To ring in my turning a quarter of a century old, it was only fitting to visit Melbourne’s most lavish buffet, Melba, before my metabolism decides to give up for good. Melba is housed in the luxurious Langham Hotel up the grandiose staircase. Melba is parts opulent and an equal measure of kitsch (I can never work out which it was at any given time).
As we sat down I was told that due to my allergies that instead of a complimentary cupcake I could opt for a glass of wine, which was much better option is given the amount of cakes already populating the buffet adjacent to the glistening Lindt chocolate fountain. Drool.
First I visited the roast station – pork belly, duck pancakes and other goodies soon found their way on to the plate. The chefs are actually stationed so that they can slice off cuts of roast fresh and you can watch the duck pancakes being proficiently assembled.
In the far corner, a woman was slicing up sashimi to order. I ordered some unagi and some tuna. The sashimi was just ok and despite being freshly cut didn’t have the freshness quality that I look for in sushi.
The Indian station was surprisingly the highlight of the night. Naan to order, with garlic, cheese or MnM as examples of some of the additions you could choose as it’s whipped in and out of the tandoor by one of the chefs. J was brave enough to order an mnm naan, which I was convinced would be all novelty and no taste but the combination of melty chocolate in soft breading was nothing less than hedonistic pleasure. I might add that he also swung over to the icecream station for a scoop to melt slowly into the naan. I sampled two of the curries – the pork belly and the beef. The pork belly curry was sensational, with the meat almost dissolving in a sea of spice.
The seafood, which is obviously one of the drawcards of Melba, was situated in the centre. Crab claws, king prawns galore. Whilst tasty, the deshelling of prawns and crab claws can get tiresome even with the large bucket and wash dish on each table. The seafood, alike the sushi, was not as fresh as I had hoped.
*Deep breath* So yes, I did continue to eat. I ate some desserty things and I also visited the cheese station. As a self-confessed caseophile, it was hard to prevent myself from devouring the entire station. Blue, brie and all the usual suspects could be found as well as some quince and crackers.
The salad station was, well, it contained salad. The salads weren’t anything life-changing but there was a slab of sliced smoked salmon in olive oil and dill.
We left feeling stupidly full and like our sides were about to unravel. Melba is a good place to visit at least once. I’m not sure whether we will be returning – perhaps for a special occasion. I’m also pretty sure we got charged for the ‘complimentary’ glass of wine but I didn’t want to make a fuss so we ended up just paying the bill and waddled out.