“ Address: London Road / Derby / DE1 2PA „
Cosmo Pan Asian and world Banquet Dining, Derby
I heard about this new restaurant through a friend and so when I was next in Derby I went to find it. This is a very sleek and new looking restaurant in a place that used to have a popular club called 'Zanzibar's' and a huge head of a man wearing a bright turban used to sit on top of the doorway. It certainly looks a lot better than it has done in the last few years.
We have been to the restaurant twice in the last couple of months, once on a Friday evening and the second time on a Saturday lunch. I feel that the food we had on the evening visit was far superior in variety and choice than that we had on the lunch. Apparently Sunday lunch is the same fare as the evening so if you are thinking of visiting then you need to be aware that there is less selection at the lunch session.
You can book on line for this restaurant and you are then sent a code to confirm your booking with a note saying your table will be available for you for an hour and three quarters. Initially this seems a short time but when you think that you do not have to wait for your order or between course, this is in fact plenty of time to enjoy your meal. I think it is done to stop large groups of people staying put and eating all evening.
The restaurant is a chain with branches in Aberdeen, Belfast, Blackpool, Bristol, Coventry, Derby
Doncaster, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham, Reading, Romford The Brewery, Sheffield, Swansea, Wolverhampton, York. Some of those have only or will be opening in 2013. Prior to visiting our branch I had not heard of this group of restaurants but I can certainly recommend them if the one in Derby is anything to go on.
The restaurant looks modern and sleek with black and glass décor. It is pretty huge and has a large number of tables in various different areas. On the Friday night all the areas were open and full but on Saturday lunch the back section was closed off and there were many tables not used in the sections that were open.
When you arrive you are greeted at a reception desk and then you either wait for someone to escort you to your table or are taken there directly depending on how busy they are. Near this desk are a number of plush red seats presumably you wait here for a table if you have not booked and they are busy.
Once you arrive at your table the member of staff looking after you will take your drinks order. Drinks are pretty reasonable prices and if you order a fizzy soft drink then this is bottomless so you can keep going to the stand and refilling it as you wish. The choice is limited to about five basic soft drinks with this.
The buffet does offer foods from many different countries in Asia and even some from outside Asia.
I will try and remember as many as I can. My favourite was the tepanyaki 'stall' which was only there on our evening visit. Here you could choose three items to be prepared and cooked in front of you fresh. I chose scallops, fillet steak and prawns for my three. I guess you could go back for another visit if you wanted to. Also in this area were other Japanese offerings such as miso soup and sushi with wasabi and pickled ginger.
Next to the Japanese area was the Chinese where you could have dim sum type sweet bean filled steamed buns, Peking duck pancakes and many Chinese dishes which again I didn't try except for the Peking duck pancakes which were very good and you constructed them yourself.
Another area I spent some time was the one with Malay and Vietnamese area. The pho which is a Vietnamese soup was delicious and freshly served for you. I also enjoyed the Penang chicken curry and green veggie curry in that area.
At the front of the restaurant near the Japanese area is the salad bar which I remember smoked salmon and other goodies there when we went in the evening but much plainer stuff was there last Saturday lunch.
Opposite the Malaysia/Vietnamese area is the Italian with pizzas, lasagne, spaghetti Bolognaise and so on. Next to this you can select from sausages, fish fingers, chips, chicken nuggets and the like. I can't say what they are like as they are not my sort of food when there is so much more interesting stuff on offer.
A Mexican section was closed on the Saturday but on Friday there was a good choice of Tex Mex food from nachos to fajitas and buritos.
A very large section had a huge variety of curries from fish and meat to veggie ones along with freshly made naans and chapattis.
Finally the puddings. On the evening visit there was a huge pyramid of macaroon of various colours, on the lunch visit only the top of the pyramid was there as a decoration only. There was plenty of fresh fruit, banana custard and cubes of jelly which my grandsons made good inroads into. On the evening visit there were small individual desserts in mini plastic containers but on the lunch visit there were mainly large cakes sliced up and a few trays of smaller individual pieces of things like mille- feuille and other things.
There is also an ice cream machine with a choice of toppings from chocolate raisins and jelly sweets to sprinkles and other things the children found very exciting. There are also tubs of different flavoured ice creams in the freezer. On the Friday evening there was a chocolate fountain with both milk and white chocolate and fruit and marshmallows with sticks to use to dip them into the melted chocolate.
The live cooking stations include sushi, Dim sum, Indian tandoori and curry, Yakatori and Robata grill, Teppanyaki, the Asian carvery, a pizzeria and the noodle and wok bar but these do not all operate at the lunch sessions and they may not all be available every evening.
As with all buffets you could go up as often as you liked and the staff were very good at removing the dirty and empty plates. They did encourage you to hang on to your cutlery but there was plenty at the cutlery stations if you wanted clean ones. You did have to remember to find a spoon for the soups and desserts and we did come back without sometimes and have to go looking for spoons.
I did like the way the restaurant employed chefs from the country of origin so that the Japanese chef was a real Japanese chef, as were the Chinese and India ones. Our waitress was Chinese with quite a strong accent and previously we had an Indian lad and a young girl from Bosnia. The staff were all lovely, very friendly and made pleasant conversation with us on both occasions.
For six of us, four adults and two children the bill came to £65 which is pretty good value considering what we had to eat. Children are cheaper and the price per head is cheaper at lunch time. I have a number of cards in my purse. Two offer a 3 for 2 deal for evenings and the others are loyalty cards and when you complete the car you get a free meal. They gave us four of these on Saturday with one stamp on each card.
The restaurant is pretty much on a level once you get into the restaurant but a buffet is always a challenge with a wheel chair but I guess another diner could bring food for you if needed. The toilets were through a couple of doors but I do believe there was a special disabled toilet. The ladies was clean and modern with no touch taps, soap and driers.
The bill is brought to the table when asked and they also bring the card machine to the table too which is handy. We didn't leave a tip on the table but handed it to our waitress as we didn't want anyone else picking it up as she was so lovely.
TIMES AND PRICES
Lunch: SATURDAY 11:45 - 16:00 £9.99 - Adult, £5.00 - Child under 150cm, £2.00 - Minimum Charge
MONDAY TO FRIDAY 12:00 - 15:00 - £7.50 - Adult, £3.75 - Child under 150cm, £2.00 - Minimum Charge
Dinner: MONDAY TO THURSDAY 17:00 - 22:30, £12.99 - Adult, £6.50 - Child under 150cm, £3.00 - Minimum Charge
FRIDAY TO SATURDAY - 17:00 - 23:00, £14.99 - Adult, £7.50 - Child under 150cm, £3.00 - Minimum Charge
SUNDAY & BANK HOLIDAYS 12:00 - 22:00 £12.99 - Adult, £6.50 - Child under 150cm, £3.00 - Minimum Charge
The above is taken from their website.
We will certainly be going to this restaurant again as it is good food, cooked fresh and at a reasonable price.
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