Restaurant review: Cosmo, Boar Lane, Leeds city centre

ECLECTIC FARE: Cosmo on Boar Lane offers 'Pan-Asian and World Banquet Dining'.

ECLECTIC FARE: Cosmo on Boar Lane offers 'Pan-Asian and World Banquet Dining'.

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It may not be the most widely-heralded arrival to the culinary scene in the new Trinity Leeds, but Cosmo certainly offers something different.

Specialising in ‘Pan-Asian and World Banquet Dining’, it opened in November on Boar Lane with performances from a Bollywood dance troupe and a steel drum band.

And the eclecticism, it seems, is not limited to its musical preferences.

Its website boasts food from “the vast expanses of the Chinese countryside to the fishing villages of Japan to the food markets of Delhi and everywhere in between”.

Perhaps more crucially for cash-strapped restaurant-goers still nursing their wallets through the post-Christmas hangover, it also offers you the chance to eat unlimited amounts of food for a handful of change.

It’s a brand that’s gaining some traction around the country, with 14 restaurants already open from Aberdeen to Croydon and a further five to come in the coming weeks.

Banquet dining rival Red Hot World Buffet is a mere ten minutes walk away in Leeds city centre, but its clear Cosmo is trying to position itself as a classier alternative.

Entering the lobby from Boar Lane, from where no trace of a chopstick can be seen, is an experience more akin to walking into a hotel.

We’re politely greeted at reception and sent downstairs, walking past a sign advising that only children below a certain height can qualify for a discounted rate.

The sight that greets us on walking into the restaurant itself is much like that of a food-themed Alton Towers.

On one side, a man picks jelly babies from a big bowl and loads them onto a plate already replete with mini chocolate eclairs.

As we walk further, there is a dizzying array of dishes in metal tureens and wooden steamers. Even the hungriest punter would need a week to try them all.

As directed by our friendly and attentive waitress after finding our table, we grab plates and wade into the fray.

I try chicken wings, Peking duck, pork dumplings and prawn toast, all as tasty as you would hope. And that’s just on the first plate.

By the time the third plate is cleared and I move onto dessert, my wandering taste buds have tried several mouthfuls of respectable sushi and a few morsels of meat from the Brazilian churrascaria.

There’s no space to try the enticing curries or the wares of the impressive Teppanyaki chef, though I’m less tempted by the pizza and pasta, and even the spirit of journalistic enquiry couldn’t tempt me to try the slightly sad-looking British roast meats.

The dessert station has an equally bewildering range, with cakes, jellies, fruit and a chocolate fountain.

All in all, it’s an enjoyable if not exactly gourmet experience, though perhaps not a subsitute for the personal touch of a meal freshly cooked for your plate alone.

But at only £7.99 a meal at non-peak times and £14.99 on weekend nights, with a two-for-one offer running until next month, it’s a good option for those with big appetites but smaller budgets.

Rating 3/5

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