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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cafe Mix all-you-can-eat buffet at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney


Buffets are all about quantity, and for me, that's always a dangerous thing.

First there is the quantity of choice. And then there is the quantity you greedily pile onto your plate.

And the plate after that. And the plate after that.

I have no willpower.

cafe mix
Cafe Mix

Buffets and I are a dangerous combination, but when work offers you a Christmas lunch at Cafe Mix at the Shangri-La, who am I to deny this festive generosity?

salad bar
Salad bar

There's plenty on offer here: a seafood bar (the oysters and prawns are quite tasty but the crabs are the usual watery defrosted kind), all kinds of salad (baby radishes and peeled baby carrots, a DIY Caesar, poached salmon with beans, and a refreshing fetta, olive and watermelon salad), and all kinds of antipasto assortments.

seafood plate
Plate #1: seafood and salad

Four work-stations also feature chefs (yes, live and cooking) fussing over pots, pans and dishes to bring you Italian (we saw freshly cooked hand-made pasta being prepared with mushrooms), Malaysian/Chinese (caramel belly pork with eggs, fried noodles, siu mai, pork dumplings and pork mince with beans), Japanese (sushi) and Indian (curries, pappadums and rice).

sushi bar
Sushi bar

temaki hand rolls
Temaki handroll sushi

 sushi plate
Plate #2: sushi and siu mai

The steamed dumplings have been sauna'd into sogginess and the sushi rice is similarly wet and stodgy, but there's greater joy in the hot foods ahead.

curry plate
Plate #3: curries, Malaysian and a few more oysters

The curries pack a pleasing punch, rich in spices and flavours, and the caramel pork is sweet and tender.

The chefs are bemused by my camera action throughout my investigations, and throw mock modelling poses due to lack of lens attention. If only they knew...

dessert station
Dessert buffet

The highlight of the buffet though, is always the dessert table, and the array of offerings here would make any diabetic automatically reach for their insulin.

chocolate profiterole tower
Chocolate profiterole tower

chocolate cake
Chocolate cake

Raspberry and chocolate macarons

parfait glasses
Parfait glasses with creme anglaise and fruit

Hazelnut, strawberry, vanilla and chocolate gelato

disappearing profiterole tower
Diminishing profiteroles

cardamom custard
Cardamom custard pot

lemon tarts
Lemon tarts

There's enough here to satisfy the most ravenous sweet tooth, although we find some of the prettier desserts in shot glasses are disappointingly bland. Lack of descriptions make the guesswork a little tougher although the giant compartmentalised box of raspberry and chocolate macarons is almost enough to make me weep (they're delicious too).

We're perplexed too that no bowls are provided for the gelato--our scoops sitting awkwardly on our little dessert plates--and I'm disappointed their famous chocolate fountain is out of action today too.

This doesn't stop us all waddling out after eating half our body weight in one sitting. Willpower is useless in the face of so much choice, even if my belt says I really shouldn't have eaten that last profiterole.


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Cafe Mix at the Shangri-La
Level 1, 176 Cumberland Street
The Rocks, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9250 6000

Open 6am til late

Lunch Buffet
Monday to Friday $48 (Jan07 special $38)
Saturday and Sunday $58

Dinner Buffet
Monday to Thursday $58
Friday and Saturday $85
Sunday $68
*Prices correct at Jan 2007. Please call Cafe Mix direct to confirm.

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Sheraton on the Park Botanica Brasserie buffet
Sheraton Four Points Corn Exchange buffet

Swissotel JPB Restaurant Fondue Chinoise buffet
Swissotel Crossroads Bar High Tea buffet (Jan09), (Nov06) , (Jun06) and (Oct05)
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 1/03/2007 11:58:00 pm


  • At 1/04/2007 2:00 am, Blogger nika said…

    If only the chefs knew what? That they could not possiblt compete with the shots of the beautiful food? I see no chefs! (fine with me :-)) Looks like an awesome meal, WAY more than I could eat on any three days!

  • At 1/04/2007 2:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We have similarly huge buffets at the Shangri-la here...it's always a mind boggling experience! :)

  • At 1/04/2007 4:32 am, Blogger Yvo Sin said…

    I was going to say, how much is that buffet... I guess that's about right. Wow... That's on par with the Vegas buffets, which are once in a rare while treats for me.... oofa.

    PS How many oysters? ;) Just teasing. Bear in mind though when my mother ate the 18 oysters and kept eating other stuff.... this was only a few years ago, and she's nearing 60. I'm still impressed, though your numbers are nothing to sniff at, either. And... 50? O_O I bow before s/he who did that.

  • At 1/04/2007 8:07 am, Blogger Reb said…

    Wow - I'm so jealous! All we get is mediocre wine, a plate of dips and crackers and a pat on the back! This buffet looks amazing.

  • At 1/04/2007 8:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy New Year Helen! Even someone with willpower of steel is sure to cave when faced with such a dessert table...it looks absolutely divine! Where were those macarons when I went? They look fantastic too - with a nice thick wedge of filling in the middle. And that chocolate cake.. I'm finding it hard not to pick up the phone and make a reservation. Futile willpower.

  • At 1/04/2007 10:05 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cafe Mix is the only place I go to when I feel like a buffet. I was there only 2 wks ago. It is the best value buffet in town and a lot cheaper than the Sheraton for instance!


  • At 1/04/2007 10:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow... i heard about this place... and now i think i will collapse :)

    happy new year!

  • At 1/04/2007 10:17 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    $38 for Jan what a bargin! i'm so there like...tomorrow thank you thank you!

  • At 1/04/2007 3:22 pm, Blogger Anastasia said…

    wow looks amazing but I do become very embarrasing with buffets - no stopping me!

  • At 1/04/2007 4:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, that looks so good!!! Just wondering, did you go during lunch or dinner?

  • At 1/04/2007 5:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    it looks very nice and sumptious
    i went all sad looking at the yummy dessert that i wish i could sink my mouth into

    but i was wondering though...how would you rate the food??

    i went for a night buffet at shangri-la last year and IT WAS HORRIBLE TERRIBLE YUCK!

    maybe i was unlucky cos i reckon every main dish there was so bland, the dessert looked nice but tasted so sub-standard
    i want to konw if they improved...

  • At 1/04/2007 7:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had my christmas dinner there on the day before the eve. And yes, they could have done better with the description, rather than just Lamb, chicken or pork. -.-"

  • At 1/04/2007 8:26 pm, Blogger Melting Wok said…

    very extravagant !:) Buffets are getting very competitive here in Southern California as well. Bring it on, they even serve lobsters, huge boston oysters in black bean sauce, peking duck with double folded buns, live dungeness crabs, scallops on the shell & the whole nine yards. They even beat the all-time famous cheesecake factory "cheesecakes". Oh boy, those cream puffs are piling as high as our buffet servings, aren't they ? :)

  • At 1/04/2007 9:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi, i have tried cafe mix as well but they are not as good as corn exchange seafood and dessert wise..hehe. Cafe mix is actually having a summer lunch buffet special at $31.50 if you see the january special at www.bestrestaurants.com.au/

  • At 1/04/2007 10:08 pm, Blogger MissK said…

    I feel full just by looking at your photos.
    Did you start with dessert?I would.

  • At 1/04/2007 11:40 pm, Blogger Jen said…

    I know what you mean about the dessert table. I felt like a wide-eyed kid when I saw it.
    G, rightly had to wheel me out of the place as I was still trying to fit in more and more cakes. Although, there were no macaroons when I went... must go again.

  • At 1/05/2007 8:25 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Wow, dessert table looks so good.

    You've sold me!

  • At 1/05/2007 5:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh my goodness. cakes cakes and more cakes!!! dude you were lucky to get a xmas lunch there all i got was free game of bowling hahaha

  • At 1/14/2007 8:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is that $31.50 special still on? coz i can only see spcial for lunch @ $38 bux..

  • At 1/17/2007 10:58 am, Blogger ~>*Jenn*<~ said…

    I've been to Cafe Mix two times now and it fails to disappoint. I absolutely love the ambience, the variety and selection of food and I'm going back there this week!

    A must for all to try ;)

  • At 2/05/2009 2:38 pm, Blogger Epicfailblog said…

    would you say here or swissotel has a better dessert selection?

  • At 2/05/2009 8:39 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Mizz_Amal - The buffet selection changes every day so it's hard to say. If you are especially curious, I'd visit both and ask to see their current offerings.

  • At 11/20/2009 3:55 pm, Anonymous Dan said…

    quite disappointed with the buffet now
    since the quantity for the weekday lunch
    reduced so much and hence very limited amount of variety. However, the quality is much better and guaranteed.
    There was no seafood as the service said that they recently removed seafood on weekdays lunch and only offered for weekdays dinner and on weekends. Limited amount of dessert too, not as much as pictures above which was a big disappointment. Was expecting the Macarons, the Creme Anglaise, profiteroles, etc. Now only limited to many variety of cakes.
    Great service and price was $40 for lunch on weekdays. Love the quality of food. Recommended for people who prefer quality over quantity.

  • At 11/22/2009 6:14 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Dan - Interesting to see how the buffet has been varied, especially with the omission of seafood from weekday lunches. I find the dessert offerings always vary, so thanks for your latest observations and feedback. Worth noting for future visits!


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