When one thinks of Sunday brunch, especially the buffet kind, Surrey doesn't normally come to mind. The usual Downtown hotels seem to be the most popular destinations. Well, that is pretty normal since we have several choices including the Pan Pacific, Hotel Vancouver, Sutton Place and Waterfront to choose from. Move into Burnaby and we have EBO at the Delta Burnaby and Metrotown Hilton. However, many may not know that the Sheraton Guildford offers up their Sunday Brunch at Fresh Restaurant. Since I live in the burbs myself and believe good food can be found outside of Vancouver proper, it was my duty to try this place out. Well, not really my duty, but it sounded a whole lot better than, "I heard of this place in Surrey and decided to try it...". *Yawn*.
So the whole family including the grandparents made our way across the soon-to-be-demolished Port Mann Bridge into Guildford. I foolishly parked on the street not knowing there was validated parking. So that is my public service announcement for everyone who intends to eat at Fresh. After we were seated, I attacked the spread with my camera. Yes, while everyone was getting food, I was getting photos. There was a decent selection of eats including various Salads: Mesclun Greens, Caesar Salad, Greek Salad, Crystal Noodle Salad with baby shrimp and peanut dressing, Potato Salad, Corn & Manitoba Rice Salad with white beans & basil pesto dressing, Field Tomato & Red Onion Salad with balsamic dressing and Spinach & Frisee Salad with stilton, walnuts & blueberry dressing. There was also the usual cold cut platter consisting of Roasted Tom Turkey, Black Forest Ham, Roast Beef and Genoa Salami. Honestly, I didn't pay much attention to this section.
What I really wanted to eat was the Seafood which included Green Lip Mussels with salsa fresca, Atlantic Red Crab, 3 types of Indian Candy, Oriental-style Salmon Gravlax, Absolut Vodka-cured Salmon Gravlax, Smoked Salmon and Peel & Eat Shrimp. Of all the items here, I liked the 2 types of gravlax. Although they were quite salty, I just enjoyed the different flavours. I really didn't like the crab as it was naturally the frozen variety. Hence the meat had a strange texture. Moving onto the Hot Food section, there was the usual Bacon & Sausages, a strange textured Scrambled Eggs (probably from a carton), Eggs Benedict, Xiao Long Bao, Haw Gow, Spring Rolls, Veggies and Roast Potatoes. There were 4 specific dishes in this section as well (which I will discuss later). As mentioned, the scrambled eggs were strange while the Eggs Benny was actually not bad. The eggs were poached beautifully runny while the thick Hollandaise was a bit too mild. It could've benefited from more lemon. The Dim Sum selection was most likely the frozen stuff where the filling of the Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumpling) was rubbery and loose. The dumpling skin was dry and thick. The XLBs were actually not too bad considering everything. The dumpling skin wasn't overly thick and the filling was moist. There was a modest amount of soup in the dumplings. It tasted mostly like the meat filling,
Now onto the "dishes" in the same section, I tried the Butter Poached Pollack with olive & sundried tomato ragout and basil polenta. As with most buffets, the fish was overcooked. I'll cut them some slack because it is a real challenge to keep fish moist in a buffet setting. The flavours were nice though, especially the olives since they provided a distinct saltiness to the dish. I love polenta. Unfortunately, the polenta in this dish was too gritty. Next up was the Tequilla & Lime Grilled Chicken with chipotle honey butter and Spanish Rice. This was actually a pretty good dish, due in part that chicken keeps pretty well in buffets (especially dark meat). I'm not sure if I tasted any Tequilla, but I definitely got a whiff of lime. When I lifted the cover off the Whiskey & Demerara Rubbed Top Round with Au Jus, I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. Pre-sliced roast beef sitting in a chaffing serving tray... says it all. I realize that to have a hand-carved roast would be more trouble and cost, however, the result of having the beef served this way was pretty much disastrous. The meat was really dry and chewy. Even the au jus, which was still had a bit of alcohol taste, couldn't save it.
The last hot entree was the Grilled Pork Medallions with herb spatzel and calvados jus. The pork had appealing grill marks which resulted in a nice charred flavour. Surprisingly, the pork wasn't dry. The sauce was flavourful and benefited from the lardons. As for the spatzel, it was fluffy and we thought it was done quite well. There was also an option to request a made-to-order omelet from the kitchen as well. The last section, naturally, was a table full of various Desserts. These included fresh fruit, several cakes, cheese and waffles. I sampled one of the cheesecakes as well as the strawberry shortcake. They were pretty standard and did the job. In fact, the buffet here at Fresh essentially did the job, no more, no less. Nothing really stood out nor did anything really stink either (well, except for the beef). Considering the price is south of $30.00 per person, it is definitely an option for those who don't want to travel all-the-way into Downtown for Sunday brunch.
- Very good service
- Comfortable digs
- No freshly-carved roast