Situated in the heart of Newcastle, at the roundabout just off the Tyne Bridge, is Fat Buddha, a fancy, luxurious restaurant that sets out to dazzle its customers. Fat Buddha Newcastle states on their website,
Housed in the magnificent Royal Arcade, our contemporary restaurant frequently commands the wow factor. With first class service and exceptional Asian fusion cuisine, Fat Buddha Newcastle will take you on an Asian adventure like no other. Simply relax in our exclusive surroundings or join us for a unique venue for your private celebration or company event, with a number of contemporary bars, intimate private dining rooms, cosy booths as well as a heated outdoor terrace, we really do have something for everyone.
Seeming fabulous, could Fat Buddha Newcastle deliver? We were about to find out…
It was a Wednesday night, the restaurant presented itself in all its glory and it was fairly busy. We were taken to our booth which was pretty although more suited for private groups rather than couples. Taking in its beauty, the room is exceptional. The décor is unparalleled to most of the competition in town. The elevated part-glass ceiling, the descending, elegant chandeliers and the luminous streams of cohesive covers arranged to provide you with your private experience – it is impossible not to be impressed by the scenery. So far so good but what about the service? What about the food?
Unfortunately, I didn’t catch our waitress’ name but she hurriedly asked us twice which drinks we would like and rushed off as we hadn’t decided yet as we were still taking in the surroundings. On her return, appearing all the more flustered and stressed, our waitress asked my colleague abruptly what she wanted. We ordered a bottle of white wine called Ceps Du Sud Viognier at £18.95. We waited around ten minutes for our wine. When it came with two glasses, the wine was sat in a silver wine cooler bucket and was left there for us to pour. To my dismay, my glass had a ruby lipstick blotch on the rim – I hadn’t had a kiss from a fat Buddha before and I never want another one. Thankfully, the wine had a wonderfully aromatic tone with peach and plump dried apricots on the nose. Soft and fruity, with a hint of spice, the wine left a fresh finish.
Moving swiftly onto our food, the Evening Menu consists of a set menu or you can choose your own dishes at separate prices. I must add, the menu is easy to follow and is excellent for customers with food allergies as each dish clearly states who can order it. From a range of starters, tapas or sharers, our waitress (who was a little more patient and polite this time around) took our sharing order of Peking Duck at £9.95 – crispy aromatic duck, shredded and served with spring onion, cucumber, steamed pancakes and a rich Hoi Sin sauce. The board arrived stunningly with everything on apart from the steamed pancakes that came in a bamboo steamer. The Hoi Sin sauce was aromatic, sweet and salty. It was lovely. However, the duck could’ve been crispier and less ‘claggy’ – it had more of a tuna consistency. A satisfactory start.
For our mains, we ordered Malaysian Chicken Curry with Steamed Rice at £11.95 and Beef Ribeye Rolls with Salt and Chilli Chips at £14.95. Unbelievably, as were waiting for our mains, the fire alarm in the restaurant began to ring. Maybe that was the warning bell for us to leave… After around ten minutes, it finally stopped ringing. The manager told us there had been a problem with our Beef Ribeye Rolls but now everything was fine and that the mains would be out soon. You couldn’t make it up. Shocking or should I say alarming? Hopefully Fat Buddha had been saved by the bell.
Finally, our food had arrived! Courteous and obliging, a different waiter brought it this time. The Malaysian Chicken Curry had big flavours and although it wasn’t as good as Revolucion De Cuba’s Malaysian Curry I’ve recently tasted, it was pleasant surprise. However, the steamed rice could have been more sticky and fluffy. Even though my colleague’s Beef Ribeye Rolls nearly burnt the place down, she was also pleasantly surprised. In fact, the asparagus wrapped in rib-eye beef served with black pepper sauce on a sizzling platter with the salt and chilli chips was the Dish of the Day. The deep, dark, thick, pungent sauce was outstanding and was a great accompaniment to the sizzling beef and the spicy chips.
Overall, I’ll never forget my experience at Fat Buddha Newcastle. From the enticing allure of the setting, the night just faded into bedlam and left me in disarray throughout. Although the food at the end did improve matters, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed at our time at Fat Buddha Newcastle.