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ZUMA BUFFETS ARE UNDER SIEGE

Diners stage 'Viking'-style raids every Sunday



Zuma at the St Regis Bangkok has been serving baikingu buffet brunches the last three Sundays - and the place has been packed. Sampling the meal, I soon concluded that the popularity stems from the quality and the price.

The brunch sets you back about Bt1,300. Prosecco is also available for Bt600. You just can't get this level of sophistication at those prices in Tokyo, Sydney or even Singapore.

In style, Zuma is an izakaya - a pub for drinking sake after work. (Zakaya by itself refers to a sake shop. Prefix that with the "i" and you have a sake shop worth hanging around.) And baikingu means Viking - not the Norse conqueror but Viking Imperial, the first Japanese restaurant to conquer Western buffet fashion.

The brunch at Zuma impresses with a wide selection of high-quality food prepared by executive chef Patrick Martens, who was behind the success of the Zuma branches in Miami, London and Hong Kong.

I start at the sashimi station - lots of sliced raw seafood and delicious sushi, including and marvellous maki rolls - and proceed to tuna takai with marinated red onions and chilli ponzu, then home-made tofu with barley miso and chilled soba noodles. Diners tend to loiter at length around these particular counters, where everything's freshened up before the platters are empty.

Among the maki rolls are Ebi Tempura Maki with pickled burdock, mentaiko and yuzu mayonnaise; and spicy tuna roll with green chilli and wasbi tobiko.

I particularly enjoy the fresh oysters with a splash of yuzu (citrus) vinaigrette sauce, one of Martens' recommendations. This has to be one of the best places in town for oysters on a Sunday morning. The quality guarantees no tummy upsets later. The tang of the sauce complements the yummy cool oyster, handsomely washed down with a glass of prosecco. This is my kind of Sunday

brunch - nothing without a sparkling wine.

For the main course from the open kitchen, you can order rib-eye steak with saut


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