Spoonful (Brampton)

It’s been years since I’ve been to a traditional buffet, where there are food stations to select to your heart’s content. As a child, we’d visit them for large family dinners - our parents were glad there were enough options to satisfy picky tastes and we could leave the table to walk around without them being judged. Somehow, we stopped going as my cousins and I became better behaved and our parents’ appetites shrunk.

Hence when Spoonful invited me out to try their buffet and my eyes swept across all the food, a pang of nostalgia ran through me. The layout feels familiar - the buffet area in the middle with various rooms of seating surrounding it – but the amount of choices were remarkable, figuring out where to start can be a challenge!

There’s of course an array of salads, but I steer clear of these at all costs. There’s no way I’m filling up on salad, even if there is an area that you can customize with Japanese cold noodles, edamame, and more. Soups are kept in domed heated pots that give an intergalactic feel to the restaurant - I was a tad disappointed that there wasn’t my go-to hot and sour soup, but there was lobster bisque, Chinese bone broth, mock shark fin, and wonton.

Beside all this was a sushi bar that had SO many maki, sushi, and sashimi choices. As pretty as they are to look at, sushi is never good at buffets… sitting on ice causes the rice to get hard and dry. A piece of dynamite roll confirmed my suspicions. But boy, do they look tempting.  

With the plethora of seafood options, my first plate was dedicated to crustaceans and fish. A lady stands guard overly freshly shucked oysters, cold sea snails and chilled crab legs, ensuring items like the raw oysters are kept sanitary. From the hot section, the baked garlic scallops in shell were tiny but delicious. 

I had all this before realizing there was another seafood tower on the other side of the room, filled with mussels, snail, octopus tendrils, and cocktail shrimp! The restaurant is a place for seafood lovers, offering even more choice on weeknights when there’s also crawfish and baked oysters (on Wednesday), and stir-fried BC crab (on Thursday).

From the Brazilian churrasco grill, the steak was surprisingly good, a perfect medium rare when taken from the middle. I only wish they left off the sweet teriyaki sauce to preserve more of the beef flavour. Generally, most of the meat items I had were delicious: the roasted duck well marinated and the skin of the roasted pork giving off a lovely crispy crunch.

While Spoonful offers a variety of stir fried noodles and rice (smartly kept in domed heated plates to resist getting dry), I went for the made-to-order pad Thai – the same station offers an array of freshly made Italian pasta dishes as well. I was happy to see the pad Thai sauce was brown instead of the bright pink meaning it's made with ketchup. It tasted pretty authentic, but less sauce could be used as the tamarind was overpowering and it could be stir-fried longer to give it more wok hay. If you like heat, you’ll also want to opt for the “very spicy” pad Thai sauce, I could barely taste any chili with the “spicy” one.

Spoonful invests in specialized equipment to keep things heated as optimally as possible. Like the domed heating plates used for the noodles, deep fried items are kept as a single layer in hot boxes and there are flat top warming grills for items like taquitos.

I barely made a dent into trying everything. Just to name a few more items they also offer lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, a variety of savoury tarts, beef ribs, the traditional choy suey buffet items (spring rolls, fried chicken wings, etc.)… *deep breath* … grilled teriyaki items, duck rolls, grilled pineapple … it goes on and on! Surprisingly, the thing I missed most were hot stir-fried vegetables. The stir-fried green beans were ignored and dry, so I stuck with the plain broccoli and Shanghai bok choy.

For those with a sweet tooth, Spoonful has TWO huge dessert stations containing a variety of cakes, tarts, cookies, Jello, and custards. There’s of course a waffle station and a soft serve ice cream machine that’s great for topping the waffles.

As if this weren’t enough, they also have a cascading chocolate fountain with marshmallows, fruits, and bubble waffles for dipping. A rotating ice cream station is also a cool feature and since there’s someone there to scoop it for you, I didn’t have to worry about sticky hands getting into it or the ice cream becoming too soft as the freezer lid is left open.

By the entrance are candy pod stations with a variety of chewy candies - just looking at them made my teeth hurt!  Needless to say, Spoonful dominates in the dessert category - any sweet lover would be in heaven.

The coolest feature has got to be the doughnut machine where you can see the automated spout pipe the batter into the hot oil and the doughnuts conveyor through until the end. Talk about nostalgia, the station reminded me of Tiny Tom doughnuts from the CNE.

I’ll admit, the doughnuts smell better than they taste as they’re oily. Perhaps it’s my fault, I had to get the freshly fried ones that just dropped off the conveyor belt. Maybe if I took them from the basket and gave them a chance to drain it would be drier. Nonetheless, adding some red bean ice cream to it and forming a doughnut ice cream sandwich made the oiliness less noticeable.  

For all the options, their prices are very reasonable: for adults, lunches are $17.99 and $23.99 and dinners are $27.99 and $33.99 for Monday to Friday and weekends and holidays, respectively. They also offer a host of specials to seniors (60 years + of age), birthdays (50% for the individual on the day of their birthday or 10% for the whole table during the month), and if you promote them on social media (10% off after posting on Wechat, Facebook, or Instagram).

As an affordable buffet, Spoonful is one of the better ones I’ve been to. If only we visited the restaurant as a child … it’s like a magical AYCE Willy Wonka world.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Brampton, Canada
 Address: 499 Main Street South

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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