Nov 8, 2011

The Garden Buffet, Star Casino, Pyrmont.

I have yet to meet a child that doesn't love a buffet dinner.  There's something about having free reign of a soft serve machine and a soft drink dispenser that makes even the most withdrawn child suddenly spring to life and forget their jet lag or that bed time is a mere hour or so away.  Of course, it could be all the sugar and caffeine but still, a happy child at dinner time in a new city is a blessing few parents would take for granted.

On Sunday, Mr SSG and I made our first trip to Star Casino in Pyrmont to meet my cousin and his family.  We've lived in Sydney for 5 years now and it has taken us all this time to discover its famed Garden Buffet. 

The Garden Buffet is open 7 days a week and there is a no booking policy for parties of less than 25 people. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For weekend dinners, the prices are as follows - adults $41.90,. children 5 - 12 $16.90 and those under 5 eat for free. This included unlimited soft drinks, tea and coffee. There are wines by the glass that were very reasonably priced.

The casino has recenty undergone a spectacular refurbishment with a number of big name eateries and stores moving in but our party of 8 were there for only one reason - a child and adult friendly dinner.   If there's one thing I love about casinos, it's their dedication to keeping customers happy and hence more likley to return.  Star has a customer loyalty card system that Mr SSG and I signed up for en route to dinner. The free Star card entitled me to free parking and one free adult dinner at the buffet. I also got to press a red button at reception that entered me into a cash prize draw.  Unforunately, it was not meant to be.  I left several kilos heavier but sadly none of this went to my wallet.

There were limited photo opportunities at dinner.  The food stations were all crowded and I snapped more random arms than food.  Not wanting to disrupt the flow of diners any further, I stopped snapping after one walk around the buffet. 

Freshly shaved parmesan at the Italian food station.

I didn't count this myself but the Star claims that there are 130 hot and cold dishes on the menu every night.  The range was very impressive for the price.  An Italian area served pizza and pasta, there was a roast station, Chinese (including a dedicated laksa station), Indian, Australian favourites and even chilli con carne.  I started my meal with a chicken caesar salad that you assemble yourself from a range of ingredients.  The chicken breast was lean and perfectly poached.

Sauerkraut.  I have never seen this at a buffet before.

The one thing we were all there for were the prawns. 

Tables around us featured plate after plate of them.  Some people peeled all their prawns at once before tucking in.  Others peeled for the whole table.  Some left the tail on.  Others were so neat their peeled prawns looked as if they had come from the nearby fish market.  Yet others just took the one prawn at a time approach.  It was fascinating to watch all the prawn love. 

It wasn't just the food that caught my eye, it was the choice of pots and pans used to serve it.  I like the way dishes were presented in the pans they were cooked in.

The mint sauce and mint jelly at the carvery in their copper pots.  Mr SSG rates the lamb highly, by the way.

Indian curry in Le Chasseur cast iron casserole pans.

Desserts were surprisingly good for a buffet.  My gold standards are the pastry crust for cream cakes and the biscuit base of the cheesecakes.  Both were light and full of flavour rather than just being a kind of edible but bland base for the points of interest, the filling and decoration.

Service was very efficient and friendly.  Plates were cleared quickly.  At the food stations, there was constant turnover of dishes both hot and cold.  You never had to wait long for anything really.  The standard of food was pretty high with generous amounts of lean meats and vegetables in the hot dishes. Attention was paid to presentation which I thought was a little extra touch given how busy and value priced this sector of the Star's food and beverage interests is.

We all left the buffet very satisfied.  The adults had a chance to chat in peace over hearty food and the children had plenty of options that they enjoyed immensely.  Next time, I may need to skip both breakfast and lunch if I intend to cover at least most of the cuisines on offer.

Star City Garden Buffet on Urbanspoon


  1. I think I startled the family with my laughter when I read "I left several kilos heavier but sadly none of this went to my wallet."

    Another great read!

  2. Yum... looks like a great deal and you sampled an array of food from the buffet. I'm visiting this Friday too, just to check out whats available. Thanks for the review

  3. I do love a buffet...probably a bit too much given the size of my stomach at the moment!

  4. Sean: glad it got you laughing.

    mashi: enjoy. My advice would be to stick to one type of cuisine (plus the prawns) :-P

    MissPiggy: I reckon I'm about ready for a good breakfast buffet right now. Looking forward to the spread in the Yarra Valley tomorrow.

    SSG xxx

  5. Gosh I love a buffet. The one at the Intercontinental has always been our go to in Sydney but at twice the price of the Star City one! I think we may have to give it a go on your recommendation.

  6. I wish I liked buffets more to enjoy them. But they're good to fill hubby up!

  7. If you are ever in Dubai, you need to have the Friday "brunch" at the Palace hotel.
    Best. Buffet. EVER.

  8. Decoration is very nice

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