Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Review - Paesano International Buffet

Mon, 11th June 2012

Paesano International Buffet
820 Ferntree Gully Road
Wheelers Hill

Cuisine: International (Including Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Indian)

Taste Rating: 7.5/10   Value Rating: 8/10

Paesano International Buffet on Urbanspoon

We went for lunch on a Monday, the Queen's Birthday holiday. Paesano's opened on the 25th April so was less than 7 weeks old at that time. There are two sessons - 11.30am and 1.30 pm. We had a booking for the 11.30 am session. The place was not busy when we arrived.  However, I would still recommend making a booking as it did get busy later. The price for the buffet lunch is $25 for Monday to Saturday and $39 for Sunday. Dinner is $39 and $45 correspondingly. Do check with them for the latest prices.

The nearest buffet for comparison is China Bar Signature at Burwood. China Bar Signature has mainly Chinese and Japanese food. Paesano's has a mix of Italian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Indian food,  hence the 'International' in the name, and I imagine they don't have to limit themselves to only these cuisines. So it depends really on your preference of cuisine as to which buffet venue suits you. One thing we did notice is that the sushi counter is better at Paesano's. Fresh sushi is made in front of you, as well as fresh looking sashimi. China Bar Signature has sashimi available at dinner only. The dessert bar, however, is smaller than the extensive dessert bar at China Bar Signature.  (I have been to both China Bar Signature restaurants - the one at Burwood and the one in Chinatown, Melbourne. Review for the later is pending.)

So on to the food at Paesano's. The variety is good. I love the different stations where they 'cook to order' for you. There is a fried noodle station, a teppanyaki station, a mini pizza station and a pasta station. Then there are the usual rows of bain-maries, the dessert bar and the chocolate fountain. There is a salad bar, an anti-pasto bar and a nod to yum cha with a small selection of snacks.

I had fried noodles cooked to order and was very happy with this. To my surprise, the chef reached under the counter and brought up a clean wok to cook my order, after finishing cooking for the previous customer using another wok. I'm not sure if this is done for every customer as it would surely be impractical. I also had teppanyaki salmon and chicken cooked to order and these were very good as well.

The bain-marie dishes included butter chicken masala, pollo Paesano, prawns, calamari, Jerk chicken and korma and a few others for which I did not have photos.   There are not as many bain-marie dishes as at China Bar Signature but there are enough to qualify for the International aspect, and what they do have, they do reasonably well.

The desserts bar had enough variety of desserts to keep most people happy. You really have to plan so you leave room for dessert! I liked the mango lassi - nice touch. The cakes were good overall - my favourite was the cheese cake.  The chocolate fountain was a riot of colour with the glass containers of lollies and marshmallows.

A Paesano card is used at each table to log the orders for that table. At the end of your meal, present the card to the cashier and your bill will be printed out for you. The card says Customer Reward Card, but their loyalty program is not in place yet and will be implemented in the future, according to the manager.
Would we return to Paesano's? Yes. We were happy with the food and the presentation. For a large group especially, this is a great place as everyone has a good chance of finding something they like. Arrive early for your session as the queues for the cooking stations get longer later on.

Front of the Restaurant

 Sushi Bar

Making Sushi

Sashimi - a selection

Anti Pasto Station
- Ham, Salami, Proscuitto, Condiments

Teppanyaki Grill, Noodle Station

Noodle Station - Select your Ingredients

Starting with a Clean Wok

Stir frying ingredients in wok on the spot
- for individual order

Noodles are scooped out of boiling water
and added to ingredients in wok, then stir fried

Plating the Noodles

 Noodles are Ready

Close up of Stir-fried Noodles
- full of ingredients

Teppanyaki grill
- salmon, chicken
Teppanyaki grill
- salmon, chicken

Teppanyaki grill

Finished! Salmon, chicken

One of the rows of bain-maries

Vegetarian Cannelloni, Lemon Sticky Chicken

Butter Chicken Masala

Mixed Vegetable Korma, Lamb Kadai

Jerk Chicken

Crystal Prawns, Chilli & Garlic Calamari

Pizza Station

Helping the Pizza out of the Oven

Finished! Pizza made to Order

Salad Bar

Fried Snacks

Chocolate Fountain

Rainbow of Lollies

Dessert Bar

Cream Puffs, Toblerone Cake

Bacio Cake

Mango Lassi

A Selection of Desserts

A Selection of Desserts, and Mango Lassi

The Crowd

Queue builds up at the Tepanyaki Grill and Noodle Station

Paesano Card
- table orders are added to this,
and used to produce the bill when paying

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