The phrase 'all you can eat' tends to conjure up one of two images for most people: beautiful spreads that include every dish you could possibly want (but require an all-inclusive package somewhere far-flung) or the bloat-inducing counter at Pizza Hut. Now, we’re not saying there’s anything wrong with all you can eat pizza, but there’s more to buffets in London than Pizza Hut’s heat-lamped counter, as you’ll see below.
Now, let's talk tactics. Before you check out our hot picks, we have a few great tips to help you get your money’s worth.
Bring your A-game – and by that we mean appetite. There’s no point attending an all you can eat meal without having a hunger on. Obviously, we don’t suggest starving yourself beforehand, but turning up with some room in your stomach is a surefire way to get the most out of the buffet.
Start small. Don’t pile your plate with a mountain of food on round one or you’ll wear yourself out (your appetite, that is). Add a little bit of everything to your plate initially, decide which dishes are your favourite, then go back for the ones you really enjoy.
Pace yourself. It can be exciting and overwhelming to be faced with so much food, but if you eat too fast, you’re likely to fill up quickly and potentially cause stomach cramps. Take your time, enjoy yourself, and try not to overeat. You don’t want to feel painfully uncomfortable at the end of it.
Feeling ready? We’ve rounded up a selection of the best breakfast buffets, bottomless brunches that include food instead of/as well as booze, Sunday lunch spreads and a couple of all you can eat sushi options too. So, whether you’ve got a hankering for pastries, curry, dim sum or tacos, we’ve got you covered.
All you can eat breakfast and brunch
Start the day as you mean to go on, by which we mean dazzled by an array of delicious food that you can scoff until your heart’s content. We don’t mean eat ‘til you puke, but you’re going to need enough energy to keep you going at least until lunchtime, so don’t be shy.
What: Bottomless porridge doesn’t sound all that special (unless you’re Oliver Twist), but when it’s Dishoom’s date and banana porridge, it really is. Made with organic oats, milk, banana and sweet Medjool dates, it’s the ultimate comfort breakfast that’s just perfect for a chilly or rainy day. It’s pretty filling, especially when combined with Dishoom’s signature house chai (which is a must for anyone with a cinnamon addiction), but Dishoom promise that if you want a refill of your bowl, you need only ask. Who ever said bottomless has to be bad for you?
When & where: Mon-Fri 8am-11.45am & Sat-Sun 9am-11.45am at Dishoom Covent Garden, Shoreditch, Carnaby, Kensington, King’s Cross, Manchester, Edinburgh
How much: £5.50 for a never-ending portion
What: If you’re someone who believes weekends exist for boozy brunches, then you’re sure to have heard of Gaucho’s Electro Brunch Feast. Hedonistic to the extreme, this banquet – there really is no other way to describe it – includes tables groaning with the weight of unlimited food and drink to the tune of whatever smooth beats the DJ feels like spinning. This all you can eat offering includes all manner of brunch dishes from eggs Benedict to bacon sarnies, steak and eggs, and burrata on sourdough, all served up with an epic line-up of free-flowing cocktails. It’s not the cheapest, and there is a 90-minute time limit, but all you can eat and drink brunches don’t come much more glamorous than this.
When & where: Saturdays 11am-4pm at Gaucho Broadgate, Canary, Chancery, City, Piccadilly, Sloane, Smithfield, Tower Bridge, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds & Manchester
How much: £65 per person for unlimited food and cocktails, except for Leeds and Manchester, which is £57.50 for unlimited food and cocktails per person
What: If the idea of bottomless Middle Eastern sharing plates fills you with barely containable excitement (and why wouldn’t it?), then you need to get yourself to Bala Baya as soon as you have a free weekend. You’ll receive all there small plates such as hummus with grilled lemon thyme pita, smoked aubergine, tomato and olives, and loads more – to go with your brunch or roast dish. These are priced separately, but blackberry pitta French toast with banana tempura, maple, pecan and chocolate is just a taster of what you can expect.
When & where: Sat-Sun 10.30am-4pm at Bala Baya, Arch 25, 229 Union Street, London, SE1 OLR
How much: From £32 per person
Jones & Sons
What: Now, the main thing to remember when brunching at this friendly all-day British restaurant in Dalston is that you can only order your next round of food when the whole table has finished. That means leaving 97-year-old granny and your mate ‘Dave the sloth’ at home if you want to make the most of what’s on offer here. Once you’ve rounded up your fast-eating friends, you can look forward to unlimited plates of classic breakfast and brunch fare, such as croissants, pancakes, various things on toast and, at risk of holding everyone else up, a full English (meaty, vegetarian or vegan). There’s also the option of adding booze into the mix for an extra tenner, which we think is a pretty sweet deal.
When & where: Sat 11am-5pm & Sun 11am-1pm at Jones & Sons, Stamford Works, 3 Gillett Street, London, N16 8JH
How much: On the wagon, £44; off the wagon, £34
What: A great one for groups, London Shuffle’s ‘Bottomless Shuffle Brunch’ includes unlimited pizza and booze as well as a 30-minute shuffleboard taster session to the soundtrack of some great funk and soul tunes. Shuffleboard, for the uninitiated, is a game in which two teams use long cues to push weighted discs along a narrow lane and (hopefully) into a marked scoring triangle. Lanes can accommodate 2-8 players at a time and each ticket covers a two-hour session including bottomless prosecco, draught beers and pizza, which you don’t even need to feel guilty about because you’ll be working it all off as you go… Probably.
When & where: Sat 12pm-2pm or 2:30pm-4:30pm/ Sunday 12-2pm at London Shuffle, 4 Ebor Street, London, E1 6AW
How much: Tickets are £35 per person on Saturdays and £30 per person on Sundays and must be booked in advance
All you can eat sushi
We find, and we’re sure you’ll agree, that good sushi is extremely moreish. There’s nothing worse than spending big money on sushi but still coming away feeling hungry, which is why we’ve included the below restaurants that offer all you can eat sushi. Chopsticks at the ready.
What: You can feast on an unlimited supply of dishes at this interactive oriental fusion restaurant, which has branches in the West End and Camden. There are 30 sushi, dim sum, and tapas options to choose from, including salmon tataki, sweet potato fries with wasabi mayo, summer, garden and dragon rolls, and a selection of gyoza. Take note, vouchers must be booked and redeemed up to four hours in advance and you can order up to three dishes at a time over a one-hour period (though you have 90 minutes to eat it).
When & where: Mon-Fri lunchtimes at Inamo Camden, Covent Garden, & Soho
How much: £29.95 for unlimited sushi and tapas
Best buffet Sunday lunches
Cooking up a Sunday roast for the family can be taxing, so why not leave it to someone else for a change? You won’t find much in the way of traditional roasts in our picks below, but you will find a nice variety of restaurants that offer buffets fit for a king, whether you’re nursing a hangover from Saturday night or just plain hungry.
What: We would have included Ping Pong’s ‘Lazy Sumday’ menu solely on the merit of its punny title, but it turns out its substance is as good as its name. For less than £30, you can fill up on baos, buns and dumplings until your heart’s (or stomach’s) content. And, as if unlimited dim sum wasn’t enough, you can also add a bottle of prosecco to your lunch for a tenner. Fun and informal, Ping Pong ticks the boxes for anything from a lazy Sunday food fest to a lively special occasion, and with branches all across London, you’re bound to find one that suits your location. Just checking we mentioned the all you can eat dim sum? It’s a seriously good offer.
When & where: All day Sundays at Ping Pong Soho, Covent Garden, Southbank, St. Katherine Dock, Bow Bells House, Shepherd’s Bush & St. Christopher's Place
How much: £29.95 per adult; £11.95 for under 12s.
What: This one’s probably the closest to those eye-poppingly generous spreads you get at fancy hotels abroad, thanks to the vast array of delectable dishes on offer. Served across Millie’s Lounge, The Nickel Bar, Malibu Kitchen and Lutyens Grill at The Ned, the aptly named ‘Ned’s Feast’ includes as much food as you like, plus a glass of prosecco on arrival. Dishes vary from week to week, but the selection will always include lobster, oysters, roasts with all the trimmings, brunch dishes and salads. There’s also a cheese and dessert bar laden with profiteroles, pastries, puddings and cheeses that you’ll need to leave room for.
When & where: Sundays from 12pm-8pm at The Ned, 27 Poultry, London, EC2R 8AJ (members and hotel guests only)
How much: £75 per person for as much food as you can eat (drinks are charged separately)
What: Locals flock to this friendly neighbourhood Indian restaurant throughout the week, but particularly on Sundays thanks to its family-friendly buffet, which offers both excellent food and great value in comfortable surrounds. Each week the chefs at Babur choose a well-balanced mix of Indian favourites, such as tandoori chicken, Keralian slow cooked mutton stew, and pumpkin curry, which guests can help themselves to as often as they like, along with rice and naan bread. It’s a perfect end to the week for any curry enthusiast and almost guarantees you a good afternoon nap.
When & where: Sundays 12pm-4pm at Babur, 119 Brockley Rise, London, SE23 1JP
How much: £17.95 for adults; £10.95 for children up to 12 years of age (children under seven eat for free)
What: Five words guaranteed to get anyone who loves Mexican food excited: all you can eat tacos. For just £25, you can tuck into as many tacos as you like from a selection of six tacos – all of which are made with soft corn tortillas – plus chips and salsa, over a 90-minute period. There’s also the option to throw bottomless beer, cocktails or prosecco in too, though as this offer’s only available on a Sunday, you’ll probably need to factor in work the following day. Lively surroundings and chatty staff seal the deal.
When & where: Sundays 12pm-5pm at Breddos Tacos Carnaby & Breddos Tacos Clerkenwell
How much: £25 per person for all you can eat tacos + £20 per person extra for bottomless drinks
What: Held together by a skewer and served in a shot glass, ramekin, or on crusty bread, these Basque-country bar snacks are perfect for nibbling at lunchtimes. Classics include Spanish tortilla, croquetas and patatas bravas, but you’ll also find the likes of honey-glazed cod fritters, quince-coated chorizo, and tuna empanadas. This tapas buffet is usually priced per pintxos (£2.45-£3.45 each), but on weekdays, you can grab a plate and help yourself to as many as you like for just £15. Muy bien!
When & where: Mon-Fri 12.30pm-3pm at Pix Pintxos, 63 Neal Street, London, WC2H 9PJ
How much: £15 for unlimited pintxos
If it’s boozy brunches you’re after, check out our round-up of the best bottomless brunches in London