Owner and main nosher on this board, I post as I eat.

Visited InShanghai Durham Chinese Buffet after a long business trip to Birmingham on Monday. The place is now very well established down on the Durham riverside, under the rather garish ‘The Gates’ sign next to Framwellgate Bridge. It moved here some years ago after starting life upstairs as ‘The Elephant’ buffet. Try to get a table by the window and you get a great River Wear vista and the imposing Durham Castle and Framwellgate Bridge to frame the view.

inshanghai durham food bar picture

It’s always been fairly cheap and cheerful as a place to eat, and it attracts all types of people because of its ‘everything you can eat for….’ policy (particularly popular with Durham Uni students, who get a 10% discount all day on production of their student card). The price you pay for your food is on a sliding scale, with the cheapest meals on an afternoon, becoming more expensive the later it gets. This seems to work well, but you need to beware if you’re eating across a charge boundary, as the price will be based on the time you leave your table and pay, rather than the time you came in. You are (usually) made aware of this when you first come in though, so listen up to avoid an unexpected hike in price and a nasty shock later.

Lunch Buffet (11:30am-4:00pm) £6.50 (child £3.95)
Happy Hour Buffet (4:00pm-6:20pm) £7.50 (child £3.95)
Grand Buffet (6:20pm-close) £11.90 (child £6.90)

The restaurant is laid out around the three self-service food areas at one end and the bar in the other. The trays are kept refreshed every 10 minutes or so with piping hot chinese food. Typical fare, from Crispy Seaweed to Stir Fry Pork, Noodles, Rice, Curries and Sweet and Sour. Everything is labelled though, so no needing to guess what you’re eating. As already said, you simply get a plate and trough to your heart’s content! You can stay as long as you want, eat as much as you want and go home not needing another meal until tomorrow, or maybe next week. Not entirely sure what that does to your cholesterol levels, but hey i’m not here to judge on that score. There isn’t an Inshanghai Menu as such, you just grab a plate and go look at the food to see what’s on offer. Please be aware though that the food selection changes slightly later to reflect the higher ‘Grand Buffet’ price. It’s especially good for feeding the kids as well, as they get substantially lower prices. Inshanghai’s food also seems to be less MSG-laden than some other chinese buffets i’ve been to, but I still can’t manage more than two platefuls before the FULL signs come up. 😉

inshanghai durham menu picture

The Gates Shopping Centre,
Unit 30b,
Lambton Walk,
Tel : 0191 375 7333

Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 7, Service : n/a, Food : 9, Value : 9

Total cost (for two) : £20 including drinks


I’ve not scored for Service, as the only thing that gets served up is your drink, and that doesn’t really take a great deal of skill, so i’ll leave that out in this case. In Shanghai scores well for food and it’s extremely good value if you time it right.


Scores on the Doors

[su_gmap address=”InShanghai DH1 4SL”]DH1 4JJ[/su_gmap]

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  1. We are arranging a charity event on the 30th of January in aid of sands ( stillborn and neonatal death ) in memory of my son who was born sleeping we would be greatful if you could donate a raffle prize Thank you for your help.

  2. Awful service and attitude of the staff.

    After being told that the times of their buffet was totally different to their website and they had just not bothered to change it – so we had to pay more.

    They also refused to accept our student cards despite not being asked and a small sign on the door was not clear we had to show our cards at the beginning of the meal.

    After discussing this with the manager I found she was rude and frequently referred to me as “darling” in a very sarcastic way and was did not listen to anything I had to say.

    I would not recommend going here unless you want to be ripped off.

  3. Never again went in today ate a crab claws and some noodles the crab claw didn’t smell right I ate half had a few noodles after ten minutes of sitting I had to go to the toilet were I threw up I went to the desk and told one of the staff she said well you must be allergict and u should of let us see the crab claw while u were sitting attitude terrible feel I’ll never going back have informed environmental health

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Durham Food and Drink 2016