E: There are times where I wonder if finding a good Chinese style buffet is even possible. I have memories of going to Raymond’s Restaurant and Szechuan City, Both are decent. With Purple Garden now added to the list — which has been doing buffet for just as long — is it even possible for the quality to go lower? Must I order dishes just to get some awesome sauce?
J: I think the problem for Ed and I is that we arrived near the end of the lunch rush. The food tasted old. That’s to be expected with barely any new food put out. The service was even lacking.
At May Gold Village in Langford (another Chinese-style buffet) the employees would have refilled my drinks and taken any dirty plates away even during the restaurant’s peak capacity. But for Purple Garden there were four people (counting ourselves) and we weren’t paid much attention to.
E: When we saw the $12.95 price tag to sample this place’s wares, we should have hesitated. There was a time when the food offered here was good but now, I can’t say any of it is tasty at all. Maybe ten years ago, when my family enjoyed coming here, it was, but that history lesson speaks for how long this place has been operating for.
Either the cooks no longer have a love for what they make in bulk or the passion is gone for many a buffet. I’m going to have to visit Vancouver‘s River Rock Casino or Las Vegas‘ many lounges for that.
J: Or maybe I should stay closer to home and visit May Gold Village. I had to endure 70’s elevator music while at this ‘Garden.’ And this restaurant was rather dark. The decor is a throwback to the 80’s.
E: And only James would know, since that was his year of growing up.
J: I can’t say much for the upkeep of the place either. But if you plan to stick this one out, you only have to wait for a change of ownership. From what I’ve been told they’ve had many over the years.
E: Obviously time has not treated this place too kindly. Out of all the food items I sampled — Szechuan style prawns, egg foo young, chicken wings, Shanghai noodles, egg rolls and a few that I don’t quite remember — nothing really stood out as spectacular. To be honest, I think I can get a better tasting meal at Fairway Market on Quadra. They offer a lot of selection ‘buffet’ style, even though the maximum number of toppings for an individual meal is limited to four.
J: Even Tomley’s Market on Johnson Street does buffet. Maybe Tomley’s will have a better egg foo young. To quote one of The Benny Hill Show’s characters about what I found here at Purple Garden, “It’s not egg, it’s not young, it’s just foo.”
2 Blokes out of 5