Cosmo is an established world buffet chain with 19 branches total (as of the moment this post is published), stretching all over the mainland Britain from Aberdeen to Southampton. There is also one in Belfast (shout out to my family and friends back home!) and another in Dublin also.
Let’s see what exactly Cosmo has to offer.*
Cosmo Manchester resides in Deansgate where the old Red Hot World Buffet used to be. Set up in 2003, Cosmo showcases popular food from all around the world with an open kitchen so you can see the food being prepared. Some of the food is available to grab on bowls and hot plates. These are prepared in small batches so, in theory, the food wouldn’t have sat out for too long before being scooped up by a hungry patron and then refilled again. You can also request some food at live cooking stations.
Next to each item, there is an allergen chart, so you can see what you can and cannot eat. This is something that is a bonus to Cosmo’s offering in the world buffet scene at Manchester. Having said this, I found it can be a bit tedious checking each item and think that perhaps a separate sheet of paper could be prepared for common requirements such as gluten-free or vegetarian and vegan options.
Cosmo has a bar so you can pretty much get most drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. There’s cocktails, shooters, beers (some draught), ciders, wines, soft drinks and also tea and coffee.
The day I visited I had a mocktail called the Passion Tropic. This contained peach, pineapple and a berry (I can’t remember which one). It’s also served with cream but I asked for this to be omitted as I didn’t want something too heavy.
The drink itself, as you can imagine, was insanely sweet due to the amount of fruit juices used. I quite like sweet drinks, so enjoyed this. In hindsight, I have wondered whether the addition of cream would have balanced the flavour a bit more.
This was one of two mocktails, the other being a virgin Pina Colada.
What type of food is there?
As a world buffet, there are different areas sections off to each type of cuisine. Towards the front on the left-hand side, you have Indian, then Chinese, Japanese and then Western cuisine is at the back. Dotted in between are the live cooking stations, including a teppanyaki hot plate, a fresh noodle station, wood-fired pizzas and a carvery. Cosmo prides itself on hiring trained chefs for each station so you are getting as close to an authentic meal as possible.
There is enough variety to cater to most people’s tastes. This can be a blessing if you are going out with a group where the people like different types of food. It’s also a good one if you wanted to be able to try out something you’ve not tried before. Not tried Indian food, well just grab a small portion of that. Don’t know what’s in those bamboo steamers? Just take one and see what it’s like.
I did feel that the variety was lacking in something more fresh tasting. Perhaps that’s not the point of buffets though. There was a salad section but this contained the bare minimum for what you could call a salad. How about a mixed bean or mixed grain bowl? Some marinated tofu or cooked chicken? A bit of salsa? Pesto? Chilli?
Cosmo has an impressive chocolate fountain which serves up milk chocolate and white chocolate from which you can dip marshmallows in. There is also a popcorn machine, a selection of cakes, ice cream tubs and do it yourself Mr Whippy style ice cream complete with sauces. I would have liked some sprinkles to go with my Mr Whippy and a flake or similar chocolate. There is also some fresh fruit and tinned fruit, which I suppose you could also put under the chocolate fountain if you so wish. (I’m not saying I did this).
Cosmo did mention that they are lacking a patisserie chef, so all the cakes are bought in. This isn’t inherently bad, but it would have been nice to have had some gluten-free or vegan options in the cake selection provided.
Overall rating and comments
7/10, -2 for a lack of actual menu online. I know that updating this may be an issue, but even just a vague idea of what could be in rotation beforehand would be useful to any customer. At least a few world buffets do this already. -0.5 for the lacklustre salad selection, personal issue. -0.5 for a lack of vegan desserts, not a huge issue but easily rectifiable. Cosmo is not the only world buffet offering in Manchester and I struggle to see what makes this one particularly unique against the others if I’m honest. Having said that, what it does, it does fairly well. The staff are helpful and friendly.
Would visit again?
Possibly a no for me. I can’t say I really like buffet food in general as I prefer eating more interesting food, or at least a more complete meal. I also don’t think I get my money’s worth as I’m really short. Cosmo actually offers half price for kids under 150cm and I’m 153cm so…
Address: 48 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2FE
Have you heard of Cosmo before? Do you like buffet food?
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*I was invited to Cosmo and did not have to pay for my meal. All opinions are my own.