Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bay Leaf Restaurant, New Bern

We had errands to run in town today, and Adam suggested we eat lunch at the Bay Leaf, a restaurant we've been meaning to visit for a while. The Bay Leaf is in a small, cozy on-street mall on Middle Street in historic downtown, right across from the old Episcopal church.
Bay Leaf doors are at the end of this little mall
The restaurant has a lovely decor, and the aroma of the great food greets you before you enter. Wow!
The Bay Leaf isn't large. There's a bar, about twenty tables, and a buffet line.
Adam could tell from the smell that we were in for a treat. We were seated immediately at just before noon. The lunch buffet runs from 11:00 - 2:30. It costs about $10 per person. If that seems steep to you, remember: this is probably the Very Best Food in New Bern. It's a steal.
Part of the first buffet line. I can't recall (nor spell, nor pronounce) the names of all of it. The green one was spinach and was very good -- many dishes are creamy and go well with the rice they serve.
The dish in the foreground is Chicken Tandoori, Adam's and Julia's favorite. Yes -- Julia ate meat and loved it! In the back is a pan of na'an, a simple bread. The next dish over is Chicken Tikka Masala, my favorite meat on the line.
They offered six warm chutneys. Mango chutney is on the left rear. Onion chutney is the red one, and the green in the front is mint chutney, the only one that is spicy.
Here's Adam's plate. There's a bit of several items -- some chickpeas with masala sauce, some of the spinach, some breaded/fried veggies, the chicken he loved.
Julia, a.k.a. The Picky Eater, was hesitant on her first trip to the buffet. She and I both enjoyed a dish of warm cabbage with tomatoes. She had na'an and fried veggies, plus rice.
My plate -- the Chicken Tikka Masala is in the foreground. It was wonderful with the rice.
After the first plate, I discovered this gem, their cucumber salad. It sounds so humble, but oh! It's not! It has cilantro and lime in it, so it tastes more like a chunky, fresh pico. I adore cucumber, so this was wonderful. I had lots of it. And it's healthy, no sugar, no fat, full of veggies. Yum!
Then I discovered this: their rice custard pudding with cardamom to flavor it. Oh! -- I was in dietary heaven! Seriously, folks, this was so simple and so delicious. They have tiny bowls, so you can have one or two servings and not overdo it.
Julia came back to the table with the Chicken Tandoori, more fried veggie (this time potato), and a small bowl of the other custard, mango. She and Adam flipped over this custard, sweet with mango chunks. I preferred the rice custard.
A pan of fried veggies:
They label all the dishes on the buffet and give descriptions.
At the end, I decided to try the mango chutney. Why did I put it off? This was the best flavor of the entire lunch. I spread it on the na'an. The chutney has complex flavor, sweet but a little bit salty, or maybe it was the added spices ... allspice? I don't know, but this I do know: we will be back at the Bay Leaf. It's our new favorite restaurant .
If you love good, interesting food, beautifully prepared, in a lovely setting, you need to visit the Bay Leaf. The staff were attentive (but never, ever pushy) and helpful. They refilled our water and tea promptly and quickly cleared our dirty dishes. The buffet was kept full of all the items. We arrived at a good time, we did not have to wait at all. We were told to return for dinner because they offer dishes on the menu that they can't put on the buffet, and we will certainly take them up on that suggestion.


  1. I enjoyed this meal, albeit vicariously! What a lovely spot! We haven't been to New Bern in years ---- here's a reason for us to go!

  2. I am usually on the picky side and living in Texas all my life Tex-Mex is our go to, but this actually looks good to me and I like that it is a buffet so you can try so many things. I would LOVE to visit your town some day. It has such a fun flavor. I'm glad you guys got to enjoy such a treat.

  3. I'd love to try Bay Leaf! It sounds like a most delicious adventure!:) Lori

  4. We love, love different kinds of food; all these buffet offerings look so great! We have made naan bread at home with coconut, raisins, and cranberries before. That mango chutney and mango custard....mmmmm!

  5. The food here looks good and sounds very interesting.

    Glad you had such a nice time.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady


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