Elements Buffet (Kempinski Hotel)
The Elements Buffet at the Kempinski Hotel is a smorgasbord that offers both western favorites and Chinese comfort food. With a price tag of 238 RMB (258 on weekends) for all-you-can-eat and drink, it’s one of the pricier options in the city. However, the regularly changing dishes and the free-flowing wine or Moutai beer make it a worthwhile place to treat yourself.
Elements has multiple sections, each specializing in a different cuisine. From the entrance, look to your left to find sushi, sashimi and a salad bar. Continue along the left wall for pasta and pizza. Cross the room to choose meats for the chefs to grill. Loop to the other side of the restaurant for a big dessert bar and a classic noodle bar. The entire restaurant is non-smoking. Elements is open from 5:30 until 9:30 daily.
The first thing you’ll lay eyes on when the staff escort you to your table is the cold bar. Shrimp, crab and shellfish lie nestled in ice next to chefs slicing and serving fresh sashimi and sushi. Soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger and lemon are available to complement the seafood.
Around the corner, a salad bar showcases a variety of greens and dressings. You can choose your own ingredients or help yourself to the salad the staff prepares in a large serving bowl. There are also more Chinese style salads with local ingredients like chicken feet, cabbage and sour vegetables.
The final thing on the cold bar is an array of cold meats, including seasoned duck breast and salami. From there, head past the drink bar (where you can find juice, beer and other beverages) to keep filling your plate.
The pasta and pizza section dominates the left side of the restaurant. The chefs will have pizzas already prepared to choose from, but you can also request one with your choice of toppings. The pasta bar allows you to design your perfect bowl of pasta, so point out your preferred vegetables, meat, and sauce to the chef and watch him do his magic.
Follow the counter around to find a carnivore’s delight. The meat section changes regularly, with offerings like roast beef, lamb, goose or duck. I’ve seen sausages, pork bellies and plenty of other tasty offerings on different visits. Beyond the carving section, you can also find the specialty dishes of the day. Until the end of November that will be Mexican dishes for the Mexican food festival. (Editor’s note: The Mexican food festival ended at the end of November 2017.)
Toward the center of the room, you’ll locate the BBQ section. Guests tend to flock here to have the chefs grill up their choice of fresh fish, steak, oysters and other meats. Let the chefs know what meat you want and which sauce and they’ll throw it on the grill and cook it up for you right away. This area is a favorite for many guests, but don’t worry: chefs regularly refill the meats, so you won’t miss out on your favorite protein.
The right side of the restaurant has two sections. One devoted to an array of ingredients for noodles. Piles of greens, tofu, and assorted meat toppings are available to accent your hot bowl of noodles. Pick out what you prefer and the chef will prepare them in front of your eyes.
No dinner is complete without dessert, of course. After you’ve stuffed yourself to bursting, find some space to scarf down cake and ice cream. Don’t forget to run absolutely everything through the chocolate fountain to add some extra decadence (and calories) to every last bite.
The Kempinski Hotel Guiyang is easy to find because its one of the tallest buildings in the city. It’s directly across the street from Hunter Mall. You can’t get directly in from Wenchang Bei Lu, but you can from any other side of the hotel. Elements Buffet is on the second floor, above the lobby lounge. You can see it if you just look upwards from the lounge.