- Location: Melia White House Hotel, Albany Street, Regent’s Park, NW1 3UP (nearest tube station is Great Portland Street)
- Date of Visit: Thursday 8th August
- Time of Table: 6.30pm
- Deal Bought From: Amazon Local
- Deal Price: £29 for Two
- Dinner Companion: Twin sister, Jess
Getting More for your Money?
This dinner deal includes:
- Four Course Mediterranean Buffet
- Glass of Sangria Each
- For Two People
What we ate…
- Parmesan Chunks
- Variety of Crackers
- Salamis and Cured Meats
- Petit Fours (mini ham quiches, mini sausage quiches)
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Hot Bread Rolls
- Mango Layered Yoghurt
- Mozzarella Cubes
- Raisins / Walnuts / Banana Chips
Main Courses included:
- Sweet Gammon Ham
- Roast Duck in Orange Sauce
- Sea Bass
- Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
Side Dishes included:
- Mix of Oven Roasted Vegetables (courgettes, peppers and asparagus)
- Rice with Sweetcorn
- Herb Roasted Baby Potatoes
Salad Bar includes:
- Caesar Salad
- Mustard Sausage Salad
- Pineapple and Tomato
- Pasta and Vegetable Salad
- Mixed Leaves
- Chocolate Roulade with Cream and Strawberry
- Toffee Cake
- Coconut Crème Caramel
- Lemon Mousse
- Fresh Fruit
What we drank…
- Two Glasses of Sangria
- Two Glasses of Rose Wine
What did we think?
For an abundance of undoubted opulence, Melia White House Hotel tops the scale with an easy and natural swagger. Built in 1936 and literally across the road from Great Portland Street station, this regal and prestigious hotel simply oozes decadence in rolling waves; from the top hat wearing door man to the mass of sleekly polished white and peach marble. Despite its heritage, Melia White House Hotel has a seamless minimalist undertone to it, the classic polished gold and marble accentuated by glass and dripping chandeliers, giving a clean and crisp feel. Simply stepping into reception felt as if the dreary working day was left at the revolving doors, and a whole new world awaited in this luxurious oasis, a stone’s throw from Regent’s Park.
The hotel is home to three main restaurants, all with very different themes and flavours to provide visitors with a complementary mix. On this occasion however, we were here to sample the Spanish tastes in their award winning buffet L’Albufera. Entering the restaurant, I was quite simply blown away – the whole restaurant was pristine, glamorous and full of class, and despite having a voucher, we were instantly welcomed and showed the ropes of this international buffet. The friendly waitress gave us a tour of the food and I must confess, I felt like a small child in a candy shop.
The presentation of the displays was quite simply fantastic and a further show of perfectionism from the staff as well as the hotel’s now trademark decadence. There was a display for appetizers, stands of different heights holding plates of cured meats, petit fours, crackers and nibbles. The main hot stand was reserved for main courses, the main attraction being the hand cut meat platter that was being loaded with succulent and juicy gammon hams as we arrived, making our mouths water. Even the salad bar offered an irresistible selection, with traditional Caesar salad sitting alongside a more intriguing mustard sausage salad. There are simply no words to describe the dessert bench – being incredibly partial to dessert my fingers were itching to dive into the untouched platter of delectable goodies, a sticky and gooey toffee cake catching my eye as well as a round chocolate roulade slice, decorated with a swirl of whipped cream gently holding a single strawberry. We had booked an early table since my office was nearby, and therefore we were the first to arrive at the buffet. This meant that we were the first to view the heaving and full food selections, which was great for us. A complete overload of the senses, I was completely overran by scents tantalising my nostrils, textures begging to be sampled and it was a veritable feast on the eyes. I just couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
Sometimes buffets require a certain amount of guesswork to work out what the food actually is, but this was definitely a problem that we didn’t encounter. The food displays were on a blackboard like surface, with stylised chalk writing next to each dish stated clearly and simply what it was. Since this was a classy establishment, the plates weren’t overloaded or bursting out of their platters which also made it a lot easier to navigate between the stations and food choices. The presentation of the food, I thought, was really unique and uses such a simple idea but one that looks elegant and clear. Being first on the scene meant that we saw the buffet at its best and I was delighted with the options available.
We were settled on a square table for two after our tour, the table dressed simply with pale green rush style place mats offering an al fresco flavour to the peachy and fresh interior décor. We were the given our welcoming glass of sangria – fab, fruity and full of lemons, limes and oranges, served in a long stemmed wine glass. Being a sangria connoisseur, I thought it was excellent with a rich punch and refreshing taste.
We hit the starters with a vengeance, grabbing a mix of crackers, chunks of parmesan cheese, cured meats, sun dried tomatoes and nuts, as I also cheekily nabbed myself a hot white bread roll. I’ve recently become rather addicted to sun dried tomatoes, and these paired with the cured meats on my bread roll was simply divine with a great depth of flavour. The cheesy chunks were great with the crackers and really got my appetite going for the main courses.
When it comes to buffets, my main tactic is usual, go for a bit of everything in moderation and then always go back for seconds! I started by getting two thick cut slices of the gammon, making sure to nab the corresponding gravy. The meat was so soft and light, and perfectly juicy – it was probably the best gammon I have ever eaten, and it also didn’t have any fat on the rind which was good too. We got a duck leg in orange sauce and some of the ricotta and spinach cannelloni to share, and this was a great choice. The duck was out of this world – so tender that chunks flaked of the bone in a sultry and seductive manner as it lay in the fruity orange dressing. Again simple flavour combinations but ones executed with style and excellence delivering an unbelievably high quality. The cannelloni was also delicious, the ricotta cheese melting seamlessly with the spinach.
To go with our meats, we also made sure to get every side going. The roasted vegetables were a colourful array of greens and oranges, using interesting vegetables such as courgettes which can often go ignored. It had a wonderful Mediterranean feel that I really enjoyed. The rice was a simple dish but really nice for mixing with the sauces, while the herb roasted baby potatoes were excellent with beautifully crispy little skins scattered with chunks of sea salt and herbs, giving them an extra layer of earthy flavour. We also made sure to visit the salad bar – the Caesar salad was fantastic offering thick, long slices of chicken breast meat, and large homemade croutons, the dressing drizzles among the gem lettuce leaves. The sausage mustard salad was ingenious and an inventive way to combine this classic duo. Fresh flavours married in the pineapple and tomato salad, while I grew rather partial to the pasta and vegetable salad – the pasta was small and noodle like, mixed with leaves and vegetable chunks which gave it even more gusto. Every single flavour of everything I had piled happily on my plate, just worked. Despite looking like a bit of a hodgepodge of grub, each individual dish was so wonderfully bursting with taste and texture that you couldn’t help but devour great big helpings, gulping down the tender meat, mixing your salads, crunching on your sides. This is probably one of the extremely rare times when I have actually enjoyed and loved everything on a buffet. Nothing looked dodgy or weird, it all just looked heavenly and the excitement of being able to dive in was brilliant. I went back for second to get another duck leg for us to share, paired with the yummy pasta and vegetable salad, and I also got myself a seeded brown bread roll.
I was beyond stuffed at this point, super stuffed but that wasn’t going to stop me from indulging in one of my favourite past times – dessert. While we waited for our mains to go down we ordered a large glass of rose each, which also arrived in the elegant long stemmed glasses. With desserts, we decided to get one of everything and then share all of them so that it was more of a sampling platter of all things chocolately, sweet and sticky. The trifles were served in dinky earthenware tubs, the custard pale and vanilla speckled, the jelly rather plain. They looked wonderful but I’m not sure this met the mark when compared with everything else. By far my favourite was the chocolate roulade, which was like a moist chocolate cake, but with a crispy yet delicate outer crunch protecting the spongy centre. I spooned more homemade custard over my half of the roulade which I think made it even more delectable. The toffee cake was rich, sticky and intense with a deep chocolate undertone to the caramel flavours. The coconut crème caramel was light and slippery with the exotic hint of coconut giving an unusual taste twist. The lemon mousse was surprisingly thick and like a gooey custard but with a refreshingly light lemon flavour, which I enjoyed. I was fit to burst, but nor before I sneaked another bit of roulade to the table – it really was that amazing.
Making a second reservation? Most definitely. The quality of the food was so high, with the attention to detail being phenomenal. The menu was very clearly well thought out, planned, organised and executed by true professionals who love what they do. When I told the chef that the gammon looked delicious, he blushed happily with a sincere smile of pleasure. The waiting staff were attentive and polite, full of smiles and good service, so never at any point did I feel like a second rate visitor because of our voucher. Price wise, I feel that the whole meal was a complete steal. We literally ate tons and enjoyed the wonderful sangria for only £29 between the two of us, and on the night we only paid £16 which was the cost of two large glasses of wine. If you think about it, we had far more than the usual three courses as we nipped up a few times to grab some extra bits and pieces and seconds, even though I’m not entirely sure we were meant to. I can’t convey the excellence of the food, and I will most definitely be exploring what their full prices are for the buffet as I would love to go again. If I see them appear on a discount site again I would really recommend buying one – you feel so special in such a luxurious venue and the food delivers.
The Dinner Dates Opinion:
“This was a fabulous evening. The hotel is swanky, clean, sophisticated and the staff friendly and professional. They asked if we had ever eaten there before, and since we hadn’t, explained all the areas of the buffet to us which was helpful. The selection on offer was amazing, all high end cuisine and the advantage of it being a buffet was that we didn’t need to choose what we wanted for each course, we could just have everything! And we really did, from meats and cheeses, to spinach and cheese cannelloni, duck a l’orange, gammon and a number of sides and salads to at least six different desserts, all perfectly executed. I was extremely full afterwards! Included in the offer was a glass of sangria which hit the spot nicely too. I definitely want to find out how much this buffet would be without a deal because I want to come again!”