The Kingsbury (Sunday) buffet is pretty good. It’s the best in terms of salads and veg, highly competitive in seafood, and good for everything else. It’s Rs. 3,500 all in. We think it’s good value.
Note: We’re reviewing the Harbour Court in terms of its Sunday buffet, which we think covers the range of what they usually have on offer. The restaurant is open (with small gaps) from 6 AM to midnight and it’s usually buffet style.
What else, right? Sri Lankans love buffets and it’s ultimately about the food. The Sunday hotel brunch is a veritable institution and Kingsbury, as a newcomer, has had to differentiate itself to compete.
They’ve done this, as far as we can tell, by offering the best salad and veg spread we’ve ever seen and by focusing on seafood, including oysters and caviar. The other buffets can be better for different things, but we think that the Kings has successfully carved out a niche.
We’ll go through the sections we tried one by one.
Salads and veg are given step-motherly treatment at most buffets. We really appreciate that the Kings pays a lot of attention to this section. If you are a vegetarian this is by far the best buffet for you and even if you’re not, you should try it out.
Their salads, baba ganoush, hummous, beet-root, beans, corn, etc – all excellent. Each dish is thought out, well seasoned and made with high quality produce. Most buffets we’ve been to treat salad and veg as a sort of wilted garnish and they (and you) deserve better. The Kingsbury curates and elevates veg and they offer a lot of it. Respect.
Their focus on veg means you can eat and enjoy a lot at this buffet without getting full on starch or meat. It’s healthier and a much better experience.
We’d also venture that this is the best buffet if you’re a pescetarian. Their signature dish is oysters and caviar and, if you like oysters, they have them. We also like mussels and they have a tasty selection of this somewhat rare treat. In addition, there’s a lot of prawn, crab, cuttlefish and other fruits of the sea.
The sushi, however, is not very good. A bit drab in appearance and served by someone behind a counter so you feel bad getting at it. No ginger either. Sushi buffet, as awesome as it sounds, still isn’t really economical and rarely works out.
Meats And Mains
The mains and meats was the least interesting section to us. They had Indian, some meat carving stations, rice, etc. Honestly, we just spent less time in this section. It’s off to the side and it’s not the focus of the Sunday brunch as far as we could tell.
Cheeses And Things
Their selection of bread, cheese and cured meats and pickles is pretty good. Average compared to the other hotels, but they do have a nice range of pickled things.
We though the desserts section was the least impressive. The waffles were served were cold and the cakes weren’t especially attractive.
This is a unique and thoughtful buffet which we think bodes well for their all-day dining. They’ve focused on a few things and done them really well. As long as you’re aware of that, we think it’s a good value for Rs. 3,500 (which also includes a glass of bubbly).
The Kingsbury itself has a nice location at the end of Galle Face Green, near Dutch Hospital. The buffet is in the best part of the hotel, overlooking the sea.
The main buffet question is how many aunties will I be elbowing. By keeping the buffet line long the Kings manages to reduce the crowd, but it still gets elbowy around the seafood. You can eat in the main area but what we actually did (and recommend) is going to The Ocean restaurant next door. It’s basically the same distance and secluded from the madding crowd.
It’s a buffet, so you’re serving yourself. The greeters and waiters we encountered were nice and items seem to always be monitored and refilled.
The Harbour Court has a rare quality among buffets – focus. The salad/veggies and seafood are excellent and, apart from the desserts, the rest is good. We think it bodes well for the quality of the all-day restaurant overall.