Saturday, 23 July 2011

Red Hot World Buffet Leeds - Caribbean Food and Drink Festival

We've all been there.  You fancy a nice family meal out, but you want Indian but your other half would prefer Chinese.  Dad doesn't want any of that foreign muck but Mum wants to try something different.  Uncle Jeff will have a starter, main, sides and dessert and then insist on splitting the bill equally and somewhere there's a teenager who's just decided she's vegetarian!  By the time you've decided on where to eat its too late anyway, and nobody is quite happy.

So go visit the Red Hot World Buffet - problem solved!

I'd thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Nottingham restaurant with friends a couple of years ago, so when I was asked to check out the Caribbean Food and Drink Festival they are currently promoting and I realised I would be near Leeds I jumped at the opportunity!

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Red Hot World Buffet then basically it is a restaurant described as "A food lover's fantasy".  For a set price per person you can visit the buffet and help yourself to the wonderful selection of food on offer, as many times as you like.  There are starters, sides, mains and desserts, and the food is a variety of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, Mexican, Indian and English, although from 15th July - 14th August they are also offering Caribbean food.

I was supposed to be taking my husband with me, but he wasn't feeling very well so my sister-in-law came instead, who is a notoriously fussy eater.  She thought it was brilliant which I thought said a lot in itself!

The Leeds restaurant is in the style of an airport and we found ourselves sat next to the fusilage of an aeroplane which was a bit odd, and the first time we headed off to get food we got a bit lost as it is a massive restaurant and it isn't that clearly signed but we just headed in the direction from where people were coming with plates laden with food!  I was slightly bemused at being confronted with stacks of desserts as soon as I entered the buffet area but soon located the starters and, well, made a start!

The starters
We were quite impressed with the cute little dishes the salads came in!  There really is an incredible amount of choice!  The Leeds restaurant offers 200 dishes!  The salads were fresh and the onion bhajis (a particular favourite of mine) were hot, spicy and crispy.

Something I love about the Red Hot World Buffet is the opportunity to try something new.  I have always wanted to try sushi and mussels (tho not necessarily together) but have never wanted to order a full meal in case I didn't like them.  That evening I had mussels for the first time and loved them, and enjoyed several raw tuna sushi.  I will definitely be having them again!

Mussels, prawn crackers, won ton, jerk chicken...
As you can see I'm not a food photographer but the jerk chicken from the Caribbean section was just as it should be, the won ton was goregous and the Akai fish was yummy!

They are also offering 6 new cocktails during the Caribbean Food and Drink festival and I would thorough recommend trying the Jamaican Jig (I think!) - an alcoholic chocolate milkshake!  What more could a girl ask for?

More mussels, sushi, and Mexican
You can also ask for certain dishes to be cooked in front of you, but I wasn't that brave!

The meal was accompanied by a live band playing music on traditional Caribbean instruments including 50 gallon drums.  Unfortunately the music itself wasn't traditional Caribbean music but a mix of 80's and 90's stuff so it didn't quite sit right but it was pleasant enough.

There was a ginormous selection of desserts presented in bite size little dishes - perfect for allowing you to have a small taste of lots of different things.  The Key Lime pie was divine and I also and panacotta for the first time which I will also be having again!

Ice cream!!!
I had a little bit of room left for some ice cream!  Again, a huge choice of flavours, served up on request, along with a selection of sauces and sweets to add to it.

The food was excellent, tasty, fresh and hot (except for the salads. obviously!)  The waiters were pleasant and helpful and I can't wait to go again!

The cost of the meal varies depending on the restaurant you visit, the day and the time but on a Saturday night in Leeds your entire meal will cost £14.99, half price for children under 10.  For such a huge selection of food and considering that covers your starters, mains, sides and desserts and you can eat as much as you want, I think it's a bargain!  Unfortunately there are only 6 restaurants so far, in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Nottingham.  However, if you are near one of these restaurants I fully recommend a visit.

Disclaimer:  The cost of the meal and drinks were complimentary for the purpose of this review but the opinions expressed within are my own and no further recompense was received.

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