Buffets are messy affairs. Metallic containers for food lined up often kept warm by glaring spot lights or steamers built into the counters. Unlike proper restaurants, buffet is all self service and we seem to be at a loss when it comes to that. Can I reuse a ladle that just went into an adjacent pot? Do I leave it in the pot after that? Must I even use one in the first place? As a result, strings of noodles strewn over, ladles with gravy from a dozen dishes lie forlornly on plates that look equally sad lying on greasy counters.
The thing is, we don't mind. We knowing that if we are looking for ambiance, a buffet table, especially when it's two hours to closing time, isn't exactly the best place. The buffet is for gorging regardless of which way you look at it. While you're at it, there's a good chance that you have skipped the meal before and would probably do the same for the one after.
Jimmy's World Grill is the newest buffet joint at O2. Unlike Rodizio Rico and Water Margins, which offer Brazilian grill and Chinese buffets respectively, Jimmy's World Grill goes for the full works - Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Thai and Indian cuisine.
The main entrance to Jimmy's World Grill is rather discreet; we almost walked past it. After confirming our reservation on the main entrance, we walked up two flights of stairs and would have missed the dining area if not for kitchen staff who kindly pointed it out. A floor above lies its serving and dining area that can accommodate 400 hungry diners. Given its relatively large floor area, it's small wonder why it has to be on above ground.
Perhaps the experience at buffets come with age. There was a time when I would find the largest plate available and pile it with food, only to head back to the table when it is about to topple. No longer. I pace myself now. Armed with plate barely larger than a saucer, I made my first trip to the buffet spread. I liked what I saw. According to its press release, the buffet boosts in access of 120 dishes. I didn't keep count but I wouldn't be surprised.
After the second trip to the buffet table, something became apparent. The buffet spread was dominated by dishes of Indian origin with the rest of the "world cuisine" in its peripheral. True, there was the Italian pizza, which reminds me of the fare served in Leicester Square's takeaway stands, and pasta 'live' section, crowd pleasing sweet and sour chicken and kung pao chicken. I caught a glimpse of some sushi rolls and dim sum (dumplings) with skin so thick that I had trouble prising them apart.
The most popular items at Jimmy's would have to be its Southern Fried chicken. The glass cabinet where it was placed in was immediately raided the moment it was topped up with those cripsy delights with a tinge of spice.
While I'm hardly an expert on Indian cuisine, I would gladly point anyone who is looking for a good Indian buffet to Jimmy's World Grill. The best dish on the dessert table? With a doubt, it's gulab jamin, a popular Indian deep fried dough dessert. Even at £16.99 (its top tier prices for Thursdays - Saturdays evenings), it would worth your while if you are looking for a feast with some decent offerings. As Khan (its manager) put it rather succinctly, if you are having a meal at Jimmy's, you can jolly well skip the meal before and after.
London Chow was a guest at Jimmy's World Grill.
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Neige d’Ete – Feb 2017
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