Ariala Restaurant – Springwood
When the pandemic hit two years ago, I was not worried about getting to restaurants and cafes and other awesome places to eat.
But then, at some point, the government banned the buffet and my heart, and stomach, sank rapidly as I had not planned for this.
I was in shock and the horror of not being able to pick and choose what I put on my plate as I wandered around the bain-maries in search of that perfect bite was killing me.
Now though, we are in a position where the buffet is back baby, and we can all enjoy the tastes of what we have missed since their demise.
A group of friends and I decided to head to the Ariala Restaurant in Springwood for our first adventure of the new place and to reintroduce ourselves to the buffet. My palms were sweaty and my mouth watering all day as I was very much looking forward to getting back amongst the food.
The layout of the Ariala Springwood is rather open, and tables are not crammed together, a bonus of social distancing. The tables are a little small and plate planning is something you need to think about, but we were happy with how comfortable the chairs are.
A couple of my friends, or teammates as I like to call them in a buffet environment, did a recon run to see what was on offer. The restaurant does mention on their website that the food is not set and will often change day to day. They returned with grins, and we were on.
My body type is built for comfort and not for speed, however I was moving faster than my less portly pals as I was giddy with excitement.
The range they offer was exceptional and covers all the food groups. Fish, steak, chicken oh my. There was Chinese, nuggets, snags and even a good selection of fresh and cooked seafood. I was in heaven.
We all polished off many plates with different food types on each trip. They did have pork belly with crispy crackling which seemed to be on several returning plates; it was just that good.
It is by no means a place for veggos but they did have a couple of non-meat dishes. In the quest for quality reviewing, I really should have tried them, but I didn’t want to waste space when there was so much meat to eat.
Many plates in, we turned our attention to dessert. Cakes of all kinds laid waiting to be selected as the one, but my motto is why just stop at one when you can get a dinner plate, which is bigger than a dessert plate, and fit more on. Less walking and more time for eating.
I loaded my plate and then at the end of the dessert bar standing tall and proud was the chocolate fountain. A site I have missed in recent years; it nearly brought a tear to my eye.
My friends were shocked to see me grabbing fruit, but it was just to cover them in the delicious chocolate that poured endlessly down the fountain like a tasty waterfall.
The overall experience was great, and something happened, which was surprising, was how fast the staff took away the plates. A great effort on their behalf considering how many plates we were stacking up.
A downside to Ariala Restaurant is that they do not split the bill. One bill per table is an inconvenience but manageable. You just need to plan for that and not be shocked at the end.
Open Tuesday to Sunday at Shop 2/1-15 Lexington Road, Underwood; book a table, take your friends, and have a filling and satisfying meal that you will walk away from planning your next Ariala adventure.