Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews and Food Musings


Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and musings on food with you.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Oscars - The Croydon Park Hotel


The Croydon Park Hotel
7 Altyre Road


Phone:- 0208 680 9200


Oscar's has been open for many years. It offers a buffet carvery and an a la carte menu, for lunch and dinner; together with an English and continental buffet breakfast in the mornings. It comprises a spacious split level dining room, with a central buffet area and carving trolley. It is situated on the ground floor of the hotel next to the gas-lit bar.

My parents and myself went there last night for dinner (Eva is visiting family and friends in Sweden).


The restaurant is bright and spacious, towards the back of the restaurant is a raised area where there are additional tables which are used when the restaurant is busy. Above the large buffet area is a back lit glass ceiling, which acts as an attractive focal point (should you enjoy looking at ceilings!).

The tables are traditionally laid with linen tablecloths and napkins. The staff are very friendly and polite, indeed as a frequent traveller I find it particularly refreshing to find a hotel and restaurant with such a friendly atmosphere. They manage to create a family atmosphere that is rare in hotels of this size.

We were warmly greeted by the head waiter and shown to our table, which was regrettably (for the head waiter, who endured some minutes of my father’s views on the subject) placed between two pillars (our normal table was apparently occupied by friends of the manager). We were offered another but chose to stay there as it was convenient for the buffet. I suspect that won’t happen again!

I would draw management’s attention to one issue that rankles. During the meal the ambient temperature was agreeable (the restaurant is air conditioned); however, after 10:30PM as the tables were being made ready for breakfast the air-conditioning was set to “cool”. I am a natural cynic, and suspect this was done to speed the remaining guests departure. To my view this is not acceptable, I would request that you please refrain from doing this again.


The restaurant offers both a la carte and three course, eat as much as you want, buffet. The latter consists of a wide variety of starters (including smoked salmon, parma ham, melon, fresh fruits, eggs and salads) which guests help themselves to from the chilled buffet. The main courses (such as lamb, fish or chicken) are again self service buffet or a roast joint on a covered trolley carved for you by the staff. Desserts are presented in the chilled buffet area.


The service is attentive, friendly and efficient. Bread rolls, butter and menus were presented as soon as we had sat down.


We all opted for the buffet. My mother, taking an extra course, had the tomato and pepper soup; which she was very impressed with. Then we made our way to the buffet for the starters. We each took a good selection of the delicacies on offer on our plates, including smoked salmon, eggs mayonnaise, prawns, parma ham and lobster. Full marks, very fresh and of good quality.

Since this was the last Sunday before Christmas the carving trolley, not surprisingly, had a turkey on it. However, in deference to those people who did not want to overload on turkey there was also a joint of beef. Family Frost opted for the latter, which was cooked medium and was succulent and tasty. The vegetables on the buffet included roast and boiled potatoes, Brussels, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. The vegetables were well cooked and flavoursome, although the Brussels were a little overcooked.

I managed to have room for another visit to the buffet; this time opting for garlic chicken, excellent.

My mother had room for dessert (she tried three different cream laden desserts), my father and I managed a Remy Martin each.

The overall meal, which included two bottles of a Chablis and pre dinner aperitifs, came to £150 before tip; I believe this to be good value.

Overall Opinion

I am happy to recommend this; and would suggest that it is ideal for multi generational family meals. There is always something for everyone, and it offers the opportunity to eat a hearty roast without having to spend hours cooking it.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Follow Up to Mama Amalfi

I received an email from another dissatisfied customer of Mama Amalfi today, here is an extract:

"...Dear Ken

I was very interested with your website - at last a website to get genuine feedback on restaurants in the Croydon area.

I too visited Mama Amalfi with friends. The staff had a "can't be bothered" attitude. They took ages to come and take your order. When the order finally arrived the food was cold. The main course took ages to arrive (in fact 2 hours!) and then the same for the dessert.

Myself and my Husband had to dash off and leave our poor friends to deal with the bill otherwise we would have missed our last train home..... and we had to settle the money with them later. I had booked this restaurant in good faith (its looks wonderful from the outside - how misleading) and had told them that it looked "good" - how wrong I was - it was so embarrassing! I really do no know why people eat there - I definitely will never book a table there again....."

Extracts of my response:

"...Many thanks for your note. Sorry to hear you had a bad time at Mama's.

It is a shame, because I remember when it opened some 8 (I think) years ago, it was good; live opera singers in the basement on Fridays etc.

How thíngs change! Very silly, as there is far more competition in the restaurant trade in Croydon now; so they ought to be on their toes.

I am inclined to drop them a note inviting them to view my website.

We were lucky, we walked out before sitting down!

Never mind Croydon has many other (good) restaurants, put it down to experience.

Hope you are enjoying my website, as it continues to grow.

Please keep visiting...."

Maybe the owners of Mama Amalfi would care to respond to this?