Monday, 29 June 2015

A warming winter buffet dinner at Straits Cafe in the Rendezvous Hotel, Scarborough

Disclaimer: Hungryagainperth was invited as a guest to Straits Cafe, however all thoughts and musings expressed are honest ramblings by me to you.
Straits Cafe Winter Buffet, Rendezvous Hotel, Scarborough
The weekend is nothing to me, as I work a full day on Saturday. To keep me going physically and mentally on a day where I know everyone else is kicking back relaxing, I end up snacking throughout the day roughly every 2 hours until I get home and demolish dinner like I have never eaten dinner ever before.

With Straits Cafe's Winter Buffet was on the agenda for dinner, I meticulously plan out how to structure my day's meals and most importantly, when should be the last time I could snack before dinner rolled around. 
A hot, cold and dessert spread at Straits Cafe's Winter Buffet
Many people would remember the buffet at Rendezvous as the Pines, but it has since had a grand refurbishment into its present day look - a stylish new venue in a prime location right on the doorstep of Scarborough Beach. Accompanying this is the return of the Winter Dinner Buffet, available every Friday and Saturday night at $59 for adults and $20 for children aged 5-12. Diners are able to eat their way through a selection of WA's quality produce that has been worked into traditional wintery comfort foods whilst enjoying picturesque views of the sunset and waves through the restaurant's massive windows. 
Grilled salmon with salsa verde
Green Pea and Ham Soup
Roast Lamb
Not surprisingly, everything at the buffet is house made with the exception of the cheese. We lift the lids and covers off all the hot dishes to see a fantastic roast lamb dish, salmon, a Singaporean chicken curry, Basmati rice and steamed vegetables, spinach and ricotta ravioli, roasted root vegetables and a cheesy potato gratin complete with a golden crust. On this particular night, roast beef graced the carvery station, but I found my thick piece dry so doused it with a heavy pour of gravy.
Sushi, shucked oysters, fresh prawns and crab
The cold selection included fresh seafood and assorted sushi pieces - mostly egg and smoked salmon. I was hanging out for some sashimi but unfortunately it isn't part of the buffet! I settled for a few oysters and prawns, which were unbelievably sweet and fresh that I ate all of them without any sauces or condiments. I ended up working my way through three plates with just prawns, which deviated very far from my original, good intentions of just one plate.
Other dishes at the cold selection of the buffet
Other choices alongside the seafood was a roasted red pepper quinoa salad, an antipasto platter, cold meats, a selection of breads and a make-your-own caesar salad station. On the other side of the table is a mirror image of the same dishes, with everything being topped up regularly.
Dessert spread
Arguably the dessert table is the most appealing to diners at a buffet - regardless of how full one can be, dessert provides the final ultimate satisfaction. Over time I still have not yet learnt how to contain my greed and still suffer from the 'Big Eyes Small Stomach' syndrome', where my eyes can forever eat more than my stomach can ever follow through with.

Although the selection initially appears to be small, it is a satisfying little spread of sweets and treats all made in house. There are also two house made ice cream flavours to choose from; a tangy strawberry flavour and a chocolate on the night we went.

My partial dessert plate
I love how the dessert spread offers miniature portions, so it leaves you room to sample everything (you know you're going to take one of each anyway!) The lemon tart is a beautiful square of tangy meringue and provides a refreshing change from all the other sweet choices. I also had myself a chocolate mud cake cube, a jar of fruit trifle, a chocolate mousse and a strawberry cheesecake, but the one that truly captivated my heart was the sticky date pudding. Kept warm inside a chafing dish, the cake is gorgeously moist even without the hot caramel and butterscotch sauces available to pour over.

And this time, my stomach managed to conquer all :)
Kiwifruit pavlovas and chocolate eclairs (which unfortunately came out after I unwillingly made the difficult decision to stop eating)

Depriving ourselves of food prior to a buffet is common (and such logical!) practice in anticipation of all the food we could potentially eat continuously over 2 hours. I have such an immense, nearly dangerous some might say, passion for buffets that Andy has threatened to ban me from visiting them because I eat until my stomach legitimately hurts. This time, I am wiser - I stop right before that point of food regret but not before I stuff down my second sticky date pudding before I call it quits.

If you want to talk value, the smaller selection of hot and cold dishes might leave you disappointed. There isn't a huge range or variety to choose from, but you can revel with the comfort that all the food is freshly prepared and not sitting on the counter top drying out or served in bulk to last a lifetime without being replenished. I would have loved more variety, but appreciated that I was able to get a fresh new serving of lamb when the last few meagre pieces of dehydrated roast lamb just wouldn't cut it.

I'm the type of food glutton who feeds off greed and loves a little bit of a lot, but I really need to start practicing what I preach when I am forever telling my students, "Remember, quality over quantity!"

The restaurant is spread out over a spacious and big open-spaced area, with seating divided into several sections that offer a quieter space away from the main buffet area. The staff are very accommodating and we received some of the best service I have had in a while; professional and helpful yet down-to-earth enough to share a joke and laugh with (or perhaps at) me when he well and truly thought I would have been onto dessert by the time he came around and collected around five plates of finished savoury food off me. Thank you big stomach!!

My advice: Start with the seafood and book for an early dinner session to catch the sun before it dips below the horizon. With the exception of great company, a brilliant sunset is the perfect accompaniment to a satisfying and warming dinner.
Entrance to Straits Cafe; this looks striking but naked at the same time!
Straits Cafe, Rendezvous Hotel Scarborough
Straits Cafe
Normal opening hours
Monday - Friday: 6:30am - 9:00pm
Saturday - Sunday: 6:30am - 9:30pm

Winter Buffet Dinner available Friday and Saturday nights only from 6pm during Winter months

(08) 9340 5746
Lobby area of Rendezvous Hotel Scarborough, 148 The Esplanade, Scarborough WA 6019

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