For some reason, the word “smorgasbord” is taboo as far as fine dining goes, with thoughts of bogans at the Armadale Sizzler immediately coming to mind at the mere utterance of the word. I do admit, it can be a bit of a hit and miss; a lot of effort goes into preparing that much food with the same precision a single plate of food would need; but there are some that have managed to get it just right. As far as I know, there are only two “upper-class” buffets in Perth, Café at the Hyatt and the better-known Atrium at Crown Perth; and of the two, I would definitely say that I prefer Café. Found at rear of the lobby at the Hyatt on St. Georges Terrace, Café boasts a fantastic dessert bar and a drool-worthy selection of fresh seafood and hot dishes.
It was a feast for the eyes the moment I walked in. The interiors were thoughtfully set out: dark hard-wood floors, marble detailing at each of the food stations and carefully placed lighting that allowed me to appreciate both the romantic ambient lighting and the sight of my food (ambient ≠ darkness). There was an Asian feel to the place, with lanterns hanging from the ceiling where we were sitting. It felt a bit strange because there was no Asian food to be found anywhere in there, but that didn’t matter too much because I was perfectly happy with the selection.
The presentation of food is equally as important with buffets as it is with individual dishes. And boy-oh-boy, did they present that bread in a beautiful way! A coeliac’s worst nightmare maybe, but it certainly is the opposite for me. I admit that I probably spent too much of my stomach capacity gorging on bread and butter and cheese; but one look at that spread, and I was in heaven.
Another one of my weaknesses is oysters. I love those slimy gooey things! They were cold and fresh and so very perfect. The chilled cooked prawns were also very good, soft but firm at the same time. And the baby octopus salad was to die for! Now, I understand that a lot of people aren’t a fan of seafood (which I think is a shame but, oh well, more for me!) and I can safely say that their hot meals section was quite a winner in my eyes. As with all smorgasbords, they had freshly roasted pork and lamb cutlets and roast vegetables. Their roast pork was delicious, I got the perfect slice: there was just the right proportion of fat to meat (enough gravy-soaked fat to provide flavour but not too much). Another star was the vegetarian lasagne, the pasta sheets were cooked perfectly and there was enough cheese to keep my happy whist still maintaining the freshness of the spinach and other greens.
Last but not least: Dessert! It’s the thing I always look forward to in a meal and I do feel like it left a great lasting impression on me. I grabbed all the different kinds of panacotta and mousse as I could get and those freshly cooked waffles! Popping that little bit of ice-cream on them and drizzling that caramel over it…scrumdiliumptious! A bit of advice for those visiting the dessert stations at buffets: Don’t be afraid to mix things up! It’s one of the only occasions where you can mix and match your desserts and eat them how you would like it done, so be daring, be demanding, because you’re allowed to.
En conclusion, I would have to say that Café is a favourite of mine. When I can afford a bit of splurging or am not guilty about the copious amounts of food I am certain in eat, it definitely is a treat. The three times I have been, I have thoroughly enjoyed the food and the service is great as well. I would definitely recommend this to all diners!