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.
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. 😉
The Gates Shopping Centre,
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.