Last night we celebrated my little sisters 30th birthday. It’s always a bit difficult helping J understand birthdays. In December J turned 3 and it was the first year he really knew what was going on. Whenever it’s anyone else’s birthday he gets a bit confused. He asks me if it’s his birthday, is he 7 now etc. Once we got him to repeat that it was his Auntie L’s birthday he shrugged it off and went to find something Star Wars related. That was that then, haha.
To celebrate we went out for dinner as a family. J loves spending time with his grandparents and his auntie and special cousin (they are more like brother and sister). I was excited as the restaurant was an all you can eat buffet…but with a difference!
Nines is an all you eat which features more than just your bog standard Chinese food. The was Chinese, Sushi bar, seafood, salad bar, BBQ foods and much more. Not to mention the huge selection of desserts. We visited the Cambridge Nines. It wasn’t easy to find as it’s tucked away next to the cinema.
When we got there you pay before you get your table. Children are charged depending on their height so it’s good to have an idea of your child’s size before you go. Then you are free to go in and eat to your hearts content.
At first J was a bit overwhelmed and just sat at the table, watching everything. Luckily our table was near the back and on a sort of balcony bit so we were in the ‘hussle and bussle’. It is a busy place and rather crowded so if you have children, like J, with Autism or additional needs (especially if you need space for wheelchair or mobility aids) then let the staff know before your visit.
I went off and got J and I, our plates of food. I figured it would be too many choices and too many distractions for J to come to buffet part straight away. He had one plateful of food and was ‘picking’ more than eating. This is something J usually does when out. At home he’ll sit and eat his dinner (with prompting) but is calmer. When we are out he has too much to look at, people to talk to you (family), noises and smells all around him. There’s staff coming to take plates away and offer more drinks. Eating is quite low down on his list.
I, on the other hand loved this place. I started with the Chinese section and filled my plate. I had all my favourites and tried some new items like seaweed (which was actually very nice). Then I had some sushi…I’m not sure if I liked it or not to be honest. I’ve only ever eaten sushi once before so think my palette is still acclimatising. Mind you, that’s one of the big benefits of ‘all you can’ buffets. You get to try different foods that you would normally avoid if paying per item.
I also had seafood and watched them cook my calamari/squid from fresh. My advice here is to get it cooked before adding other items to your plate. My food was cold by the time I got to the table. I had salad and paella too so made myself a great Mediterranean inspired meal.
By now J had been to toilet 3 times (just to warn you, ignore the disabled signposting as it doesn’t take you to the disabled toilet, it takes you to the stairs where the male and female toilets are. The disabled toilet is just as you turn into the toilet area, before stairs. Sadly, it doesn’t have a Changing Places facility so for some families this is something you’ll need to consider if you want to visit. The disabled toilet were basic but suitable for our needs. J does not like hand driers so going to main toilets means he’s so focused on covering his eyes and scrunching eyes closed that he won’t actually use the toilet. He then has to wind down afterwards so where possible we use the disabled toilet to avoid the sensory overload.
Next was dessert. J had got used to the noises and the new place so we went for a walk around. He loved watching the sushi bar conveyor belt going around. We then headed to the desserts. He was amazed at the chocolate fountains (although he didn’t want to try it). He choose some fruit and jelly babies instead. I had ice cream, marshmallows with chocolate from the foundation and some sweets.
I think we were all incredibly full. As a family of 6 there was something for each of us to get excited about. My niece tried lots of new food and J enjoyed having familiar food (chips, sausages, chicken nuggets…). So it’s get a thumbs up from the kiddies.
I ate a lot of food for the price of the meal so definitely felt I got value for money. The food was tasty and filling. The selection was amazing. Its loud and full of sensory distractions in the evening but the lunch time opening hours has less food stations so may be quieter and less ‘full on’ (although I haven’t been at lunch time so please don’t 100% count on that). J did end up on the iPhone playing games towards the end as he was getting antsy and sliding off the chairs in protest of being finished when the rest of us wasn’t but otherwise he handled everything brilliantly. I’m a very happy Mummy ❤️
I would definately recommend Nines, and looks forward to visiting again in the future.
Anyone else a fan of ‘all you can eat’ buffets? Where do you recommend?
Disclaimer: this is not an ad or sponsored post. My views and opinions are my own.