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“Legal action from Chinese Embassy?”

The Real Chinese Metro Buffet
Ranked #17,435 of 23,689 Restaurants in London
Cuisines: Chinese
Restaurant details
Reviewed 1 June 2014

This venue puzzles me, it has the location and a large tapped customer base (shoppers from the Broadway Centre as well as gig audiences from Hammersmith Apollo) so I cannot understand a restaurant giving itself the weighty pressure of titling itself the REAL China - what the Chinese Tourist Board would say on the matter I can only conjecture (that's if they are aware). Let me start my review in setting out I think there is general agreement in the reviews for this establishment but there appears to be some dispute from others giving this place praise thus understandably leaving those unsure what to believe. Some argue the negative reviews are over the top and unfair. It seems many of those favouring this place fall under the category 'what do you expect for this price'. If this is your philosophy in life then I would say follow those reviews. I will relate my review exactly as I experienced it and leave it for others to see if my experiences corroborate with those read.

I visited this restaurant for an informal large family lunch on a Saturday afternoon. It is located in a favourable location just outside the Broadway Centre. The decor was pleasant: dark wood furnishings and the buffet food laid out in the middle. We sat down but no waiting staff came over so some of us started to help ourselves to the buffet until word spread we had to pay BEFORE eating (seemed unusual arrangement) I paid for food and bottomless drinks. I found out after this was limited to fizzy drinks dispensers (usual Pepsi/Diet Pepsi/Lemonade/Vimto/Orangeade) I do not like fizzy drinks and would have preferred mineral water at least but none offered; I would have bought Jasmine tea if known this was the offer but that was more money so I had a Vimto.

Now to vexed question of the food. Let me deal with positives first: it looked good and a decent selection - for me I was rubbing my hands seeing egg fu yung on offer (rarely get this) - the other notable thing was the steam rising from the food (the significance of this will be discussed in a moment). My nephew who is famed in our family for his appetite claimed he was starving and my daughter - famed for her love of spring rolls - eagerly zeroed her attention to these. My nephew came back with his plate piled high. When I went up to collect my plate - unlike other reviews I did not see ayt chipped plates - however my plate, and the others, were COLD. A worrying sign - a basic in ANY establishment. When I returned to the table the faces of everyone signaled something was not right. I soon discovered the reason was everyone said their food was cold. I do not mean stone cold but it was definitely at best (the mushrooms) warm - we love our food hot. My mum and sister, later others also, asked for their food to be reheated in the microwave. While they waited I noticed my nephew had typically demolished his food but remained seated. He would normally be on to his 2nd or 3rd plate in oriental buffets but announced he was going somewhere else to eat owing to the food - that has never happened! We had to strangely wait some time for the microwave reheated food to return and when it did some dishes were only a little better! What we couldn't understand was how this could occur if there was STEAM coming from the hotplates. We wondered if it was comparable to how some supermarkets pump out baking bread aromas in their bakeries. My nephew said the equipment probably wasn't working but I argued even if this were the case the restaurant out of common courtesy/avoid deception should notify customers before they ate and/or offer reduce prices so this couldn't have been the issue. Also if so many people raised the food temperature issue (we saw others asking for their food to be heated) surely they were aware of the problem and should have taken steps to address this.

My food: Temperature issue aside there were some quality issues. As mentioned egg fu yung enjoyed, also mushrooms - large & tasty, stir fried beans crispy. Downsides: a) prawn sesame toast overcooked + hard; b) beef in oyster sauce (one of my favourite Cantonese staples) - resembled cow heel soup i.e. pieces of meat came attached with bone and gristle - perhaps the real way it is done in China? - if so a complete first for me also quite greasy aftertaste; c) sweet and sour chicken - I did not have this - simply because I initially thought it was some concoction of raspberries. The unnatural red colour was obviously E number(s) and not appertising. I should mention the ice cream tasted more of ice than cream - I know this is budget and I was not expecting premium clotted cream but even basic value ice cream was better than this. There was also a 'jelly' - admit not a fan but jelly is suppose to eventually melt on the tongue, this broke up into miniature 'rubberised' bits - which I had to discreetly get rid of in a tissue.

The men's toilet facilities were okay except 2 out of the 4 urinals were out of order as was the soap dispenser - a bottle of liquid soap replaced this. I should also mention the waiting staff were faultless (apart from time waiting for reheated food) they replaced empty food trays regularly. In fact I felt sorry for the young woman at the bar/front desk as she did a lot of running around and must have been aware of all the comments/dissatisfaction.

Concluding thoughts: To those who appear to argue I shouldn't be fussy for the price personally I think this is a weak and insulting argument. I HAVE had many meals for around this price and yes of better quality. Also what is it saying to chefs who can produce good food at budget prices? If filing your stomach is the sole priority there is a McDonald's opposite where one can get a Big Mc meal for around the same price (not that I'm promoting that) but just to show how spurious that argument is. In fairness it could be I visited on an off day but other reviews worryingly corroborate the issues I experienced and still they appear to exist.

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2  Thank 777sirdon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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35 - 39 of 65 reviews

Reviewed 15 January 2014

Well, I'm a bit lost for words... I'm not quite sure what I walked into...

As others have said, you walk in, pay in advance, then see the buffet.

Large-ish selection, but of what... you can technically call it food, at a stretch, it was all edible. In fact there was some actual beef amongst all the cubes of fat in one of the few dishes that had meat.

The celery in Thai sauce salad was nice, then again with a sauce that's basically water and chili how could it not be?

The noodles were plain noodles with salt on them as far as I was concerned - I'm sure there were a couple of other ingredients but I looked for them and couldn't find them!

The special fried rice was vegetarian - I thought the point of special fried rice was to have mixed ingredients (meat, prawns...) but it was basically egg fried rice.

The hot and sour soup was a thin vinegar, I didn't try the chicken and sweetcorn soup but I actually wish I had as I would have liked it more.

The spring rolls and samosas had the same cabbage-based filling.

There was a 'Chinse curry' that was a chicken korma I think, and extra curry sauce to put on noodles etc.

I tried to find one bowl that wasn't damaged, for the soup, by the way. Not one! They all had very large chips. Knives weren't on the table, you had to take one from a box with a hand-drawn knife above it, I wonder why - attacks?

Desert - I tried not to laugh. One Mr Kipling mini apple pie in its foil base sitting there, and a few chunks of orange in a bowl. No ice-cream. No cake.

Drinks - radioactive-coloured fizzy orange drink that wasn't bad, and a lemon-flavoured drink that was not lemon-flavoured. Unlimited for £1.80 wasn't bad.

After saying that, at under £5 I'll probably be back.

Quantity not quality!

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1  Thank alexz248
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We went there for a Sunday lunch, today (5th Jan) around 12:45 (it was open from midday). First surprise - you have to pay in advance (now I understand why). The orange juice a waitress lady poured into our glasses straight from a white carton of "79p basic orange juice" from one of the supermarkets .Ok, we have found our tables (one was very wobbly), then we started to hunt for the food. It was almost nothing to choose from and not even half of it looks like real chinese one. I have tried a first bite but the food(???) was COLD. When I complained about it the lady advised me... "next time put the spoon deeper into container to find a warmer food" !! Then she offered to.... WARM UP our food in microwave!!! It was enough for us so I asked for a refund - another surprise - only food can be refunded, drinks which we even didn't touch are not refundable. That's fine, we just wanted to leave this place as soon as possible. It was waste of money and time.

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1  Thank MARCIN Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2014

An all-you-can-eat Buffet under a fiver in West London? Bottomless soda for £1,80? C'mon guys... were you expecting 5 star service, decor & food choices?
The choices are wide & varied - always 2 kinds of soup, vegetable dishes, lots of meat dishes, noodles, rice options & great sauces to accompany all choices. The staff have always been friendly, & although it's not the Great Hall of the People's Republic in terms of decor (yes - I have eaten there for a State banquet) the cutlery, tables & chairs are clean 7 comfy & glasses polished. There's also a Chinese Beer or 2 as well as tea variations on offer & desserts are included with a choice of fresh fruits or ice-cream or cake.
I have eaten there many times & will continue to do so. I wish guests who pay under £5 yet expect a £25 meal would refrain from unfair comments.

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Thank caribbean-caroline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2013

absolutely disgusting service,the food was stale,my soup was cold, very rude waitress-didn't make instructions clear and then was very rude to us when two of my friends wanted water, this was a waste of money and if you want to attract more customers change the people who work here. also we caught a waitress applying eye drops behind the counter which is extremely unhygienic. I will not be visiting this dump again. We had to pay before eating and wasted £12.45 for nothing! Also dirty bathrooms . no lock on bathroom door and when we were standing in the toilet waitress comes in giving dirty looks. if I could rate it lower than 1 I would.

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Thank Fluzzy112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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