Cosmo Restaurant — A review (AD)

When I was asked if we wanted to review Cosmo Restaurant in Reading I did what I always do and headed straight to the website to look at the menu and plan what I was going to eat, even though it was a good six weeks away. Seeing that the restaurant’s USP is delivering a buffet that spans continents did not help my decision making. Normally I hate buffets because it conjures up images of fried food that is at best room temperature and at worst burned by the hot lamp the food has sat under for hours. Cosmo Restaurant buffets are not that type of buffet.

In fact they couldn’t be further from it.

The restaurant chain, with branches in over twenty other locations alongside the one we visited in Reading, prides itself on being a “World Buffet”, catering for every taste, where you can eat unlimited plates of food for under £20 a head. None of it room temperature or left under heat lamps for hours. In fact there are chefs on the passes cooking food fresh for you on the grill or teppanyaki plate. There were also servers wandering round checking the dishes, changing over spoons that were looking a bit messy, wiping counters and generally helping out.

All buffet restaurants should take a leaf out of Cosmo Restaurants playbook.

We were greeted warmly and taken to our table where the format was explained to us, and our drinks promptly served. It was busy with a mix of families, large groups, couples and people who were happy to eat by themselves. Its a big restaurant and yet it didnt seem loud or over crowded. And whilst we had been shown to our table by the fabulous manager there were also robots on hand to do the same. Programmed with your table number they will happily escort you, navigating queues of people and tables to your seats, and then return with your drinks too. Honestly I could have watched it for hours.

But what of the food?

Well there are clearly defined areas making it easy for you to choose what you like to eat, and you are welcome to sample as much or as little as you can get on your plate. Oh and when that plate is finished you can get another one. So whether you want to start with Europe and sample the Italian pizzas and pasta and then move east towards the Indian, Chinese or Thai selections in order or simply pile your plate high with garlic bread, prawn crackers, sushi, crab claws and samosas you can do just that. There really aren’t any rules other than being respectfully reminded that food waste is not cool so piling your plate and then not eating it isnt really in the spirit of the place.

The food was all delicious (we made sure we tried as much of it as we could in the interests of research. and I may have sampled the duck pancake station more than once).

I need to also mention something that I think other restaurants aren’t paying nearly enough attention to. On the placemats there is a clearly defined list of all the major allergens and a corresponding image. Next to every food item on the buffet there are also signs showing EXACTLY which of the allergens are in that item. This makes it much easier for anybody with an allergy or intolerance to identify any problematic foods. As somebody who has friends with severe allergies I couldn’t have loved this more.

Which is how we came away feeling about the entire experience to be honest. We were ashamed that we didn’t know about the restaurant before ordering but we were already making enquiries about returning as a group of 14 for the annual uni reunion in December.

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  • We love an all you can eat buffet and last week were going to go to the Cosmos in Newcastle but the reviews online weren’t great and we weren’t so keen that you were only allowed an hour and a half to eat. We like to take our time. This Cosmo sounds really great! x