on Sat evening), it was $60-65 per person. Keep in mind that prices are more expensive on the weekend and during dinner though…

    @Angely2605 – There is nothing wrong with wanting to suss out other people’s xanga when I have nothing better to do. I was only on yours for about 2 seconds, because there was nothing worth reading anyway. I mean, why bother spending more time than necessary on another bloody ana site of some loser chick with no self-esteem issues. Like helloooooooo?! I know that you’ve been writing bitchy comments to anyone who would DARE set half a foot on your xanga before blocking them, which is why I am wondering why you’re even making your xanga public rather than protected/private if you’re so against people reading your xanga. Get an effing life, MORON.

    @Gurumi_Sunday – *rolls eyes*

    I got a lot of the info from Matthew Evans’ book “Never Order Chicken On A Monday” which has stories on the restaurant business… lots of dodgy stuff!

    @princesstrang – I wonder if I can find any Asian who has NEVER been to Foodstar. Heh.

  10. JayTrinh
    November 3, 2008

    lol yup i am!! 🙂  And I really did end up having a late night snack @__@ lol

  11. s_l_v
    November 5, 2008

    Oh dude.. YUM. I know buffet food is often a hit or miss, but generally if I can find at least one good thing to eat then I hog it for myself and glare at anyone who tries to come near me. Either way, I paid my share, so I’m gonna eat the whole damn lot whether you like it or not! The most exciting part is the desserts though, I feel like licking the screen!

  12. SMhopeful
    November 7, 2008

    You take the best photos of food, even if it’s bad food. Do you take food pictures professionally for restaurants or something?


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