I am a stay at home mum trying to be a freelance writer - or a freelance writer trying to be a stay at home mum. I enjoy getting out and about with my little girl and am Chief Editor of Perth Mums Group perthmumsgroup.com.au
Published March 22nd 2017
Gourmet buffet dining is the jewel of Melbourne’s Crown
The Conservatory at Melbourne's Crown Casino offers the kind of buffet meal that can only be reserved for a special occasion. Well, for us folks who don't bathe in their own fortunes, that is. At $99 a head for the Sunday dinner buffet (there are cheaper days to go) it's definitely a fair amount of money to dish out (no pun intended) but was it worth the price tag?
In a word – yes. This is coming from a pregnant women who had to bypass much of the selection of cold meats and cheeses, wonderful array of sushi (I'm still crying a little) and deliciously fresh-looking prawns and oysters. Ok, so I don't actually like prawns or oysters, so would've bypassed them anyway, but despite this, I certainly felt like got my money's worth from our visit.
I was visiting Melbourne for a 60th birthday celebration and can't help but marvel at the Crown Casino, with its long corridors of marble floors, designer brands and oodles of stuff that I can't afford. The Conservatory was no different, with its gorgeous marble surrounds, super-comfortable designer dining chairs and beautiful interior designs.
There is no rule when it comes to buffet dining. Do what works for you – my husband ate his weight in prawns and oysters while I went straight for the hot foods due to my current 'condition'. The meats were beautifully cooked – pan-seared chicken, roast pork with crackling, roast beef and lamb, plus grilled salmon were all on the menu today.
My daughter has a habit of eating nothing but chips when we dine out, so I was dancing a little jig at the prospect of going somewhere where there wasn't a chip in site. Instead, she happily dined on chicken, a piece of pork, roast potatoes and vegetables and watermelon, all from the comfort of a plush high chair.
I went back for round two while my husband went for round two of the prawns and oysters. This time, there was chicken tikka, naan bread, Asian vegetables and stir fried noodles. One side of the hot buffet houses the roast meats and vegetables, while the other side is a hybrid of international dishes.
For me, the star of the show was the dessert bar. Think a chocolate fondant fountain, rows delicate little mousses and cheesecakes and lovingly prepared slices and cakes, all in the one spot. There was also an array of fruits, but I didn't come all this way for fruit.
There was individual white chocolate mousses and cheesecakes, delicious little fudge brownies and cakes with chocolate ganache, mango sorbet, various flavours of ice cream, French chocolate gateaux, macarons and so much more. I'm fairly sure I got my money's worth just in desserts.
Finally, you can move onto cheese and biscuits, but I was a bit too full by this stage. I would have liked the tea and coffee thrown in for the price, but that, like all the drinks, was an extra cost. The service was outstanding, with our seemingly endless supply of dirty plates constantly cleared away in the blink of an eye and a friendly waitress frequenting our table to ask if we needed any more drinks.
If the $99 price tag is a bit much, there are options for the more frugal upon us. You can opt for the Monday to Thursday dinner, which is slightly cheaper at $92 (the price from April 1st 2017.) Alternatively, you can certainly get bang for your buck at the lunch sitting instead, which from Monday to Thursday is $59 and includes a glass of wine, unlimited tea or coffee and four hours of free parking.
If you've come into a bit of extra money (perhaps your Crown Casino winnings) then The Conservatory is an ideal place to spend it. There's enough variety that even the fussiest of eaters should get their money's worth (including a pregnant seafood-dodger.) It's a genuinely indulgent affair, but you won't leave unsatisfied and you certainly won't leave hungry.