(The Stranglers)

Let me say from the outset… I’m wary of buffet restaurants, and I don’t do carverys.

Manchester has a couple of very well known buffet restaurants that I have thus far managed to avoid, and while I’ve tried a couple of buffets in Manchester’s Chinatown, neither was noteworthy, and both left me suffering a major MSG ‘rush’.

I recently noticed that a new buffet had opened in Manchester’s ‘Printworks’ – “Peachy Keen’s” – a phrase I confess I first became aware of in the Boomtown Rats “I Don’t like Mondays” (while the Urban Dictionary is less than flattering).

Peachy Keens Manchester 2 @ Tolfalas

Anyway, it was a dark and forbidding Tuesday evening when I ventured upstairs to Peachy Keens. Inside it’s bright and welcoming, with décor that reflects a London tube map, but with international cuisines instead of station names. Sushi, Burrito, Satay. Clever…

Peachy Keens Manchester 1 @ Tolfalas

I would estimate that there are fifty tables, so maybe 150 covers? It wasn’t busy, but I noticed a few Moslem families celebrating Eid.

The food? Well, where to start? Starters maybe, and there was a good range of starters; chicken wings, crab claws, ribs, sushi and salad stuff.

For main courses there was a comprehensive range of pre-prepared dishes in covered chafing dishes, English, Spanish, Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Indian…

Peachy Keens Manchester 3 @ Tolfalas

I tried a few of the Indian dishes and found them to be hot, tasty and well made. I’ve had far worse Indian meals in ‘real’ Indian Restaurants in Manchester City centre.

Peachy Keens Manchester 4 @ Tolfalas

There are several ‘live’ cooking stations where chefs prepare fresh food – Chinese stir-fry, Japanese Teppanyaki, a Grill station, an Italian Pizza chef, a fresh pasta station and a couple of Indian Chefs, one preparing fresh curries, one making fresh bread and Tandoori dishes in a Tandoor oven.

Fresh naan bread cooked in front of your eyes, what’s not to like?

It’s worth mentioning the drinks, in passing. Okay so the drinks are never going to be the emphasis of an ‘all you can eat’ buffet, but the range was pretty good and the prices reasonable for a city centre restaurant. Certainly I didn’t consider them to be excessive.

All things considered, I was pleasantly surprised, the food was better quality than I expected, I’d rank it ‘Cruise Ship buffet’ standard.

The drinks were not overly expensive, and the staff attentive. Yes, I’ll go back.

If fact I did go back, the next day with a few colleagues who wanted a ‘team lunch’, but fancied a change from ‘that spicy chicken place’. There were fewer live cooking stations open, and maybe 30% fewer pre-prepared dishes. The consensus of the team was that the quality of the food exceeded their expectations, and that, at £7.95 for lunch, it was excellent value.

Peachy Keens Manchester 5 @ Tolfalas

Even better value as they qualified for a 20% discount!

Rating: ★★★★☆

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