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Red Hot World Buffet and Bar (Leeds)

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3 Reviews

Cuisines: International / Address: 44-48 The Headrow, The Light, The Headrow, Leeds LS1 8TL

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    3 Reviews
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      09.02.2012 10:40
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      A bit of something to suit everyone's tastes

      Red Hot World Buffet is a growing chain of all-you-can-eat style buffet restaurants boasting dishes from all over the world. There are currently branches in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Nottingham and Cardiff. here is their website address: http://www.redhot-worldbuffet.com/ I have been to Red Hot several times. When I first discovered it I was overjoyed and felt I had to spread the love and introduce all my family and friends to it. However, the more I go the more the novelty wears off unfortunately. <b>The building:</b> Address: The Light, 44-48 The Headrow, Leeds LS1 8TL Tel: 0113 2440400. The restaurant is situated in a very central location in Leeds as part of The Light complex, so if like me you don't live in Leeds its easy to walk to from the train station (about 10 mins for me with little legs!) Opening times are as follows: Mon - Thurs 12:00 - 16:00 for lunch and 16:00 - 22:30 for dinner Fri & Sat - 12:00 - 16:00 lunch and 16:00 - 23:00 dinner Sun - 12:00 - 16:00 and 16:00 - 22:30 It costs £8.49 per person for lunch during the week and £9.99 for lunch at weekends. It is more expensive for dinner because they have more food available - £12.99 Sunday through to Thursday and £14.99 Fridays and Saturdays. When you first walk in you find yourself in a bar which is modern looking, with deep coloured walls and benches all around. Walking past the reception however you find yourself walking down some stairs and through a mock aeroplane complete with aircraft windows! When you reach the dining area it is absolutely huge! It has been divided into different sections, each with decor from a different part of the world. If a little tacky, I do actually quite like it!! The room where you get your food is organised so that you can walk around either from left to right or from right to left and go past everything on offer. There are plates stacked up at the entrance for you to take. <b>The Food</b> You will be able to look on the website for an exact list of the foods on their menu but I will tell you what I have seen. When you first walk in if you turn to the left you go past a whole host of starter type dishes including various salads, canapes, breads and olives. Then you get to a selection of Indian dishes with all different curries and side dishes. After that there is a pizzeria with 3 or 4 different freshly baked pizzas, followed by a live pasta station where you can ask for a chef to cook you a pasta dish and you can choose from a range of pastas and a range of sauces, which you get in a little portion, so don't worry that it will fill you up and prevent you from trying all the other wonderful things on offer! Next there is a Tex-Mex style section with chicken wings, burgers and corn on the cob being cooked and constantly replenished. Around the edge of the counter there are all sorts of dips and sauces too. A bit further on are the Teppanyaki and Chinese stir fry live cooking stations, and then the last stretch of the circle is dedicated to Chinese dishes. Now that is not all!! In the middle of all this is a potato counter doing all kinds of potato's and fillings for Jacket potatoes and there is also an ice cream station and a huge display of miniature desserts. Somewhere in among all that they have also got huge containers with shepherds pie and broccoli and cheese for those that prefer 'English food'! I am a bit of a food snob to be honest, and before I went I had low expectations because I have been to so many all you can eat buffets where the quality of the food has been lacking. However I was very pleasantly surprised. Everything is so fresh and the flavours are awesome. If they run out of something you don't have to wait long before it gets replenished. I was also impressed with their idea of putting some things in small portions so that you can try lots of different things. If you like something a lot you just get more than one! The one criticism I have is that the food there does make me quite bloated but maybe that's because I end up eating more than usual when I am there!! <b>The atmosphere</b> Red Hot gets VERY busy. I think this is what has started to put me off going in a way because it sometimes feels like you are being pushed and shoved from the moment you walk in. Despite booking a table once I was told I had to queue up in this massive line up of people who had walked in way after me. Then another time I found out I could by-pass the queue because I had booked!! I think they seriously need to improve their entry system. Also when you are eating you feel like you need to hurry in order to free up the table. They do tell you when you sit down what time you can have the table until, and in my experience it is usually 2 hours. However the whole atmosphere tends to make you feel rushed. Plus when you are walking around the food area you are constantly aware that someone wants to get to the food you are at so it can be quite off-putting. At times there have been big queues for certain things that I have given up waiting. The other point I have to make is that if you have been shopping in Leeds and you have bags with you, you tend to have to leave someone to guard the table while you go up for your food! This means that within a group everyone is eating at different times and you can't really enjoy each others company. Maybe they should get some lockers!! <b>The Staff</b> The bar staff can be hit and miss. I have had a bad experience where I was ignored for ages and another where the barman didn't know how to make a Margarita on the rocks and made me feel like a fool! However that situation was resolved and I did receive an apology and a decent drink in the end! The reception staff need to be more clear about the rules on entering as it can get quite hectic with people pushing all over the place to enter the restaurant. The restaurant staff are brilliant. They are prompt with drinks requests and there are lots of them about. They are also very polite. I once took my mother in-law and she kept leaving loads on her plate and going up for more and I thought we might get told off but they simply took the plate away and didn't make us feel bad at all. Anyway that is quite enough of that. Thanks for reading and I would definitely recommend going even if just once!

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    • More +
      26.09.2011 14:44
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      A lovely place to visit if you like to try new food.

      When Red Hot Buffet opened in Leeds, I was extremely excited. As someone who loves food and never fails to be spoilt for choice when sat at a restaurant staring at the menu, a place where you can go and not only eat as much as you like, but also taste almost every type of food there is, was always going to be good news for me (although perhaps not for my waistline!). ~*Where is it?*~ Red Hot is a small chain of restaurants situated up and down the country, with restaurants in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Nottingham. The fact that there isn't one in every nook and cranny of every town, for example like Nando's or Pizza Express, makes it all the more special, in my opinion, although it does mean that those of you who don't live near one are missing out! ~*Red Hot in Leeds*~ The Red Hot World Buffet in Leeds is inside The Light - a small shopping and cinema centre in the heart of Leeds. The Light is a glass building with a modern, classy feel to it. It houses a Vue cinema, a gym, a hotel, a selection of shops including Joy, The Body Shop and independent clothing retailers, and some other restaurants and coffee shops, such as Nando's, Starbucks, Brio's and Bagel Nash. However, Red Hot is not amongst the other restaurants on the ground floor; it is placed by the main entrance which enables it to stand out even further. The Light is not in the directly in the hustle and bustle of the main shopping streets, such as Briggate, however it is still very much in the town centre; only a short walk away from the train station and with many bus stations outside it. If you are unfamiliar with the location, it will not take you long to find someone who can direct you there with no worries. ~*My First Visit*~ I first visited Red Hot within its first month of opening, with two friends. We rang and booked a table for 8 o'clock on a Friday night with no hassle. Upon arriving, we entered and I was immediately impressed. On the first floor you are met by a waiter who directs you down the stairs to your seats. A bar is situated separately from the main restaurant, making it ideal if you would just like to go somewhere a bit different for drinks. The layout of Red Hot is very imaginative - all red and black and low lights, and it is all set out like an airport when you are walking down into the main restaurant - with an arrivals board and baggage desk, and as you enter the main restaurant it is as though you are getting onto the plain. These little touches really add to the experience of it all. Luckily, my friends and I were seated very near the buffet hall, on comfy chairs and a nice, clean table. We were dressed fairly nicely; a pretty top and a skirt, and we didn't feel out of place; some people were dressed up to the nines (hmm, high heels and a plate piled full of food - I wouldn't risk it!) and some were just in their general day to day clothes. Nobody looked or seemed to feel out of place. There also wasn't one specific genre of people there - excited children with their parents marvelled at these new alien foods; couples enjoyed a romantic dinner, laughing and joking; a large group celebrated a birthday by singing loudly and dancing at the table...the atmosphere was bustling yet relaxed. We ordered our drinks and then went towards the buffet hall. It looked amazing; food was everywhere and the "stations" all looked equally appetising. I was literally spoilt for choice. I got myself a plate and walked over to the selection of appetisers and heaped them onto my plate. The variety was amazing (a full menu is available online if you're interested), and I particularly loved the mussels and prawns, they tasted lovely. As soon as I sat down we began to eat, and we did notice waiters swarming us, ready to take our plates as soon as we were finished. I then made my way around the stations, eating as much as I possibly could. The food was hot and tasty, easy to access and I noticed waiters taking away food and then filling the dishes and shelves back up again to ensure the food hadn't been left too long. Obviously the food wasn't to the highest of standards, but it was so much better than I expected. The only station I really avoided was the typical English one, with shepherd's pie, boiled potatoes and the like, simply because I fancied food that was a bit more "out there". The curry that I had; lamb Rogan Josh, was lovely, the Chinese starters were all amazing, and considering I am not a huge fan of sushi, that was quite nice too. I had a Chinese dish custom made for me at the Teppenyaki bar, which I enjoyed, and the Indian and Lousiana stations all had lovely food - both made in front of me and already laid out. The only station I wasn't crazy about was the Italian - the pizza didn't taste very special and to be honest I preferred the ones that I buy from the fridge in Sainsbury's! My friend had a pasta dish made for her though, and enjoyed it. The variety of food really stimulated conversations between my friends and I, as we enjoyed trying each other's dishes and giving our opinions. The desserts were great too - tiny little meringues, mousses - the white chocolate and ginger one was very tasty - brownies, cheesecakes and more, all in bite size portions. The ice cream bar was very tasty too, and fruit and sweets were available. The staff were polite and friendly, and all in all we had a fantastic evening. Although we had visited restaurants with a higher quality of food, we agreed that this was one that we'd definitely visit again, as it is something very different and made for an enjoyable night. The meal cost £14.99 plus drinks, which was good value due to the amount we ate! ~*My Second Visit*~ I revisited Red Hot on a Saturday lunch time with my family. Bearing in mind they are not the most adventurous family in the world when it comes to food, it was always going to be a risky step! The price for food was great on a lunch time - £8.99 per person and half that for my youngest sister. My family were really impressed with the décor and although we hadn't booked, there was no wait, although it was very busy once we were inside! We were seated further away from the buffet and the tables were extremely close together - it was almost as if we were dining with the two other families we were next to. This wasn't a major issue for us, although it made it much more difficult for us all to have our separate conversations. As we did not want to make this an expensive meal out, we asked for a jug of tap water and four glasses. The waiter seemed less than impressed and did a very bad job of masking it. He then only brought over three glasses and no ice in our jug; apparently you have to specify if you want ice. I asked another waiter, as ours seemed to have gone AWOL, if he could bring another glass and some iced water. He seemed happy enough to do so, but when we returned from the buffet hall he still hadn't obliged, and he never did, as it turns out. The atmosphere seemed somewhat flatter than when I had previously visited. I know there is obviously going to be a different atmosphere when you dine at a lunch time, but I just got the impression that the majority of the staff couldn't be bothered and there was a severe lack of "service with a smile". When I approached a station where the staff keep the cutlery and napkins, a waiter who had been staring at our table in a rather rude manner for the duration of our meal, handed me them with a sigh and walked away. I then had to return there for a second time near the end of our meal, as although plates had been taken away, they had only returned with one clean knife and fork and left the three sets of used ones, that clearly had food smeared on them, the same man muttered something about there already being cutlery laid out. I patiently explained that they had been used, and he again reluctantly handed them over before walking away. I'm not quite sure of his position in the business, as he was wearing a suit unlike the other waiters, but if he is of some managerial standard I must say I do not know how he got there! Unfortunately there was no seafood available this time, and my mum commented that the shepherd's pie tasted like "baby food". Some of the food looked a little congealed, almost like the typical school dinner, and there just seemed to be a drop in the quality of it all since my last visit. Although we still had a nice time and my sisters enjoyed it, I don't think my mum was fully sold and the bad service didn't help matters. I assume that this experience was a one off, and I doubt that if I went again I would be as disappointed; however I think I will stick to visiting on an evening. ~*Overall*~ I would definitely recommend Red Hot, and my first experience was so good that I am only knocking off one star for the disappointment of my lunchtime meal, however if I were ever to go again and experience anything like that I would definitely be put off. It just goes to show how the right attitudes from staff really can make a difference to a nice meal out. I would recommend visiting on an evening, as although it is more expensive, it is worth it. It is the perfect place to meet with friends for a fun night out, nothing too serious, and it's also great for families too, as I'm sure the children, like my sister, will enjoy trying the new food, and the parents will enjoy not having to worry about wasting money if they don't like it!

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        16.09.2011 10:07
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        An interesting dining experience

        Buffet.... Not my usual favourite sort of cuisine as I quite like being waited on and having my meal brought to me. I also end up over piling my plate and having to be rolled out of the door! As everyone in Leeds seemed to be going wild for the Red Hot buffet; my boyfriend and I decided to give it a go. Donning our slouch jeans with plenty of give; we headed into the city. *Atmosphere* The restaurant plays on the theme that there are food from all over the world, to carry on this travelling theme, the restaurant entrance is done out like an airport check in. Despising airport lounges I thought this was a rather odd way to go, but they way they have done it is pretty cool. As you go through the check in, you go through a lounge that has airport chairs and then finally you end up in the inside of a plane. Once you have been on the "plane" you then end up in the dining room. This took my breath away as it is lavishly decorated and done out to a very high standard. There are chefs manning various stations, these are immaculately turned out and dressed in whiter than white chef outfits. The food is presented in a fabulous way and there are ice sculptures and decorative stands around the food. It looks like the Harrods food hall; you could wonder around just looking at everything, it is presented so well. There are different cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Italian, Thai, Cajun, Japanese, Mexican and more... Red hot Buffet call it... "A food lover's fantasy." The restaurant is always busy and there were various hubs of activity around the most popular meat stands. *food* The quality of the food is never going to be spectacular when the chefs have to prepare over 300 different dishes, but the choice was amazing and it was hot and tasty. The whole buffet is supposed to wow you with how it is presented rather than it tasting like it has a Michelin star. It is novelty having a chef create you something in front of you and how often do you get to have a meal of sushi, pizza, steak and pasta, all on one plate? The deserts were my favourite though and they had an ice cream stand that would make Willy Wonka jealous! Various tubs of sprinkles, chocolate bits, sweets to add to your glutinous mountain of ice cream. *Service* The over attentive staff were pleasant but seemed to be geared to get you out of the restaurant. As soon as my knife touched the plate, someone whipped my plate away quicker than Paul Daniels could. The staff seemed to rove the dinner hall like zombies, all them had eyes fixed on your dinner table, desperate to clear your plate. I'm not knocking this very efficient service; it was just amusing to watch. *Price* For the evening buffet the price is £12.99. The share of a bottle of wine meant that the total bill came to £20 a head. *Overall* After having a few laps of the room and enjoying seeing all the food, "ooohing" and "ahhing," when it came down to trying the food, it was not that great. It was tasty and I enjoyed it but it was not that fantastic. You cannot expect something that is cooked and then kept warm under a few bulbs to taste amazing. I also was a bit disgusted when I saw some men grabbing the chips with their fingers and eating them and then having a bit of a cough near the food. It did not put me off and I'm not a snob as my boyfriend kept calling me, but I do not like to see this sort of behaviour. Nevertheless, I'm glad I went to the restaurant so that now I know what everyone is talking about! I would go back the restaurant again though, for a cheap meal it is not badly priced and there really is so much choice. I'd definitely recommend it if you have not been. The restaurant is great for children too as there are so much choice they can start to try new things and the staffs are very children friendly. A nice experience but a very greedy one!

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