Conservatory, Southbank

Everyone loves a good buffet and no one more so than my mother. Last year we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at the Conservatory restaurant within the Crown Casino and I know that Mum has been very much looking forward to a return visit, so the choice for breakfast on Mother’s Day was a no-brainer.

The Conservatory doesn’t take reservations for Sunday mornings. Living in very close proximity to the Casino, I assumed that we would be able to get up early enough to secure a table without queuing. Unfortunately our interpretation of being “early” failed in practice and there was a long line of people outside waiting for tables to become available when we arrived at 9.15am. And so we waited, patiently waited, until after 50 minutes Mum, Dad and I were finally escorted into the dining room.

I love the elegance of the Conservatory’s décor with large open windows looking out onto Southbank and the Yarra River, mirrored walls and high ceilings with art deco chandeliers and wall sconces contributing to the refinery.

Conservatory, Southbank
Conservatory, Southbank

In essence, the buffet breakfast is not dissimilar to that being offered by other international hotels with a selection of both cold and hot food, a bakery selection with croissants, muffins and pastries, fresh fruit and cereals. Unfortunately with the sheer volume of people inside the restaurant, naturally there was a another long queue of people waiting for their bacon, eggs and hash browns so I avoided that section and went looking for other things to try.

I struck gold underneath the bright shining lights on another counter when I happened upon a stack of fluffy pancakes and a small jug of caramel banana sauce. Filtered coffee and specialty tea is included in the $55 per head price tag for breakfast however be prepared to wait a considerable amount of time, repeat your coffee order several times to different members of staff and develop an immediate appreciation for lukewarm coffee when it finally arrives.

Timing is everything and within fifteen minutes, the crowd around the hot food section had disappeared on my return visit to the buffet with still plenty of food available. I really enjoyed the Bircher muesli served in small glass pots but while the steamed pork buns looked delicious, it had quite an unusual flavor and failed to live up to expectations.

Our breakfast experience was enjoyable because it was a special occasion and we were out together as a family. But one thing I do know is that quantity and quality are two very different things and there are some superb cafés in Melbourne offering amazing food for a lot less money.

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