Monday, 8 April 2013

Review: Red Hot World Buffet

Faced with a rare opportunity to go out for a meal without the kids, my Other Half and I were very excited when we were asked to review the Red Hot World Buffet in Nottingham.



After some trouble finding it (my phone's sat nav is officially sacked!) we arrived.  The restaurant is on three floors with the top floor being a check-in desk (the idea being based around an airport), the middle floor is a bar area for people waiting for a table, although it was empty when we arrived at 5pm and full to the seams when we left at 7.30pm!  The basement floor is the restaurant.

We were taken to our table and I was surprised at how big it was downstairs, impressed actually!  There are a lot of tables but you don't feel as though you are sitting on top of other diners which is great.

The whole concept is that of a buffet with options from all round the world: Indian, Chinese, Italian, American, British, Moroccan etc and you just help yourself to whatever you fancy.
We chose a different country each time and managed 4 visits before we had to call it quits.


The Moroccan grill

I was impressed that the food was all kept hot, it was constantly being replaced by the staff so nothing was left sitting for long and there is such a great variety.  One of the benefits to such a good choice is that it's perfect for families.  If we were to take Meg and Eli out there are only a handful of places we can go where we know they will eat something but having the number of options they do, there definitely is something for everyone with the added benefit of being able to try new things.  My Other Half even braved trying some sushi!  I have to admit that I was a little bit more conservative and stuck to food I know but I can confirm that it was all very tasty.

The waiting staff were very helpful, our waiter Harry was extremely friendly on arrival and kept popping back to make sure we had everything we wanted.  He also offered to take us to the buffet and explain how it all worked which we declined having visited a similar restaurant in the past.

Our visit to the restaurant coincided with a ChocFest they were having and the desserts were to die for!  There was a huge variety and it was a bit of a shame I didn't spot the desserts section before having four plates of mains as I didn't have enough room for much.  I also spotted a pancake station with a very long queue which we didn't manage to try out.  That's a must try for next time.

Now, the only negative comment I have about our experience: when we arrived the lady standing behind the check in desk completely ignored us which was confusing.  We were approached by a man standing in front who asked how many we had in our party.  My Other Half gave him our name and said we had a table booked.  He nodded and told us to go downstairs. 

As this was our first visit when we got to the bar area we were even more confused as there was no one there to direct us downstairs again.  We meandered for a bit before realising where we needed to go.  It had been obvious to us that the first member of staff hadn't registered we had a table booked (we have an usual surname which usually requires us to spell it out and he didn't check any form of bookings diary) so when we got downstairs my Other Half told the next member of staff our name and that we had booked a table.  He nodded distractedly and handed us over to a third member of staff who walked us halfway across the restaurant before walking us back to a different table; we thought that this was because they had finally registered we had a table booked but, no.  When my Other Half checked again he just shook his head and said this was our table.  

In itself, the fact that no one acknowledged we had booked a table isn't a major problem but what is the point of having a booking service if no one takes notice?  Did it mean that there was a table in the restaurant reserved which was never used or did we not get a table in the first place?  

Just one downfall in an otherwise very enjoyable experience.  It certainly wouldn't deter me from visiting again, I just found it strange to offer a booking service that then makes no difference.  When we left at around 7.30pm the bar was completely full and on the top floor they were queuing out of the door so I do hope that when it's busy they take notice of their bookings!

I also thought it was very good value.  All you can eat for £14.99 with children under 10 half price - I would consider that very reasonable.

Red Hot World Buffet have restaurants in several cities.  We visited the Nottingham restaurant.

Disclaimer: We were offered a meal at the Red Hot World Buffet in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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