Monday, 9 September 2013

Red Hot World Buffet - My First Visit

A little while ago I was lucky enough to be picked as a taste tester for Red Hot World Buffet. Red Hot World Buffet is a concept built around World foods in an environment where you can eat as much as you want. Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican and Japanese food are featured highly in the menu. Food is kept hot with the hot plates, and there is a number of serving stations where food is freshly made before your very eyes.

I admit it, I'm not a big fan of buffets in general although I do eat out a lot, but I was looking forward to sampling the food and seeing what this experience would be like. To sum up the food was better than expected but the staff let the place down a little.



We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and the restaurant was busy but not full. I had booked ahead so they should have known we were coming and also that we were coming to review the restaurant. 

When we got to the restaurant the waiter at the door looked confused, and there wasn't a warm welcome. He sat us on a tiny table, next to the service area,where all we could hear were  dishes being washed and something unpleasant like the smell of bins.

I asked politely to move and he moved us to a different area which was much better although it was a similar table and just as cramped. I was a little disappointed to be honest. Another waitress settled us down, but I had to ask how the concept worked as I was not sure, and the information wasn't forthcoming. She appeared pleasant though

Then another waitress came over and the service picked up, although I had to explain again when we were there. She quickly took our drinks order and explained how it worked but it was so quick and seemed rushed. I did feel the staff lacked warmth and the information given was poor, it was a bit of a shame as the food looked good. Some of the staff seemed off hand as if we were an inconvenience. First impressions of the restaurant area was that it was quite dark for 1pm in the afternoon. 

I would suggest a proper meet and greeter would improve the experience for the customer, with staff being trained in making customers feel welcome.

Virgin Mojito

Onto the food - the food area was much lighter than the restaurant and the food was split into sections. Sushi, Italian, English, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and much more. I have to give credit where it is due the food displays were very appetising and fresh looking. Due to the busy nature of the restaurant that afternoon I was confident that most food was freshly cooked and turned over quickly. I started with a dish off the Teppanyaki area. Here the idea is you pick your meat and vegetable, noodles and a sauce and the dish is cooked on a hot plate before your eyes. The food when I tried it was hot, fresh and tasty.

Teppanyaki Station

My son went on to have a selection of Indian food, he found the Chicken Tikka Marsala in his words "the nicest I have had for a long time", however didn't really care for the Egg Fried Rice as he thought it was bland.  He tried the Pizza twice and it much much better the second time when it was made fresh. If you want to have the nicest food I would wait around the stations to see what was being prepared and cooked there and then. The food that was hanging around the longest did not taste as nice as the freshly prepared food.

I went back to try the Indian food, the Butter Garlic Nan Bread was very tasty and the Onion Bhaji was very nice too and not too greasy, they were both hot and fresh. I tried a selection of Indian dishes, including Chicken Tikka Marsala, and Lamb Rogon Josh, the meat in the first seemed dry however the Rogon Josh was very flavourful.


Pizza And Salads

Onto the desserts. My son had a selection of Creme Brulee, Marshmallow Kebabs dipped in chocolate, Lime Jelly and a Chocolate Truffle. He highly rated the desserts. I had the Banana Caramel Pancakes. These were like little drop pancakes and were made freshly on a hot plate. These were certainly the best part of the meal for me, totally delicious and sweet without being too sickly -they certainly made the meal.


A Selection Of Desserts


To sum up I wish the staff were more welcoming as this started off our experience on the wrong foot. The food when freshly prepared and cooked at the cooking station was tasty, both the Teppanyaki and the pancakes were the nicest parts of the meal.  

The drinks selection was decent and they had a lovely choice of 'mocktails' without alcohol. Prices at the Red Hot World Buffet vary between £8.49 to £12.99 for lunch and £12.99 for £14.99 for dinner. Kids always eat at half price which is a good offer.

So Red Hot World Buffet, please look at your staff training and the welcome experience. I really wanted to love your Cardiff restaurant - the food was better than I expected but the staff let it down. I look forward to revisiting for an improved experience.

Update: Red Hot Buffet have taken my comments on board. The manager of the Cardiff branch sent me an email to say that they appreciate my comments. They have said that they were disappointed that my welcome was not how they would have expected. They have re-emphasised the welcome process to the staff. They also stated they would ensure staff asked where customers would like to sit in future and have taken on board my comments on the size of the table. They will also ensure that the concept of the Red Hot Buffet is explained properly. 

I am pleased that they seem to be taking my comments on board. I look forward to my next visit!

* I am a Red Hot Buffet TasteMaker, I was given this meal to blog about for a honest review.

Red Hot World Buffet Cardiff Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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26 comments

  1. Some really useful constructive criticism here for Red Hot World Buffet. I think I would feel a little bit peeved if I had to spend money where the staff were unwelcoming, but the food does look good so I hope that Red Hot World Buffet will take heed of your comments and do some more staff training.

    An interesting review that makes me want to try the Red Hot World Buffet but perhaps not Cardiff's! Well, not yet anyway......

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    1. I would say try it! The food was much better than my expectations and most of it is well presented. The desserts are especially nice

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  2. I've always wanted to try the Red Hot World Buffet as I love the concept but I haven't made it there yet, mainly due to mixed reviews. Your comments about the food make it very appealing, but I rate a restaurant on its staff and it doesn't look like they're doing too well on that score. Great review and I'll be interested in finding out if there have been any improvements on your next visit.

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  3. The food sounds great, I have a similar restaurant near me and the staff there fall over themselves to help and it makes it all seem so much nicer!

    In these economic times you just CANNOT have staff behave in this way. The public will just not go there no matter how good the food is!

    Great post - if it improves I'd go!!

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  4. the food sounds lovely mel, been looking for some thing a bit different to do for my sons upcomming birthday mc donalds and burger king etc are good but i wanted this one to be special , & this place sounds ideal ,some thing for all of us to eat and lots of dishes to try, but if the staff are badly managed and no time for normal diners im thinking maybe not...

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    1. Please make up your own mind. It could have been an off day.

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  5. That was very interesting Mellissa !!!!!!! I'm off to the one in Northampton so I hope the customer service is a bit better - food looks lovely glad you enjoyed it :)

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  6. I love your honest review. I really like the look and sound of the food, and hopefully Red Hot Buffet will invesst in their staff training before I make it there!

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    1. Thanks I think it's important to be honest or things can't be improved

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  7. A very fair review. My number one place to look is the standard of the toilets (don't laugh!). Over the years it's a fairly good bet that if the toilets are clean, fresh and stocked with sufficient sundries, the restaurant's performance will be up to scratch too. As a rule I hate "all you can eat" places though.

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    1. I didn't make it to the toilets. The food was good though

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  8. Our welcome was similar too. Even though I mentioned to the man as we went in that we had booked ahead for 'tastemakers' he just waved us to a seat. I had to show the PR email to the waitress who had to go to the manager to check.
    It was all ok after but if we're there to review we want a positive experience.
    I'm sure we'll get a better welcome next time.

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  9. there is one opening where i live, after reading this i have mixed thoughts about trying it out

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  10. Great review thank you - I much prefer to read some negative feedback too as it makes a review more believable! I often read reviews and don't think they sound too truthful because it is all just 'great, fab, wonderful!'

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  11. I have heard a lot about this chain. I will need to check out their vegetarian options before I go though !

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    1. They do some vegetarian meals, you do have a lot of choice of different cuisines so I think there would be some choice for you, perhaps more so than some restaurants. Check out their website.

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  12. I've never been to anything like this as I can't eat out because of my crohn's disease but I can see that the staff are probably a bit like robots in turn over restaurants.

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    1. The management are taking my comments on board so I am hoping when I return my experience will be different.

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  13. I would love to try eating here. I'm a vegetarian but I'm sure there's as good a selection as at other places - I must check.

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  14. We have a restaurant with a similar concept near us - with all different styles of food in one giant buffet. The food, in general is usually good with lots of variety and choice (although part of me does find it odd to have so many cuisines at the same time!) but the servers are always abrupt and offish - like they're doing you a favour by taking your plate away!

    I prefer an honest review too and hope that Red Hot World Buffet take on board your comments and work with their staff to sort it out.

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