I dined courtesy of Melba Restaurant and Media Moguls
I would say I've been to a few buffets that I thought were good and worth the price. As with anything, you generally get what you pay for, and that's the case at Melba Restaurant located at The Langham Hotel. Their buffet costs from as low as $54 on a weekday lunch to $99.90 for a weekend dinner. It's probably one of the most expensive buffets around, but it's probably also the best, at least the best I've tasted.
I attended a weeknight buffet session with my fellow bloggers Michele, Sarah and Adrian. We were shown around the various tasting stations by the restaurant manager and I was impressed immediately. The food all looked and smelled delicious. When we finally got to the dessert section, we all zoomed in like flies to a BBQ. We ogled at every cake and all collectively went "oooh I want to eat this and that".
When we started eating, Michele who had been previously, briefed me on the attack plan. She said you have to start with the light items like the seafood and sashimi. I thoroughly agreed as I love seafood, so off I went to the Seafood Section. The items were super fresh, with Moreton Bay Bugs, Swimmer Crabs, Prawns, a few varieties of Oysters and mussels all freshly kept on ice. I obviously tried everything, and they were all great. I loved the bugs and oysters the most and went back three times for them.
At the Sushi Station, I went for a number of sashimi such as tuna, kingfish, calamari, octopus and ark shell. The sushi chef freshly cut and made everything and the quality of the seafood would rival many Japanese restaurants.
With the cold food done, it was time to move along to the Roast Meat section. Usually I'm most disappointed with the roast section of buffets as the meat is super dry and taste awful. But I need not have worried. The descriptions alone already showed the quality, with beef from Rangers Valley for example. The roast lamb and beef were so juicy and I'd happily eat that from any restaurant. There was perfectly cooked roast chicken and roast duck, with a chef at hand to cut the parts you want. The special on that night (there's one every night) was a really indulgent Lobster Mornay. Juicy big pieces of lobster were covered in a white sauce and tasted so good.
Lastly, I visited the Tandoori Section. There were two rows of various curries and tandoori meats. I tried out a tandoori pork belly, which was really good. There was also fresh roti being made, and Michele got an M&Ms roti made, which was awesome. I skipped the Wok Section as I have Chinese food every day of my life already so was ready to try other things.
The Salad Section contained lots of fresh vegetables as well as cured meat, smoked salmon and condiments. It was probably the weakest section in my opinion, as the cured meats were a bit dry and the salads quite plain. I'd rather use my limited stomach space on all the other great food. You don't win friends with salad you know.
You can probably guess that my favourite section was of course, Dessert. I'll include the cheese and chocolate fountain into the Dessert Section. There were so many cakes that I didn't know where to look. In the end, I tried a chocolate cake, pistachio cake, raspberry cake, sweet cannelloni, strawberries dipped in chocolate and rum and raisin ice cream. Despite all the food being great so far, I still expected dessert to be bad due to all my previous buffet experience. Cakes, or as I call them, flour bombs, at other buffets are usually awful. But the cakes at Melba are awesome. The pistachio cake was beautiful, a layer of pistachio jelly, sponge and pistachio mousse melted in my mouth. All the other cakes were good, the ice cream excellent and the chocolate in the fountain of a high quality. I wish I had more stomach space to try out more cakes.
The view from the restaurant out of the large windows onto the Yarra River is extremely beautiful at night. There was a calm feeling inside and I liked the ambiance in the room, with a slight buzz but still a feeling of privacy. The service was very good, but we were the invited guest. It did look like plates were cleared very quickly at other tables and water refilled. The food, was all good or excellent. I loved the super fresh seafood and the desserts the most, but the one item that probably impressed me most was how perfectly medium rare the roast beef was cooked and how tender it was. The price, as I wrote, is not cheap in terms of buffets, but the food quality is matching that price. You have to pay for quality, and if you feel like an assortment of food during one meal, then Melba is perfect for you.