I eat a lot so restaurants that exist under the premise of ‘all you can eat’ are nothing short of a challenge to me. Eat as much as I physically can, until I have to leave hurriedly in case I throw up all over your pretty water feature? You’re on.
It was this that brought me to Max Orient, an all you can eat Chinese buffet on Camden High Street. My first mistake was, of course, going to Camden on a Saturday lunch time; the place was, obviously, heaving and I have intense social anxiety. That aside, though, Max Orient is easy to identify from the huge dragon on it’s front and, surprisingly, provides a somewhat more relaxed haven from the frantic atmosphere of Camden market.
I grew up in a town where one of the main sources of entertainment was eating at a pan-Asian buffet (which sounds tragic but then, what could be better than eating as many chicken balls as you fit in your gob?) and Max Orient did not challenge my buffet worldview. You sit down, pay £8.80, order an inordinately expensive coke and then – you’re off! Grab a plate and prowl the multiple aisles of food containers.
They have all the essentials: chicken balls, samosas, spring rolls, noodles, rice, beef in black bean, stir fried mushrooms, and prawn crackers. They also have chips, for the blander among us, and plenty more beside. Basically, it’s everything you’d expect. The food is not the greatest Chinese food you’ve ever tasted, because it’s not meant to be; it is good though, and quick and bountiful. And that’s why you go to an all you can eat buffet. And I did eat all I could.