“ Address: Unit 4a / Wherry Road / Riverside Leisure Park / Norwich / NR1 1WX „
For years, Riverbank Chinese Buffet restaurant has been the favourite Chinese restaurant for the Indonesian Student Society in University of East Anglia, Norwich. When I was studying in UEA, we have done some our monthly gathering, or special celebrations in this place. And we like this place for good reasons.
Location wise, this restaurant is located in the Riverside, the trendy entertainment centres that is quite popular among the young people in Norwich. It is close to the cinema, bowling centres, pubs and clubs. So it is definitely an incentive for those who wants to have an after dinner entertainment.
This restaurant provide a large dining area. This allows us to invite the society's members (not that there are many of us here), and comfortably gathers there without having to get crammed in one corner. The dining area is clean and bright, and feel warm and welcoming too.
They have a large food selection, and they taste really nice. I cannot really mention the name of the dishes, but they definitely would make your palate happy. The waiters and waitresses are nice and friendly, and some of them I found out were Chinese students from UEA too (so yes, the waiters and waitresses speak English quite well).
I would not say that the price is cheap. The last time I was there it was £13 for an all you can eat dinner. If you can handle eating a lot, you might be able to actually finish up the whole £13 worth of food in a sitting, but unfortunately I cannot. So, I only recommend this place to go to when you are really hungry, and if you think you can eat a lot.
During my weekend in Norwich, my boyfriend and I met up with two friends who live in Cromer. They came to stay at the apartment with us on the Saturday night and we all went out for an all you can eat Chinese meal at the Riverbank Chinese Buffet Restaurant. The restaurant is only around the corner from Norwich train station, a 5 minute walk maximum and it is also right near a strip of clubs/ bars. As we went on Saturday night, I thought that this would make it really loud and annoying outside but I didn't experience this at all.
As we got to the restaurant, we told a member of staff of our reservations and we were led to the till to pay for our meals which we obviously hadn't eaten at this point. Due to this being an all you can eat restaurant, paying beforehand isn't a massive deal but I would have preferred to pay afterwards. We were shown to our table and told to order any drinks from the bar. I think that we should have been told this while we were at the till so we could have ordered some drinks before being seated. However, the drinks are brought over to your table after ordering and paying.
This was the first buffet restaurant I had been to that had a Teppanyaki section and my friend Kirsty was very excited about showing me what it was all about. Now, having been to a few others, Riverbank has by far the best selection. Available to be cooked fresh for you are a range of seafood items, chicken breast, beef and pork along with a selection of noodles and vegetables. I was really glad to see chicken and pork and the menu for this part as I am not a fan of seafood at all. Cooked in different sauces and pepper, the chicken and pork I had was to die for and the best I have had in a long time. The Teppanyaki section is only available at evenings though which is partly why you pay more during these times.
The restaurant itself is very large but the seating area is not very spacious. We had a table for four but we were extremely close to the table in front and behind us which I didn't like. The tables were far too close together and this made my experience here not as good as it could have been. I don't like eating my meal and having to move because the people behind me can't get out when they want to. Being an all you can eat restaurant, this happens a lot and I was getting annoyed each time it happened. The serving tables with the rest of the food are situated right in the middle of the restaurant, slightly away from the tables which I thought was a good place for it.
The food on offer is typical for this kind of restaurant. Starters include Won Ton, ribs, chicken wings and prawn crackers while the main dish menu is much more extensive. Here, you can get dishes like Siew Heng Wine Braised Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Ma-Po Tofu along with favourites like Sweet and Sour Chicken or Beef in Black Bean Sauce. The aromas coming from the table of food were extremely mixed but still lovely and appetising. I like to have little amounts of all sorts at these restaurants and everything that I tried was really nice and tasty but hot and fresh at the same time. Sometimes, some dishes can cool down quickly but I didn't find that the ever be the case here.
Unfortunately, the dessert section let down this restaurant. While the website lists a whole range of things on offer, there wasn't much to choose from during our visit. Pretty much, all you could get was ice cream and jelly and two different kinds of cake and a couple of bits of fresh fruit. I would have loved to have had more choice of dessert as this is always a section I really look forward to getting to.
Overall, the Riverbank Chinese Buffet Restaurant is a good place to go and eat with friends but it does have its downfalls. Not the best restaurant I've ever been to but the Teppanyaki section is well worth going for.
Opening times and prices
Sun - Thur
Fri - Sat
5:00pm - 10:30pm