There has always been this question of Buffet Vs À la carte popped a little too many times to us when asking for recommendations to eating out. We as Indians love a good spread. After all who doesn’t want to have that extra Gulab Jamun or an extra helping of that delicious chicken curry? Thus the major conundrum in taking the decision of sticking to a buffet or À la carte.
When thinking as a group, Buffet does make for a better option. The safest bet to take when you don’t know everyone’s palettes or tastes. It’s each man for himself, stretch, stand and shove onto plates, the food items you love. But every time after a buffet I end up with a full stomach and not so satisfied meal, I know I should have stuck to the À la carte.
When going for À la carte and ordering for myself at the table I know exactly what I want and which dishes I’d want to try and moreover how to want it. Sometimes it’s a good feeling knowing that the chef in the kitchen is going to pay that extra bit of attention to making and plating my order than the food in a buffet spread, left to dry and die. I don’t have to be getting up a number of times, to pick food for my plate. Just relax back and wait for the hot piping food from the kitchen to arrive directly onto my table and be served by the waiters.
Economically viewing, buffets stand out quite ahead. Enjoying an unlimited array of food, laid out as you can refill anything and everything any number of times does make for a practical choice. But how many times have we at the end of the buffet realized that we never could try most of the dishes on offer? That almost everything to anything was passable at best.
À la carte on the other hand, you might end up with a gratifying meal, but the bill at the end of the gastronomic journey is going to cost you. For people who dislike buffets and still have to go with a group, the next best thing is the Set Menu. You get to choose the dishes that you want to be served to the group from the menu for a set pricing and needn’t worry anymore as to having your food cold from the spread table. The waiters serve your orders at your table directly too. But this too can’t be as satisfying as an À la carte order considering that the chefs in the kitchen will have to be cooking for a gathering than a particular table.
In all conclusion, it is a never ending decision to be made every time a party, a get together or a dining out has to be planned. Buffets are the way to go when eating out with a large gathering. But when sticking to small company or individual, the À la carte is the pragmatic choice. It all really depends on the dining experience, the food you want to eat and what you want to tuck into that small pocket you call a stomach.