Restaurant Review #10–Red Hot World Buffet and Bar, Northampton

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Address: Sixfields Leisure Park Weedon Road, Northampton

Phone: 01604 756208

Website: www.redhot-worldbuffet.com

Review

Sometimes when visiting restaurants you have an epiphany. It could be the food, the decor or the service that generates the epiphany. The epiphany might be one of overwhelming glee or utter disappointment. Or it might be one where you realise for the first time how something is not right.

My epiphany came on a Bank Holiday Monday when, out exploring Northamptonshire, a need to eat arose and the options presented to us were limited.

Often when you go to out of town retail and leisure parks you are presented with the usual selection of fast food chains (KFC, Burger King and the like) or multinational chains such as Frankie and Benny’s or TGI Friday’s and very little in the way of independent chains. This, I realise, is due to the exorbitant rents and costs for small businesses to actually obtain one of these units.

So when I saw Red Hot World Buffet and Bar I was excited in that I hadn’t actually seen one of these places before. Of course, I have been to buffet restaurants before such as Cosmo in Coventry, Wing Wah and Jimmy Spices, but I’d not heard of Red Hot World Buffet and Bar. So it seemed like a good choice.

The posters outside promised “Over 140 dishes” “Live food demos” and “All you can eat” which seemed like a fair deal. What it neglected  to mention was the price. I guess that should have been my first warning.

We were seated swiftly and the place seemed popular with a large group of about 12 plus arriving mid meal and a variety of different aged diners already present.

What I can only assume is that these diners were just starting out on their own culinary adventures and were only there as a taster. Because as the time there went on, things just didn’t seem right.

First off, as with most “All you can eats” the food available was minimal. 140 dishes? I think they meant their stock of crockery as there certainly wasn’t 140 dishes available that day. More like about 30. Now, sure, it was lunch time but even so, the selection available was bleak and uninspiring.

Secondly, the dishes that were available mostly comprised of sauce. Now I expect sauce heavy dishes when I go to low brow Indian restaurants, I also expect more sauce than content when I have takeaway. But Red Hot World Buffet and Bar (RHWBB) seemed to be too top heavy in Sauce.

One of the dishes had a meat:veg ratio of about 1 in 50 with the rest of it being just sauce. The “WORLD” bit was not evident. There was Chinese (not very nice), Indian (very mild and saucy) Mexican (grim looking chilli) and Italian (by way of limp looking pizza), and not much else. That’s fair enough but the world is so much more diverse than China, India, Mexico and Italy.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not expecting something like the Carriage Works or a 5 star restaurant standard of food. I am just expecting something edible and not swimming in sauce. Is that too much to ask?

I went up three times. Once for starters (3 varieties of chicken wings and some stale prawn crackers). Second for mains (A spoonful of bland Chicken Tikka, a dollop of Sweet and sour chicken and some rice to soak up the sauce). The final time was for dessert (a solitary scoop of rationed mango ice cream).

At Cosmo in Coventry, it is typical that we would return to the selection numerous times. Indeed, their self-service ice cream and dessert selection is much wider than RHWBB. Moreover, Cosmo’s selection of starters makes you wish you could eat more because by the time you’ve worked your way through ribs, wings and other nibbles you’re already starting to feel like you can’t face another prawn cracker. Not so in RHWBB.

Bleak. Dull. Uninteresting.

When assessing the quality of the meal with my fellow diner we realised that the staff actually outnumbered the diners. Now that might make you think that they were attentive and would bend over backwards to make the meal enjoyable. Well, you try attracting the attention of gossiping waiting staff.

Then we realised, we hadn’t actually seen the price for the “All we could Eat (much more than was available) ” meal. Nothing on the tables, nothing on the menus, nothing on the posters. I said that if it came to more than £12 a head we’d been had. It came to about £9 per head. Which wasn’t so bad.

Conclusion

On reflection I probably wouldn’t have written this review. I had every intention of making The Mucky Badger a site that praised excellent restaurants. I usually leave my dissatisfaction at the table but as a user of Foursquare (stegzy) , I was asked to provide a  comment on my experience. So I commented that prospective diners should opt for Cosmo in Coventry rather than Red Hot World Buffet and Bar instead. That would have been the end of it.

But I then get an amusing tweet from RHWBB:

 

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I’m not sure what that is supposed to mean. Are they swearing at me? Calling me something they wouldn’t call their own mother? Or maybe it’s a typo of a smiley face.  I’m not sure. So I thought I’d write this review to show how disappointed I was with my experience.

But don’t take my word for it. Try it out yourself. It may have been that I had a particularly bad day there. Or it may have been that my expectations were too high. I know that next time I am hungry in Sixfields, I’ll be going to Buddies instead.

To be fair, other people around me seemed to be enjoying the mediocre selection of food and I’m sure that had they too been to Cosmo they might have also been saying something similar to me.

Total Score: 40%

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