Today we’re talking about a restaurant that we discovered for the first time in 2018, and which absolutely blew us away. Situated just around the corner of the Shepherd’s Bush underground station, Tai Buffet is an all-vegan Asian food buffet venue which caters to an all-you-can-eat crowd until late daily.
They are actually pre-cooked, so you can eat them right out of the packet. Not that you usually can’t with Quorn, since it’s not like meat where you need to kill off all the germs first, but still – these are actually designed this way. We decided to pop them in the oven to warm up as we were cooking some croquettes at the same time anyway.
I definitely think the name of this product tells you exactly what to expect. They are very chewy and solid, which was a bit of an unexpected texture for me but definitely pleasant. The Quorn itself has quite a chickeny taste. Then there’s the seasoning: it’s very aromatic, filled with fragrant lemongrass, and it is slightly spicy and tingly on your tongue. It’s not too spicy per se, and it’s all full of flavour rather than overwhelming.
It’s not too crispy on the outside, so there’s a cohesive texture throughout the whole bit. It’s actually three or four bites’ worth in each ‘bite’, so they are a considerable size. You can visibly see the herbs and other ingredients through the inside as well as the outside.
All in all, I would definitely eat these again. They’re pretty tasty, and since you can have them cooked or uncooked, they’re quite convenient as well. There are eight in each packet and with four bites equalling 148 calories, they are a fairly good snack – or a great salad topping, as we tried here!
As soon as we headed to our table we could see that this pan-Asian restaurant was going to be a lot of fun. The tables themselves are a huge part of the experience, with projectors and magic pointers that allow you to draw, play games, and change your “tablecloth” right on the surface of the table itself.
The whole venue is very dark, as you can no doubt guess from the poor quality of the photos. We did our best but the lighting was very, very low, no doubt to help the projectors stand out. It was a little odd, especially as the food then ended up painted in the colours of the tablecloth, but it wasn’t too disorientating – just hard to see.
We were placed at a table for four with another couple – as the tables are put into set configurations and can’t be moved they do warn that this may happen with larger groups, but we didn’t expect it with just the two of us. After the other couple left, with empty tables to our right and left, we weren’t disturbed again and other diners were seated at those spots. It did take away some of the feeling of privacy in the beginning – it’s a little disappointing when you book for a table for two, so there could perhaps be some improvement in the booking process and whether you are notified that you could be sharing at the time you have chosen.
Now, onto the food. When you want to order, you have a tablet on your table with the full menu of both food and drinks. You choose what you want and it is added to a list on the right-hand side. When you’re satisfied with what you have chosen, you press send and your server prepares the order. It’s a very high-tech way of ordering and it is fun to do – I’m glad that they provide the tablet rather than making you download an app on your own device! The whole process was very smooth and we had no problems with the orders, although it is a bit annoying that the prices of the food or the contents of your previous orders aren’t displayed in the order section. We ended up counting everything up one by one, which was a bit laborious with scrolling up and down the screen to work it out – we always like to know how much we’re spending while we order because, as food bloggers, we can have a temptation to go crazy and buy everything on the menu!
We went for a number of dishes, which are listed here:
Seaweed Salad (v)£4.45
Thin, crunchy Wakame seaweed, lightly dressed and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Sizzling Chilli Tofu (v)£7.95
Crispy tofu with mixed bell peppers and onion, glazed in Korean BBQ sauce, with crushed chilli and served with a sizzle.
Crispy Vegetable Tempura Maki (v)£6.95
Vegetables in a light tempura rolled with velvety avocado, and drizzled with creamy house mayo. 6 delicious pieces.
Thai Red Curry (v)£13.95
Creamy coconut Thai red curry with butternut squash & fresh vegetables, garnished with coriander & red chilli. Served with steamed rice.
We adored this soup – it’s so simple and filling, and the texture is really interesting. That little Thai flavour makes it perfect for spice addicts without being too strong for those who prefer mild heat. Yum! Here’s the recipe so you can recreate it yourself.