When Red Hot World Buffet launched their Tastemakers program – a tribe of bloggers to review their restaurants up and down the country – we were thrilled to be asked to join. I’d eaten twice at Red Hot World Buffet in Manchester before and had really enjoyed it. Whilst the kids were at their father’s house a couple of weeks ago we took the chance to have a child free meal and booked a Tastemaker review meal at the Manchester Red Hot World Buffet.
Sadly, it didn’t live up to past experiences and I came away feeling a little disappointed. I did enjoy the food but eating out – especially on one of those rare child free evenings – isn’t just about the food, it’s about the whole experience.
For those that don’t know Red Hot World Buffet, it’s an eat as much as you can buffet but with food from all over the world including Italy, China, England, Thailand, Japan and India. The restaurant in Manchester is at the Victoria Train Station end of Deans Gate and is on two floors. The two times I’ve visited before we have sat upstairs. This time we were sat downstairs. Which was, on reflection, the main problem.
So let’s get the negatives out of the way
The downstairs, on the level where the buffet is, has a bit of an air hanger quality to it: the acoustics are dreadful making it really loud and it feels too large with too many people in it: a sea of tables stretching out either side of you. Upstairs is a much quieter and more intimate area and it feels like you are in a restaurant rather than a canteen.
Another awful thing about the downstairs part of the restaurant are the loos. They are tiny. I’ve not got the smallest bum in the world, I admit (dress size 16 – the national average), but neither is it the largest and I couldn’t sit on the toilet without my bum pressing up against the sanitary bin that was squeezed into the tiny cubicle.
I don’t know if this is just me but I hate this so much that it completely puts me off places. They were also dirty with toilet paper all over them. They did make me shudder when I entered.
The restaurant was far too hot. The sort of temperature where you start to feel sleepy after one course and really need to get some fresh air. I imagine they turn the temperature up specifically to keep the turn-over on the tables up and to try to discourage people from eating too much. However, given as you are only given a 2 hour slot for your table anyway and the vast majority of people aren’t going to attempt to eat a weeks worth of food on one sitting, I think it’s rather insulting. We were so hot within 10 minutes of sitting down that if we hadn’t been there specifically to review the restaurant we would have finished our drinks and left without eating.
And now for the positives
The food was lovely; really tasty and fresh and with plenty of flavour. And the selection is immense, I can’t imagine how many chefs they must have working for them behind the scenes to keep up such a steady supply of delicious food. If a dish runs out it is quickly replaced and there are chefs working behind the counter for each cuisine freshly preparing food as you watch.
At the oriental area there was a live teppanyaki cooking station where a chef cooked noodles on the hot plate exactly as you wanted it – you get to choose the type of noodles, the meat, veg and sauce. I had beef and spring onion in oyster sauce and it was delicious although the chap doing the cooking seemed to be the most miserable man in the world and was very reluctant to actually cook me anything – I had to ask 3 times before he stepped up and did it.
The deserts were fantastic. I’d not really explored the dessert area at Red Hot World Buffet before and there was so much to chose from: there’s an ice cream bar, a guy making fresh waffles, a chocolate fountain and piles and piles of cake. I wasn’t a fan of the chocolate in the chocolate fountain as it was a bit sweet for me but I imagine the kids would love it. As for the rest of it: I loved it.
The staff (with the exception of the guy at the teppanyaki bar) were friendly and attentive and plates were cleared quickly before you went up to get another course. We were both very happy with the food and the service and wish we could have stayed longer and tried more. However it was too hot and we got to a point where we just couldn’t stay any longer. I think we were only there for about an hour in total.
Would we go back?
Yes, but with the caveat that I would only want to sit upstairs in future. I’d like to take the children and see how they find it, I think it would be a great way of introducing them to new food. Also I really want to try more of the Indian food and try some different noddles and meat combinations cooked at the teppenyaki bar
So far I’d give it a 6 out of 10 star rating. Have you been, what did you think?
About Red Hot World Buffet Manchester
Red Hot World Buffet in Manchester is open 12pm to 10pm Sunday to Thursday and 12pm to 11pm Friday and Saturday. Lunch costs £8.49pp Monday to Friday, £9.99 on Saturdays and £10.99 on Sundays. Dinner, from 4pm, costs £13.99 Sunday to Thursday and £14.99 Fridays and Saturdays. Kids under 10 years old always dine for half price.