I realise I’m a few week’s late saying this (blame Tonsilitis), but… Happy Chinese New Year! It’s now the year of the Rooster. We went to The Real China at Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter to join in with the Chinese New Year Celebrations. And to take full advantage of the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet of course!
We were greeted kindly, seated quickly, and our drinks arrived just as the traditional lion dance began. It was a very colourful, loud and lively affair, as the sound of high pitched drumming filled the restaurant. The lion dance began in the entrance and most of the diners got up to take a better look. Once the Chinese lions were on their feet, they danced their way around the restaurant to the sound of the drums. Children who were brave enough, posted envelopes of money into the lions mouth and legend says that fortune will be returned ten-fold.
I remember being terrified of these lions as a child and one of my children was frightened too. To be fair, it was very VERY LOUD. The other two were just curious. The baby fell asleep (I swear that boy can sleep through anything). I myself, thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learning about the Chinese culture. The lions are said to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck, health and prosperity.
The Lion dance lasted around 20 minutes and we chose to wait until it had finished, before heading to the buffet. The Real China is an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. We took full advantage of this and had seconds (and thirds). The food was all hot, fresh and well replenished. When any of the dishes ran out, it was replaced within just a few minutes. I personally love buffets, because it’s a great opportunity to try new foods, without wasting food or money, if there’s something you don’t like. My children are happy to try all manner of new foods and there wasn’t anything there that they didn’t like. There are a few English dishes too, which suits fussier children.
On the other side of the hot buffet is a selection of sushi. Next to the sushi is a teppanyaki bar, where you can choose ingredients (chicken, prawns, squid, muscles, salmon, vegetables, noodles etc) to be cooked on an iron griddle freshly in front of you, at your desired level of flavour and/or spice.
Dessert is also all-you-can-eat and ranges from Jelly and ice cream to miniature shot glass desserts. We also opted for refillable soft drinks, which you can help yourself to.
There always seems to be a friendly, yet busy atmosphere in The Real China and of all the times I’ve been there, food, quality and service have been consistently good. It’s a good choice for anyone who wants a quick meal, yet at the same time, you are not rushed if you want to take longer.
The Real China is situated in Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter. The buffet is on the ground floor and this is a fully accessible restaurant with disabled facilities and step free access.
There are many ways to celebrate the Chinese new year and fellow blogger Our Seaside Baby took her celebrations to a much higher level. You should go and check out her post about celebrating the Chinese new year in London, it’s brilliant.