Thursday, July 12, 2012

Family buffet nostalgia by Bureaucrat

Food is never far from my mind... and at the start of Mercury going retrograde, fond childhood memories of eating at family buffet restaurants come back to me.

Whatever did happen to Sizzler and Smorgy's? If my memory serves me correctly, going to Sizzler was a treat as a young 'un. Being greeted by a friendly waiter, and led to your green and white striped booth.

There were so many things I loved about Sizzler. Firstly, how can you forget the complementary slice of buttered toast. As a kiddie, that was pretty awesome - the idea of buttering a slice of bread before toasting it (as opposed to the other way around). I started doing the same thing at home, but somehow it was never as nice as the ones served at Sizzler.

Then there are the steaks which were cooked to your liking. Having a steak back then seemed to be such a treat. These days it's all about getting satisfaction now, now, NOW. But for some things, exercising some restraint enhances the experience.. kinda like how in the good old days (which I'm too young to be part of), where (I'm told) a roast chook for the Sunday lunch was the most luxurious meal you'd eat for the whole week.

There were also a few things that seemed so cool, ranging from the sneeze guard (which I thought was so classy) at the salad bar to my first taste of them incredibly salty, crunchy and shockingly pink in colour bacon bits.... And let's not forget the dessert station with the soft serve ice cream machine and all the toppings. Like any kid, I'd get myself a towering bowl of ice cream, load it up with toppings, eat about half of it and let the rest melt... and then go back to get another bowl of ice cream.

I think Smorgy's came along after Sizzler fizzled in the early 1990s. I loved the Hawaiian/Tiki theme of the place. My cousins and I looked forward to eating at Smorgy's as there were two things we made a point of eating lots of roast beef smothered in gravy (a rarity growing up in my family) and that delicious, flourescent yellow-coloured chicken noodle soup. Yes, these days I would turn my nose at the idea of eating anything so processed and artificial, but back then, that instant mix soup was one of the tastiest thing I had ever eaten.

Mother Hen reminded me of another family buffet restaurant that we used to go to before Smorgy's and Sizzler - Swagmans. This is really going back some time. I can't quite remember where Swagmans was located - I think it was near Mt Dandenong (but not up the mountain). It was decked out in an Australiana theme, with waitresses all gussied up in colonial dresses and music and entertainment shows. It's a pity that I can't remember much about this place except that it was very popular, and had bus loads of tourists being carted up there for lunch (kinda like the Cuckoo restaurant in Mt Dandenong).

Simpler times....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think we all have childhood food memories but don't think we ever went to Smorgys or Sizzlers. Mine are more of eating fish and chips or hamburgers at the beach, followed by a drumstick for dessert. Or trying my mothers adventurous home cooked receipies complements of the Australian Women's Weekly cook book!


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