I was very cordially invited by Freshwater PR to attend the opening evening of the Cardiff branch of Red Hot World Buffet- a chain that specialises in food from across the globe and boasts over 300 dishes.
Immediately, alarm bells were a-ringing, as this isn’t the kind of dining experience I would usually opt for. Being a vegetarian in this scenario is usually just a bit embarrassing as I often have to explain why I don’t eat prawns, pigs, etc…even if they are cut up real small. I like to think of myself of an ethically-aware, conscious eater/chef/diner for the most part. Others might call me a horrible snob. I care about animals and their welfare and I try and care about where my food comes from by eating seasonally and responsibly as much as I can. This is not easy coming from a big, giant family like mine. Eating out is a bit of a mare as we range in age from 4 – 73 and I am very much the only vegetarian, the black sheep (albeit one reared on organic blades of grass), of the family. My family LOVE all you can eat. The Kinchin Clan are BIG eaters. When we dine out, there are usually at least 10 of us, and often more like 20. To please the masses, we opt for buffets, like Spice Route, and to be honest, put a Dosa in my mouth and I’m as happy as an ethically-raised pig in poop.
Red Hot World Buffet is probably the best all you can eat chain banquet you’ll ever eat, for many reasons. I love something a bit out of the ordinary, and this night was by far the most 80’s-tinged, bizarre, camp, kitsch, wonderfully mish-masp-up of an event I have had the pleasure of attending in a long while and the service was ace. My buddy Jojo came with me, who also does not indulge in meat-eating, and agreed that it was indeed “brilliantly bonkers and insane”.
Before I get to the food, I need to explain another reason why you must, at least once, go to this restaurant… It has mirrored walls. Its has black and red decor. It is like an 80’s casino/nightclub, and the midnight buffet ball room on the QE2. I was immediately transported back to my 80’s childhood dining experiences in hotels in the Med. Literally all that was missing was the sugar swan. I was gutted I hadn’t put my hair in a side pony and donned my ra-ra skirt. Even the food was served in this retro fashion that my Mum (in the 80’s) would have been proud of.
And so to the cuisine… There was A LOT of vegetarian options. We started with the salads which were almost all vegetarian. The mango salsa and caprese salad were my favourites. After walking around with a sense of utter wonderment, we went for a second-helping of Indian. One of the chefs made us a dosa on the spot. This was delicious, as was the buttery Dahl Makhani. Next up was the Tex Mex, which wasn’t such a delight for veggies, but we enjoyed the quirky Nachos scoop machine. Our fourth plate was a mass of deserts. There were more mini-puds here than anyone could ever hope to chomp. The mini chocolate tart, the pavlova and a few other deserts were pretty nice. I forget what they were, because at that point, I was drunk on food. I had slipped into a food coma and I can’t quite pin-point what it was I ate. I know it was sweet and there was lots and lots and lots. Too much. No-one needs this amount of food.
Will I go again? On a family eating-fest, I just might. The Kinchins will love it. They are all about quantity. It is most certainly the best of this brand of eating experience that I have tried, but I am no expert. It was certainly a vegetarian adventure that I enjoyed, but maybe not one I’ll re-visit too often.