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HAVING been stood up for a dinner date, there was just one place to head. At Maya’s World Buffet, I could sample and describe two meals for the price of one – or for that matter, 30 meals, if I wanted.

The “world” in Maya’s name refers to the global reach, which embraces Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Italian and British traditional roast dishes. Diners can help themselves to as much as they want, for as long as they want, from the buffet, at an all-in weekday price of £14.95 for the food. On the night I was there, the restaurant had not just one, but three front-of-house managers, patrolling the buffet counter, and always happy to offer advice.

To begin the evening, I did something not normally associated with a restaurant, and tookawalk. Even two circuits were insufficient to absorb the full effect of the buffet counter. The problem for anyone with a stomach capacity smaller than the average shed is not so much what to choose, as what to leave out.

In the end, I decided to go for very small amounts of as many items as possible.

I kicked off with the chicken and sweetcorn soup, then proceeded to a fish course composed of sushi, from the Japanese selection, and largelipped mussels served in the shell, from the Chinese section.

Then it was on to a double pancake course, comprising one half Peking duck and one half Mexican spiced lamb. Alongside this, I piled red kidney beans in a pepper sauce, and guacamole. Then came spoonfuls of no less than ten different salads, bulked out with samosas and Chinese chicken fritters.

By the fifth course, I was feeling decidedly stuffed, but I had to sample the chow mein – always a favourite – and, just to show that I wasn’t prejudiced, I added a couple of dollops of lamb curry, and a naan bread, freshly made by one of the counter chefs.

After a ten-minute break, I was finally ready to take on the dessert counter, which sits separately from the main buffet. I can actually claim to have eaten seven separate sweet courses. Four of them consisted of unidentified, dainty, creamy trifly things, served in miniature dishes.

One was an apple strudel, adding Austrian to the list of cuisines, and one was a soft ice cream dispensed from a nozzle. Dollops of chocolate sauce from the chocolate fountain completed the list, and just about wrote me off.

None of the food was fivestar, but equally, among that great pile of dishes, there was not one that I regretted choosing.

The hot dishes were decidedly lukewarm, but not enough to ruin them.

In any case, Maya’s should not be approached as a gourmet establishment. This is not the place for those who like to peck at their food, but head for Maya’s with a big appetite, and you will not be disappointed.