If you’re going to Eight at the Langham, you need to know how to strategically tackle what is quite possibly the best buffet offering in Auckland!
The Langham Auckland’s “new concept in dining” is made up of eight different food stations. Don’t call it buffet, call it fine dining self service.
The eight themed ‘kitchens’ each have their own chef, and carry a daily changing signature dish or you can ask the chef to whip you up your own personal delight.
We went for my birthday and had a great seat right beside the window, pretty much in first place as far as nipping back and forth is concerned. The very helpful staff gave us an orientation tour and we did a figure of eight (see what I did there?) seeing, smelling and drooling over all the possibilities. Well not literally as that would be gross.
Tip: To do buffets well, or even, I shall assert, correctly, there are definite strategies one must employ.
Firstly, don’t take the biggest plate and put a little bit of this and a little bit of that on it until you have a mountain of greed to take back to your table. What you’ll end up with is meat juice blending with your raw oysters and curry sauce on your salad.
The concept of Eight is already rolled out in the Langham Melbourne and it’s a new way of eating. A do-it-yourself degustation where you get to choose all your tiny plates and resist the urge to be a glutton. It’s hard I know, and probably takes more than one visit to get it right.
But on your tour, while salivating your way round, mentally design your meal. Maybe you’ll start with raw oysters. Personally I say ick, so I started with salmon and tuna sashimi sliced to order by the chef at Tokaido. Sushi is also there standing in little orderly lines. Or maybe the dim sum or pork buns will entice you.
Next I went to Route 66 and chose my pound of flesh from the raw meat cabinet. Venison, thanks, medium-rare. And a marinated Portobello mushroom thrown on the grill. While that was sizzling I tried the cream of mushroom soup (an unnecessary filler, but delicious all the same). Beside the raw meat is some pre-prepared Le Crueset dishes bubbling away with beef stroganoff, creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy veges and a huge rib-roast under a heat lamp waiting to be sliced. But when any meat you like, including wagyu (for an extra charge), can be cooked to order why go old school buffet?
The Great Ocean Road is the seafood bar with teryaki salmon, fish skewers, prawns and other many kinds of neptune’s fancy. I by-passed however and headed for the Spice Route, aka curry house. My Bloke dallied at Silk Road with a little dish of Pad Thai noodles to start him off. But the Indian kitchen here is great. Two chefs making naan bread to order and tandoori chicken being whipped off their skewers. Le Crueset (I have a fascination with these expensive pots) dishes of tasty butter chicken, lentil dahl, saag and potato, rogan josh and little dishes of accompaniments beside the rice.
The Garden Route, aka salad bar, is either help yourself or the chef will toss you up a speciality – like a Caesar or Greek and put a little nasturtium in it.
Move on to the Champs Elysees for French pastries, crepes made by the chef, cheeses and when we went, little warm bread and butter puddings.
Then the ultimate event: Dessert Road with teeny plates of lemon meringue pies, chocolate brownies, pannacotta, cheesecake, fruit salad and ice cream with toppings.
Come hungry, because even if you pace yourself getting through Eight is no mean feat.