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A Red Hot Favourite?
Red Hot World Buffet and Bar (Leeds)
Member Name: xhoneybeex
Red Hot World Buffet and Bar (Leeds)
Advantages: Huge Variety Of Food, Great Layout and Decoration
Disadvantages: Poor Service At Lunchtime
When Red Hot Buffet opened in Leeds, I was extremely excited. As someone who loves food and never fails to be spoilt for choice when sat at a restaurant staring at the menu, a place where you can go and not only eat as much as you like, but also taste almost every type of food there is, was always going to be good news for me (although perhaps not for my waistline!).
~*Where is it?*~
Red Hot is a small chain of restaurants situated up and down the country, with restaurants in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Nottingham. The fact that there isn't one in every nook and cranny of every town, for example like Nando's or Pizza Express, makes it all the more special, in my opinion, although it does mean that those of you who don't live near one are missing out!
~*Red Hot in Leeds*~
The Red Hot World Buffet in Leeds is inside The Light - a small shopping and cinema centre in the heart of Leeds. The Light is a glass building with a modern, classy feel to it. It houses a Vue cinema, a gym, a hotel, a selection of shops including Joy, The Body Shop and independent clothing retailers, and some other restaurants and coffee shops, such as Nando's, Starbucks, Brio's and Bagel Nash. However, Red Hot is not amongst the other restaurants on the ground floor; it is placed by the main entrance which enables it to stand out even further. The Light is not in the directly in the hustle and bustle of the main shopping streets, such as Briggate, however it is still very much in the town centre; only a short walk away from the train station and with many bus stations outside it. If you are unfamiliar with the location, it will not take you long to find someone who can direct you there with no worries.
~*My First Visit*~
I first visited Red Hot within its first month of opening, with two friends. We rang and booked a table for 8 o'clock on a Friday night with no hassle. Upon arriving, we entered and I was immediately impressed. On the first floor you are met by a waiter who directs you down the stairs to your seats. A bar is situated separately from the main restaurant, making it ideal if you would just like to go somewhere a bit different for drinks. The layout of Red Hot is very imaginative - all red and black and low lights, and it is all set out like an airport when you are walking down into the main restaurant - with an arrivals board and baggage desk, and as you enter the main restaurant it is as though you are getting onto the plain. These little touches really add to the experience of it all.
Luckily, my friends and I were seated very near the buffet hall, on comfy chairs and a nice, clean table. We were dressed fairly nicely; a pretty top and a skirt, and we didn't feel out of place; some people were dressed up to the nines (hmm, high heels and a plate piled full of food - I wouldn't risk it!) and some were just in their general day to day clothes. Nobody looked or seemed to feel out of place. There also wasn't one specific genre of people there - excited children with their parents marvelled at these new alien foods; couples enjoyed a romantic dinner, laughing and joking; a large group celebrated a birthday by singing loudly and dancing at the table...the atmosphere was bustling yet relaxed. We ordered our drinks and then went towards the buffet hall. It looked amazing; food was everywhere and the "stations" all looked equally appetising. I was literally spoilt for choice. I got myself a plate and walked over to the selection of appetisers and heaped them onto my plate. The variety was amazing (a full menu is available online if you're interested), and I particularly loved the
mussels and prawns, they tasted lovely.
As soon as I sat down we began to eat, and we did notice waiters swarming us, ready to take our plates as soon as we were finished. I then made my way around the stations, eating as much as I possibly could. The food was hot and tasty, easy to access and I noticed waiters taking away food and then filling the dishes and shelves back up again to ensure the food hadn't been left too long. Obviously the food wasn't to the highest of standards, but it was so much better than I expected. The only station I really avoided was the typical English one, with shepherd's pie, boiled potatoes and the like, simply because I fancied food that was a bit more "out there". The curry that I had; lamb Rogan Josh, was lovely, the Chinese starters were all amazing, and considering I am not a huge fan of sushi, that was quite nice too. I had a Chinese dish custom made for me at the Teppenyaki bar, which I enjoyed, and the Indian and Lousiana stations all had lovely food - both made in front of me and already laid out. The only station I wasn't crazy about was the Italian - the pizza didn't taste very special and to be honest I preferred the ones that I buy from the fridge in Sainsbury's! My friend had a pasta dish made for her though, and enjoyed it. The variety of food really stimulated conversations between my friends and I, as we enjoyed trying each other's dishes and giving our opinions. The desserts were great too - tiny little meringues, mousses - the white chocolate and ginger one was very tasty - brownies, cheesecakes and more, all in bite size portions. The ice cream bar was very tasty too, and fruit and sweets were available.
The staff were polite and friendly, and all in all we had a fantastic evening. Although we had visited restaurants with a higher quality of food, we agreed that this was one that we'd definitely visit again, as it is something very different and made for an enjoyable night. The meal cost £14.99 plus drinks, which was good value due to the amount we ate!
~*My Second Visit*~
I revisited Red Hot on a Saturday lunch time with my family. Bearing in mind they are not the most adventurous family in the world when it comes to food, it was always going to be a risky step! The price for food was great on a lunch time - £8.99 per person and half that for my youngest sister. My family were really impressed with the décor and although we hadn't booked, there was no wait, although it was very busy once we were inside! We were seated further away from the buffet and the tables were extremely close together - it was almost as if we were dining with the two other families we were next to. This wasn't a major issue for us, although it made it much more difficult for us all to have our separate conversations.
As we did not want to make this an expensive meal out, we asked for a jug of tap water and four glasses. The waiter seemed less than impressed and did a very bad job of masking it. He then only brought over three glasses and no ice in our jug; apparently you have to specify if you want ice. I asked another waiter, as ours seemed to have gone AWOL, if he could bring another glass and some iced water. He seemed happy enough to do so, but when we returned from the buffet hall he still hadn't obliged, and he never did, as it turns out.
The atmosphere seemed somewhat flatter than when I had previously visited. I know there is obviously going to be a different atmosphere when you dine at a lunch time, but I just got the impression that the majority of the staff couldn't be bothered and there was a severe lack of "service with a smile". When I approached a station where the staff keep the cutlery and napkins, a waiter who had been staring at our table in a rather rude manner for the duration of our meal, handed me them with a sigh and walked away. I then had to return there for a second time near the end of our meal, as although plates had been taken away, they had only returned with one clean knife and fork and left the three sets of used ones, that clearly had food smeared on them, the same man muttered something about there already being cutlery laid out. I patiently explained that they had been used, and he again reluctantly handed them over before walking away. I'm not quite sure of his position in the business, as he was wearing a suit unlike the other waiters, but if he is of some managerial standard I must say I do not know how he got there!
Unfortunately there was no seafood available this time, and my mum commented that the shepherd's pie
tasted like "baby food". Some of the food looked a little congealed, almost like the typical school dinner, and there just seemed to be a drop in the quality of it all since my last visit. Although we still had a nice time and my sisters enjoyed it, I don't think my mum was fully sold and the bad service didn't help matters. I assume that this experience was a one off, and I doubt that if I went again I would be as disappointed; however I think I will stick to visiting on an evening.
I would definitely recommend Red Hot, and my first experience was so good that I am only knocking off one star for the disappointment of my lunchtime meal, however if I were ever to go again and experience anything like that I would definitely be put off. It just goes to show how the right attitudes from staff really can make a difference to a nice meal out. I would recommend visiting on an evening, as although it is more expensive, it is worth it.
It is the perfect place to meet with friends for a fun night out, nothing too serious, and it's also great for families too, as I'm sure the children, like my sister, will enjoy trying the new food, and the parents will enjoy not having to worry about wasting money if they don't like it!
Summary: A lovely place to visit if you like to try new food.