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Tops, Manchester – A restaurant review

October 24, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to receive an invitation to review Tops World Buffet in Manchester. It couldn’t have come at a better time as t’husband and I were heading to The Lowry to see Stewart Francis (5th wedding anniversary treat) and planned to stop in the City Centre for a meal. They very kindly arranged for us to go at 5pm on the Saturday evening (opening time).

When we arrived there was already a queue (a pretty good sign!). We didn’t have to wait long to be seated though and our waiter gave us a full run down on the food, what we do and where we go.

We headed straight for the starters and were most impressed. It’s a different layout to other world buffet restaurants. The starters are all grouped together then the mains are separated by cuisine and the desserts are together. It made it easier to get our starters without wandering around picking up bits here and there. There was plenty of room (no bashing elbows) and it was well lit.

Excuse the blurriness, I just really wanted to get to those starters!

The starters were incredible – the best bit of the whole meal we thought! I had crispy beef, chicken skewer with lemon sauce, salt and pepper king prawns, ribs, crab claws, prawn toast, onion rings, crispy chicken and sweet and sour sauce. All of it was beautiful.

Starters

The food was fresh, crispy (where it needed to be), hot, tasty and downright moreish. Craig and I were passing our forks back and forth ‘You have to try this!’ I could have happily stayed with the starters (Craig had 2 plates full before I made him try the curries!) but the Teppanyaki had been recommended so I headed to that station. I chose salmon and king prawns (I don’t really cook them at home so I always have prawns when I’m out!) and the chef cooked them while I waited. It took a few minutes and I can see this being frustrating if there is a big queue in front of you but that is the nature of Teppanyaki!

Choice of Teppanyaki

I added some chicken and cashew nuts, crispy noodles and some fabulous dumplings and was away with plate 2! This BBQ pork dumpling was pillowy and soft, heaven!

Cooking Teppanyaki

Teppanyaki & dumplings

BBQ Pork dumpling. Nom.

Plate 3 (!) was mainly seafood based – more yummy king prawns , crab claws, mussels, sushi, a bit more sweet and sour chicken and broccoli. To make myself feel a bit healthy *cough*.

King prawns with ginger and spring onion

The prawns were fab, the crab claws were nice (I don’t think I’m keen on plain crab, I prefer to stuffed crab claws) and the mussels were a bit of a let down – they still had beards on. I get a bit squeamish about mussel beards so couldn’t enjoy them.

Beardy mussels

Whilst I was devouring seafood Craig made for the Indian section to try the curries for me. I’m funny with curry, I’ll only eat it from our local curry house so I was sticking to the Chinese, Japanese, and Teppanyaki sections. He said it was all very nice. He would have prefered a couple of really hot curries but he is strange like that. The meat was tender, the sauces tasty and the poppadoms crunchy. Happy days. Neither of us like Thai so we didn’t try that cuisine, or the Italian. I rarely eat out at an Italian – I much prefer Asian food & it was so good we stuck to that.

Yes, I managed dessert. Just. There was again a huge amount of choice ranging from blueberry and vanilla cheesecake (yum) to Eton Mess (my favourite) to chocolate fountains and an ice cream machine. There were loads of sweetie toppings for the ice cream so I nabbed a few of those as well. 🙂  I ate it all. I don’t know how I didn’t pop.

Part of the dessert station

Sam would love this!

Would I go back again? Yes, definitely. This was without doubt the best buffet meal we’ve had in Manchester. Everything was so fresh and delicious. The atmosphere was really nice, the wait staff were very pleasant and attentive to everyone, the food was regularly checked and replaced, the drinks were very reasonably priced and the toilets smelt lovely (weird thing to notice but it’s true!). Couple of things I wasn’t keen on: you pay for your drinks when they’re given to you (bit disruptive when you’re eating), the desserts weren’t labelled so I didn’t know what I was having. What looked like a layered chocolate mousse was more of a jelly.

I would happily pay for a meal here, we’re actually going to take my parents next month and I will be recommending this place for lunch with the girls in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for inviting us Tops! We’ll definitely be back. 🙂

The Tops menu can be found here & prices/address/opening times here.

Disclosure: we were offered a free meal for the purpose of a review. I was not told what to write and all opinions are my own. I wasn’t forced to try that much food, I’m just really greedy like that. 😉

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