PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Buffet-style dining encourages eating, more eating and then some, so do not be afraid of making an oinker of yourself here. The redeeming part is that you can do so in the dignified surrounds of this elegant treasure. Established 50 years ago, the Buckingham Arms Hotel is still owned by the same family of hoteliers and now the third generation of Matthews preside. The Buckingham Arms restaurant – or the Buck, as it is affectionately known – seats 250 hungry punters. Its old-school decor helps to maintain an air of majesty rather than some of the more modern feeding-frenzied, pig-out places. High-backed, cushioned chairs make the process of padding out your belly a comfortable one. Fruit-festooned window blinds are seriously 70s but accept them as part of the charm.
You may like to begin with an appropriately retro cocktail at the handsome bar. A brandy Alexander for the gentleman and fluffy duck for the lady, perhaps? From there, delightful decisions await – Gulf prawns, marinated calamari, mussels and (love ‘em or hate ‘em) herring roll-mops. Platters of leg ham, turkey breast, roast beef, pork, chicken and continental meats compete with a hot carvery, curries, stroganoff, stir-fries and pasta. Coleslaw, Waldorf and potato salads are on side. Cheese fiends get catered for too. The big kid in all of us will love the ice-cream and doughnut machines; housed under a Coney Island-style striped awning, they sit alongside puddings, pastries and beloved pavlova. Wait in sweet-toothed anticipation for plump doughnuts to plop out into the sugar pit below or see who can pump out the tallest swirls of soft-serve ice-cream.