Gosh, I wasn’t expecting this! – me
Ahead of a conference recently, I headed with some blogging friends to Red Hot World Buffet in Manchester City Centre.
Having never been to a RHWB before (apart from out of hours for a cake decorating workshop), I wasn’t really sure what to expect and, to be honest, it was a bit of a shock.
If you’re a RHWB virgin, just picture something akin to an airport lounge, except the lights have been turned down and every corner and stand has been stuffed with food and packed with busy, hungry people. You pay your £14.99 and enter the fray. I can’t lie, I found it quite stressful.
The food is divided around the room into different styles – Italian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian – and you basically just grab a plate and help yourself.
Some people were mixing pizza, curry and sushi on one plate but that was just too crazy for a newbie like me, so I loaded mine with some safe favourites – Thai Green Vegetable Curry, Plain Rice, Chilli Noodles, Vegetable Spring Rolls – and made my way back to my seat, where my dinner companions giggled kindly at how flustered I looked.
Now, while the atmosphere was a little fraught crucially, the food was good – actually much better than standard takeaway fodder and not all that far off the quality of your average Thai restauraunt (though not a patch on the really good ones). The curry was creamy, packed with crunchy veg and plenty of chilli. The chilli noodles were very hot – hot enough to need water between mouthfuls – but that’s how I like them. The spring rolls were fine. A little bland and doughy inside, but that’s pretty common for a takeaway-type roll.
Stuffed full, I couldn’t manage another visit to the savoury buffet, but it’s worth noting that at RHWB you can eat as much as you like within your two hour window, so if you’re determined to get your money’s worth, I’d recommend going with an empty stomach.
I did, however, manage to go down for dessert. I know, I know, the things I do for you, readers. Again, for the RHWB virgins, I should explain that the dessert area takes up a whole corner of the food court and has a multitude of desserts, from cakes, to ice creams to a chocolate fountain. It’s a bit like being in a dimly lit version of Willy Wonka’s factory and since the crowds had died down substantially, I felt a bit braver and got out my camera.
I grabbed a fresh side plate and selected three modestly sized desserts – a strawberry cream, a crème brûlée and a set mango yoghurt.
The strawberry cream was perfectly edible, although really nothing more than thick set Angel Delight, while the mango yoghurt was basic too but creamy and indulgent – think posh Petit Filou and you’re there. The crème brûlée, however, was really awful. A thin layer of sugar concealed a beige pot of sugared omlette.
Overall, I’d say that RHWB is a perfectly fine way to spend an evening eating reasonably good, affordable food with friends – particularly if you’re all very hungry and all fancy a different style of cuisine – but it wouldn’t be my choice for a relaxing meal or indeed a romantic dinner.
Red Hot World Buffet Manchester
- Address: 48 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2EG
- Tel: 0161 819 1240
- Web: http://www.redhot-worldbuffet.com/restaurants/manchester/
- Mon – Thurs: Lunch 12:00-4:00pm, Dinner 4:00-10:00pm
- Friday: Lunch 12:00-4:00pm, Dinner 4:00-11:00pm
- Saturday: Lunch 12:00-4:00pm, Dinner 4:00-11:00pm
- Sunday: Lunch 12:00-4:00pm, Dinner 4:00-10:00pm
- Mon – Thurs: Lunch £8.49, Dinner £13.99
- Friday: Lunch £8.49, Dinner £14.99
- Saturday: Lunch £9.99, Dinner £14.99
- Sunday: Lunch £10.99, Dinner £13.99
- Kids ten and under always dine for half price; drinks are not included