Written by Andrew Shaw.

The Laughing Buddha is an oriental buffet which offers a taste of Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Thai and Indo-Chinese cuisine, all for £12.50. That drops to £10 with a student card and even less if you go for lunch or on a Sunday.

Photo: Jason D'Great, Flickr
Photo: Jason D’Great, Flickr

The restaurants website speaks of a quiet, relaxed atmosphere, and it is not kidding. When I walked in the numbers almost doubled, although this could have been because it was only 7pm. Then again, if I had have wanted noise and drama with my meal I would have stayed home and stuck Jeremy Kyle on. By the time I was finishing my meal more people were starting to enter.

The food was held in great dishes on a table that stretched almost the length of the room, and was an extremely inviting sight after my day of self-inflicted food striking.

I had eaten little for breakfast and lunch, saving my hunger in a calculated attempt to eat as much of my favourite food as I could. As I piled reams of spare ribs in black bean sauce, salt and pepper squid and Thai green chicken curry onto my plate, I knew it had been worth the wait.

In the world of buffets there is no such thing as style or separation. Teriyaki mixes with coconut rice, which combines with prawn dumplings, blends with duck in plum sauce and does other such synonyms with whatever else you pick out.

There was a smaller section of the table saved for starter meals, and I helped myself to a few of the prawn crackers and sushi rolls, but it was hard to stick to these simpler foods when a few feet down the shredded crispy chicken was running low far too quickly for my liking.

The food on the whole was amazing and I had more than enough of it all to comment. One slight criticism however: the noodles, like Justin Timberlake’s hair in the 90s, were a little too crunchy. In their defence they had been frying under the baking heat of the lights propped above them. Unlike JT, I at least understood why.

But all good things must come to an end, and the end in this case were the desserts. Ever been to a Chinese restaurant and had a really nice, original oriental dessert? It is certainly a rare treat.

However, not only was I not expecting the last course to be quite on the same level as the first two, I was far too full for a proper pudding. So I swiped a handful of the mini jelly babies, mourned the fact that I was too stuffed for the Mr Whippy style ice cream and called it a night.

For anyone else wishing to enjoy the fantastic food, efficient service and water that tasted ever so slightly like vanilla, The Laughing Buddha’s situated across from the nightclub Status on Silver Street and is open from 12 noon to 11pm.