“ Address: 17 High Street / Southampton / SO14 „
The talk in the school playground among parents seemed to be all about a new place called the Food factory which opened last near in Southampton city centre. After hearing it mentioned so many times my curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask what on earth it was. I've since been there twice and loved it both times.
You have probably heard of restaurants doing all you can eat buffets at the Chinese or indian restaurant, well The Food Factory takes it a step further where as it isn't just a one cuisine restaurant. Great for people in parties of people where they can't decide on a restaurant as Tom doesn't like Indian, Dick doesn't like Chinese and Harry doesn't like Thai.
The Food Factory does meals which are Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian, British, and Thai. The restaurant is on a 1st floor but has stairs and lift access. It is a 300 seater place and does get very busy but you aren't crammed to close together and never had to queue for the food which is mainly self service. The logo as you can see is orange and the poor staff have to wear that bright orange colour too, they wear dungarees. Apart from the chefs they are in chef whites. You get to see the chefs as they cook your food in front of you on the sections.
Once you are seated at a table you give your drinks order and then go get your food in your own time. Each different cuisine has it's own area as do the starters and desserts. Each area has clean plates ready for use and theres several sets of cutlery on the table so each time you go for something different you can use new cutlery too.
The starters area has a cauldron of soup along with an assortment of different bread rolls, cheese, breadsticks, carrot sticks cucumber etc. A range of different salads or make your own from the fresh salad produce.
The chinese area is where I head after a small starter and the first time I visited I had crispy duck pancakes but where they rotate the meals they have available they had none when I returned last week but I did try some vegetable and chicken dumplings which were quite nice. The chinese section has a chef cooked what you choose, so you get the plate and put on your noodles chicken, beansprouts etc and then hand it to the chef to cook, it only takes a few minutes and you can't get much fresher then that. Plenty of prawn crackers available too and chopsticks if your feeling brave.
The Indian section has a chef making Nan bread to order in a big no idea how to describe it but a cauldron type oven. The curry and rices are all being kept hot in big silver serving trays. These are swapped over regularly when get low. Also you will find poppadoms, onion baji's samosas just as you would in any Indian restaurant.
The Mexican section is small and even though I've never tried mexican and always want to try some I always change my mind when look at the tacos and things and stick to things I know I like.
The Italian section has a selection of pasta and pizzas. chips were available too along with some English style meals. All meals will have the accompanying sauces, chutneys or salads available too.
There are way too many dishes for me to mention them all but basically they cover a very large range of dishes.
The desserts are interesting. They firstly have an icecream machine where you do your own ice cream in a bowl or cone and add your own sauces and sweets to it, my son totally loves this part of the meal. There is also available a range of some fresh fruits, different cakes and cheese cakes, now the serving of cake is like 2 mouthfuls but you can take some of everything and go back for more too. Last week we tried something called halwa which is an indian sweet, it was ok and nice to be able to try something new but not something I was that keen on, especially with ice cream and cake in front of me.
The evening buffet varies slightly from lunch to evening and I can only comment on the lunch time one but have heard the evening is just as good but costs more but does have a larger range available. On their website there is a bogof available for evening buffet print out voucher.
Now here are the prices-
Child aged under 10 years old are half price and my favourite bit is children under 3 years old are free which I feel is fantastic as in somewhere like Pizza hut you pay the same price for a 1 year old to eat as a 10 year old even though they don't eat too much aged 1 year.
I highly recommend this place and plan to return on an evening but unsure how I can fit in even more choice then already offered.
Friendly helpful staff a lovely atmosphere and child welcomed with highchairs provided.