Plenty to eat but not much 'wow'
CONTEMPORARY Chinese cuisine should have a certain feng shui about it.
And Blossom Oriental, in Gloucester's Southgate Street, is undoubtedly one of the smartest Chinese restaurants for miles around.
As soon as you walk in there is a real atmosphere – smart furnishings with seemingly no expense spared, with an entrance leading up to a plush well-stocked bar.
The atmosphere is pleasantly busy with the sound of chitter-chatter from every corner.
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At Blossom, everybody eats buffet-style and it's quite a relaxed affair – simply order a dish from your table and the food is brought to you.
On a Friday or Saturday night, the buffet will set you back £17.90 and £10.90 for the kids. Mid-week evenings and weekend lunchtimes are slightly cheaper.
We started our culinary trip with a deep fried wanton served with a sweet and sour sauce and a satay chicken appetiser.
We thought the wanton would come with a vegetable filling or similar, but it came with very little filling at all.
Chicken and sweetcorn and crab and sweetcorn soups arrived next.
This is always one of my favourite things about going to a Chinese restaurant, but they were seriously lacking in chicken or crab.
My partner, something of an expert in Asian cuisine, said he couldn't 'feel the aroma' in his beef and green pepper in black bean sauce dish.
But my prawn, spring onion and ginger dish was delicious with a serving of sticky rice.
Then came the chicken with cashew nuts and egg fried rice which was quite salty.
I asked the waitress what was in the pork with yellow bean sauce – but I was given a glazed look and a fellow waitress offered the not-so-useful advice that it was pork, in a bean sauce and it wasn't spicy.
Drinks are the usual affair and are reasonably priced and if you are celebrating a special occasion the restaurant certainly has a nice look and feel about it.
The varying quality of the dishes was also a tell-tale sign that this is a restaurant with huge potential to wow with a few key signature dishes but is trying to do too much with its endless list of buffet items.
Shrugging off a few disappointments, a pineapple fritter and ice cream was a deliciously sweet finish to the evening.
One thing is certain – you certainly won't go home hungry. The buffet is plentiful and there will be something for everyone on the menu.