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We tried food from around the globe at all-you-can-eat Spoon World Buffet in Chatham


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When I read the recent Tripadvisor reviews describing the food as 'awful' and bad mouthing the staff, I was slightly nervous heading out for lunch at Spoon World Buffet in Chatham.

It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Not only because of Covid, but also because I’m vegetarian and it’s always risky going somewhere that doesn’t have an online menu you can look over in advance.

Spoon World Buffet is an all-you-can-eat restaurant on Chatham High Street. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Spoon World Buffet is an all-you-can-eat restaurant on Chatham High Street. Picture: Sam Lawrie

But myself, my partner (also veggie) and my stepson (not veggie, but a picky eater) took a gamble and I’m pleased to say, it paid off… Well, sort of.

We strategically picked the early lunchtime slot on a Saturday to get the restaurant at its cleanest and food at its freshest.

Spoon World Buffet has recently been refurbished and felt quite clean and spacious at first, but it quickly got busy and a little chaotic. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Spoon World Buffet has recently been refurbished and felt quite clean and spacious at first, but it quickly got busy and a little chaotic. Picture: Sam Lawrie

It was confusing getting in the Spoon's door as they have a strict one-way policy, and navigating the drinks queue was also perplexing because of this, but we were seated swiftly.

After reading reviews about sticky floors and messy tables, I was pleasantly surprised that where we sat seemed clean.

It was also quite empty when we arrived. However, the restaurant quickly filled up with families and birthday parties and it soon became clear how things could quickly spiral out of control if the staff didn't keep on top of things.

Rows and rows of buffet trays line this huge dining room. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Rows and rows of buffet trays line this huge dining room. Picture: Sam Lawrie
There's just about everything here, from sushi and made-to-order crepes to chicken nuggets and chips. Picture: Sam Lawrie
There's just about everything here, from sushi and made-to-order crepes to chicken nuggets and chips. Picture: Sam Lawrie

We walked up to the endless rows of metal food trays and were spoiled for choice.

World buffet is right - from pizza and pasta to noodles and curries, and even a conveyor belt of sushi, the cuisine is certainly varied.

I was pleased to see lots of vegetarian options, something I didn’t expect.

I won’t list off everything we ate but our first round included soft noodles, egg fried rice and crispy potatoes, all of which were tasty.

Our first plates included noodles, vegetables, tofu and crispy potatoes, which were hit and miss - lovely noodles and potatoes, but not-so-nice tofu and vegetables . Picture: Sam Lawrie
Our first plates included noodles, vegetables, tofu and crispy potatoes, which were hit and miss - lovely noodles and potatoes, but not-so-nice tofu and vegetables . Picture: Sam Lawrie
It was great to have so many meat-free options to choose from. Picture: Sam Lawrie
It was great to have so many meat-free options to choose from. Picture: Sam Lawrie

They also had crispy duck pancakes and Chinese ribs, among other things, which looked good and were something I definitely would’ve tried in my meat-eating days.

We also gave the tofu a go, which had a nice flavour but was sadly far too chewy. The vegetables were also a bit watery, but it was nice to at least see some healthier options on offer.

You can stack up your own plate of crispy duck pancakes, along with lots of other Chinese takeaway classics. Picture: Sam Lawrie
You can stack up your own plate of crispy duck pancakes, along with lots of other Chinese takeaway classics. Picture: Sam Lawrie
It was nice to see a good choice of vegetables on offer in a family restaurant, even if they weren't the tastiest. Picture: Sam Lawrie
It was nice to see a good choice of vegetables on offer in a family restaurant, even if they weren't the tastiest. Picture: Sam Lawrie

On our next visit to the buffet, we sampled the curries, including paneer, lentil dahl and chickpea curry, all of which were nicely spiced. They also had meat and seafood dishes such as tikka masala and Thai green curry, to name a few.

We couldn’t resist a slice of pizza, which was nothing special but good enough, and the pastas - spinach, mushroom and tomato - which were my least favourite dishes. All three were flavourless, overcooked and cold.

I was looking forward to my plate of pizza and pasta but, unfortunately, the pasta wasn't up to scratch. Picture: Sam Lawrie
I was looking forward to my plate of pizza and pasta but, unfortunately, the pasta wasn't up to scratch. Picture: Sam Lawrie
My partner happily sampled several of the restaurant's spicy curries. Picture: Sam Lawrie
My partner happily sampled several of the restaurant's spicy curries. Picture: Sam Lawrie

As mentioned, my stepson can be picky but we encouraged him to try some new things for lunch.

He had a taste of the duck, calamari and even crab claw, all of which he surprisingly loved.

My stepson's mixed plate, including duck, his new favourite food. Picture: Sam Lawrie
My stepson's mixed plate, including duck, his new favourite food. Picture: Sam Lawrie
We asked our teenager if he wanted to try the beef stomach, although on closer inspection we weren't entirely sure what was on the serving dish so probably best he declined. Picture: Sam Lawrie
We asked our teenager if he wanted to try the beef stomach, although on closer inspection we weren't entirely sure what was on the serving dish so probably best he declined. Picture: Sam Lawrie

We tried to get him to taste the beef stomach, but that was a step too far.

For dessert, we squeezed some enjoyable Black Forest gateau, profiteroles and ‘eaten’ mess into our full bellies - I just hope that last one was a typo…

There's always room for dessert, especially when Black Forest gateau and profiteroles are on offer. Picture: Sam Lawrie
There's always room for dessert, especially when Black Forest gateau and profiteroles are on offer. Picture: Sam Lawrie
I couldn't help having a taste of the 'eaten' mess. Picture: Sam Lawrie
I couldn't help having a taste of the 'eaten' mess. Picture: Sam Lawrie

We also had the obligatory bowl of fruit salad, but it was sitting in sugary syrup from the tin and wasn’t great.

The fruit looked colourful and appealing, but it was swimming in syrup. Picture: Sam Lawrie
The fruit looked colourful and appealing, but it was swimming in syrup. Picture: Sam Lawrie

The staff were quick to take our plates the entire time and, other than one of the waiters looking like I’d asked for something from outer space when I requested more cutlery, they were pleasant enough.

Is it fine dining? No. Is it the best food you’re ever going to eat? No. But it definitely wasn’t the horror show I’d expected from the online reviews.

A decent amount of the food was tasty, our fussy family found plenty to eat, and my stepson has already asked if we can go back for his birthday to try even more new things, so I can’t really argue with that.

We braved lunch at Spoon World Buffet despite the terrible online reviews - thankfully, it wasn't as bad as we expected. Picture: Sam Lawrie
We braved lunch at Spoon World Buffet despite the terrible online reviews - thankfully, it wasn't as bad as we expected. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Spoon World Buffet paper placemats were at every seat around the table and were all clean. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Spoon World Buffet paper placemats were at every seat around the table and were all clean. Picture: Sam Lawrie
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Ratings out of five

Food: Some of it was nice, some of it was bland and cold. Definitely hit and miss, but lots of options for all kinds of eaters and the allergies are displayed really clearly above every dish. ***

Drink: It’s £3 for a refillable soft drink from the slightly-sticky machine, which I thought was reasonable and actually cheaper than refillables at some chain restaurants ***

Decor: It’s recently been refurbished and, because we arrived before the crowds, it was quite clean, spacious and fairly modern looking. ****

Staff: The front of house staff were a bit bristly and very strict with how to enter and exit, but the staff who cleared our plates were on the ball. ***

Price: It’s £17.99 per person and we each had two main plates and two dessert plates so even though it’s not the best quality food, it’s certainly good value for money when it comes to quantity. ****

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