Owl and I were very intrigued when we heard that Cafe Opera’s buffet had unlimited Peking Duck. That plus all the yummy seafood and the paella was a temptation to not be resisted for long. We heard that the seafood buffet only runs on the weekends so we were very careful to book 4 months in advanced for a Saturday (19th February 2011 to be exact).
The sandstone building is beautiful with an air well in the middle and warm lights guiding you. We weren’t quite sure where to go so I went to the Information booth but the man completely ignored me. He was on the phone and didn’t even make eye contact to indicate that he is going to attend to me next. That was a little off-putting so I traipsed to the concierge around the corner and enquired of him instead. He was very helpful and courteous which made up for the former rudeness.
Service at Cafe Opera was excellent. We had a very friendly and attentive waitress who knew when to drop by and when to leave us to our messy seafood munching. Unfortunately, the food was rather disappointing. Choice was very limited particularly the hot food selection with only steamed veggies, 1 curry, rice, a fish dish, a chicken dish, roast potatoes and roast lamb/pork. Oddly, their choice for soup was Laksa soup without the noodles or usual condiments. Not exactly an appetising option even if it was their only one.
No matter, we were here for the Peking duck, lobster and paella!
Okay the Peking duck was there in overflowing abundance but the paella was replaced with seafood pasta (not even a marinara! some random tomato based hodge podge with maccheroni rigati tubes). And alas! There was no champagne lobster to be had! No indication of it anywhere and our friendly waitress didn’t inform us that we might have to order it. I looked around several times that night and nobody was eating lobster either. 😦
The sashimi was fresh although the hunks took awhile to chew through so it was a wee warm by the time you swallowed it. Sadly, even the Peking duck was disappointing. The pancakes and duck were cold since they come out from the kitchen and sit on a table. They also forewent the traditional crispy skin and instead put bits of meat so really, it was more like duck spring rolls. Like uber thick duck popiah. Pleasant enough, but it wasn’t Peking duck.
The dessert selection was excellent, however. There were so many varieties of cakes, mousses, fruits and even a tasty toffee ice cream which went super well with the pecan pie. I expected there to be something special like a chocolate fountain because it was the Valentines weekend but unfortunately it wasn’t there. The most surprising dish of the night was the cream coloured cake with light green gelatine on the top. I thought it would taste like melon but it turned out to be mint! Very refreshing in more ways than one.
Overall, we were pretty disappointed with the quality and selection considering we paid AUD$95 each. Definitely will not be going back. It’s unfortunate that I only managed to find 2 blogs about it and the second one disappeared when I looked for it again. The first one was sponsored by Intercontinental so it must have been a little biased. Or a lot biased.
I hope this entry serves as a review point for people wanting to know if it is a good place to attend. I would say save your money and go to the Corn Exchange or Sheraton on the Park.
As it stands, I still have not really found my perfect buffet yet. The search continues! 😉 Where are your favourite buffet hits?
Inter Continental Hotel
117 Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9253 9000