The atmosphere at Red Hot World Buffet was very different to other all-you-can-eat places I’d visited before. Less like a restaurant and more like an African watering hole: hordes gathered around the more popular items, and shifted nervously on the arrival of the occasional apex-predator – large aggressive-looking men holding comically small plates.
The main dining room has a number of different areas serving food from various parts of the world, and each area was labelled with the name of the country it represented. The restaurant was clean, well set out and each food-station looked inviting; a promising start.
My first visit was to China. I loaded my plate with crab-claws, a crispy chicken wrap with hoisin sauce and a couple of katsu prawns. As soon as I started to eat, I knew that I’d made a terrible mistake. The crab-claws tasted like Iceland fish-fingers stuffed with value crab-sticks, and the crispy chicken was rubbery,tasteless and virtually inedible. The katsu prawns were the best of a bad lot but were greasy on the outside and watery on the inside.
For my second plate I decided to travel to India. I selected a mix of potato kulcha, lamb nihari, chicken biryani, onion bhaji and some vegetable pakora. The lamb nihari was watery, had an overpowering taste of cardamon and the lamb had the texture of cardboard. The remaining items were extremely dry and tasted like they’d been left under the heat-lamp for too long. Simply dreadful.
The desserts were excellent in appearance but ultimately as disappointing as the rest of the meal.
‘Join us on a journey of food discovery,’ read the sign at the entrance. I’m not sure that my experience is the ‘discovery’ they had in mind. I have eaten at many buffet-style restaurants and have found examples of reasonable, and sometimes great, quality food. Red Hot World Buffet is not one of those examples. Having said that, Red Hot World Buffet is one of the more popular all-you-can-eat establishments in Manchester, so feel free to give it a try. If you don’t like it, just remember that I told you so…