A wide range of delicious dishes
Croydon Park Hotel, 7 Altyre Road, Croydon, 0208 680 9200
Oscar's legendary lavish buffet is now even better boasting a wider range of delicious dishes, and with the added advantage of listing the calorie content of most of them.
Quite a feat, but a health initiative the hotel has taken seriously working closely with a nutritionist and liaising with their suppliers to provide the accurate calorie count for dishes both on the al la carte and buffet menus.
I could see what an advantage this would be to anyone watching their weight, or going for healthy options. It's also particularly useful if you are following any system, where you calculate for extra points or sins.
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The food is just as tempting and delicious as before. There's just a much wider selection and the calorific value clearly marked.
I confess it didn't stop Jenny or I from tucking in, but I was interested to find out that my substantial portion of garnished snow -white haddock fillet on a bed of mashed potato was just 248 calories. It was full-flavoured and tender and ate well with my choice of fresh vegetables.
General Manager, Cyril Patrick Baptist, said "Feedback from guests has been positive and already the restaurant has seen an increase in many of our healthier options on offer."
"We have worked closely with our nutritionist, Helen Farnsworth, to provide an accurate calorie count to all our guests to make them aware of the energy content of their food, starting from the breakfast buffet, through to lunch and dinner," he added.
They are also proud to be the only hotel in Croydon offering this service to guests.
We had started off our lunch by walking around the buffet and helping ourselves to as much as we wanted from the international menu. The food is truly representative of the multi-cultural society we have in London with dishes to suit every nationality.
Fresh, seasonal and local sumptuous British classics sit alongside vibrant fusion dishes with favourites from all around the world.
Cold options included poached and smoked salmon, fresh shell-on prawns, cold meats and seafood, numerous salads including pasta and potato salads, olives and cheeses, pates and breads which gave us limitless choice.
The ever-changing hot buffet included a good selection of fish and meat dishes as well as vegetarian dishes such as macaroni cheese and a fragrant spicy noodle dish.
We also sampled from the a la carte a mouth-watering lamb shank, majestic on the plate in a glossy gravy and crispy fish and chips, fresh from the kitchen.
But first we took our starter selections back to the table where, with bread rolls, we treated ourselves to lashings of butter to accompany the juicy prawns and cold selections.
The hot finger bowl was much appreciated!
For her main course my friend went for a traditional roast dinner featuring lean pork with crackling (if desired) and vegetables and roast potatoes from a wide selection. Again, we didn't look at the calorific content although it was there if needed.
We were enthusiastic about pudding, tucking into crunchy apple crumble and thoroughly yummy dense chocolate cake. However we could have chosen from more than a dozen eye-catching confections, including a popular mousse at just 156 calories.
The busy kitchen is headed up by popular Eddie who has been with the hotel for 16 years. In fact many staff have been with the hotel's 'family' for a long time, enjoying serving their guests.
Some diners have been coming here for years, each one greeted by personable restaurant manager Mustapha who has held sway for 18 years.
The lunch buffet starts from £14.95p per person and for the month of May includes a glass of sparkling wine.
There's also afternoon tea to be enjoyed here for a more than reasonable £12.50 comprising freshly baked scones, dainty finger sandwiches, and delicious pastries and cakes and a choice of teas. Add a flute of Champagne and for £18.50 you have an indulgence to relish.
Afternoon Tea is served daily between 2.30 to 6pm. Booking is advised although not always necessary.