When I think of ‘all you can eat’ Chinese buffets, I conjure up images of some of the places in Soho I visited in my younger (poorer) days, whereby you have to fight 50 people for two bits of sesame toast and they have ‘love’ written on the wall in sequins (no jokes, this place actually existed up until a couple of years ago in china town).
‘All you can eat’ is a bit more of a challenge than an offer, so no surprises you don’t get very many places which are actually nice. Every pay day I like to take my Mum out for dinner, and this weekend we were celebrating as we passed quite an important audit at work and I managed to show the world although I am a nightmare outside of work who loses her shoes on a regular basis, in work I’m actually quite efficient.
I chose Izumi because basically, someone at work suggested it. One reason I love working where I do is that everyone is as passionate about eating in general as me, so I trust their suggestions. I had been before, but it was ages ago, and I tend not to remember things unless they will get me more alcohol or appear to be a useless fact I can crack out at a quiz night.
The one in Brentwood is nestled quite nicely out of the way of the hustle and bustle, which is quite nice if you like to feel like you are on a country drive but slightly inconvenient if you feel like you are in a horror film driving down dark, narrow roads.
The atmosphere in Izumi when you get is, is bright & busy, but one think that struck me was that it wasn’t loud. I discovered this when I accidentally threw out the ‘f’ word on the way back to the table and a woman four rows away with her kids gave me a horrified glare. They would of learned it come day, I’m sure.
There’s a great variety of dishes at Izumi, although I’m not too sure about there being only one kind of rice. Just to confirm, I love rice. They had all the regular favourites though, like Singapore noodles, sweet and sour chicken, duck, so much duck, literally duck everywhere. They also had inexplicable English food like chips and onion rings, which is great because let’s face it every family has a fussy Nan who won’t even try a plain noodle. My favourite conversation of the night with my Mum hands down has to be about the lemon chicken.
Mum “did you see they have lemon chicken”
Me “yes I did, I got some. Wait, Mum, you haven’t got the lemon sauce”
Mum “nah, I don’t like that, I only like the chicken”.
So basically she had nothing chicken. As you can imagine by this point, the fruitless conversation made me glad Izumi serve prosecco. Another benefit, as you can tell by all my other blogs I really do gauge the efficiency on a restaurant on whether they serve prosecco or not.
Another thing that sets Izumi aside from all of the other all you can eat Chinese buffets, is the desert selection. They have ice cream, which is pretty standard, but also a huge selection of cakes. Naturally Mum had a big piece of chocolate cake to ‘test’ it for me (I don’t eat cake).
The one thing that was truly wonderful though, was the chocolate fountain. I don’t really like chocolate, but I do like fountains and getting to play with things. Unfortunately, I don’t think Mum would have been too impressed had I have continued on the impulse to put a prawn cracker in it, so I just stuck to the marshmallows.
You can check out Izumi’s menu online.