Dining Out: Cosmo, Derby
- Credit: Archant
Freshly-prepared ‘world cuisine’ awaits visitors at this city-centre banquet dining restaurant
There’s no need to travel to exotic lands next time you want to try a taste of Japanese, Brazilian, Thai or Indian food, for at Cosmo Derby guests can experience 180 freshly-prepared dishes from around the world, all under one roof and for one price.
The 15,000 sq ft restaurant – set in the capacious surroundings of the iconic former Gaumont Palace Cinema on London Road – was opened in 2013 by the Cosmo Restaurant Group, with the aim of offering a ‘gastronomic journey through different countries and cultures’.
Its sleek and stylish surroundings, with a modern bar area to the front and a vast restaurant with glossy flooring and dark furniture to the rear, creates the atmosphere of a sophisticated, albeit bustling, venue; Cosmo can seat up to 300 customers at a time.
On the Saturday evening of our visit diners ranged from families with young children to couples and large groups (a private dining area is also available). Prices vary throughout the week and range from £7.99 per adult on weekday lunchtimes to £15.99 on Saturday evenings. Drinks are priced separately and the varied menu includes cocktails, wine and world beers plus soft drinks with unlimited refills.
Pan Asian cooking is the restaurant’s main focus but there’s also a Robata Grill, Teppanyaki bar and cooking stations where food is cooked in front of your eyes. Despite the sheer variety, the priority remains on quality and designated chefs prepare the dishes daily.
I visited with three friends and – after scouring the mouth-watering offerings – we all began at the deli section, sampling charcuterie meats, classic prawn cocktail, fresh salad, salmon tapas and mini vol-au-vents of goats’ cheese.
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The beauty of dining at Cosmo is that you can try new flavours without committing to a specific cuisine and its wealth of choice promises to satisfy even the largest appetite and the fussiest eater, so it’s ideal for groups. There’s also no need to wait for service, you simply pick up your plate and return to the buffet as many times as you like.
Having been tempted by the vibrant choice of curries in the Tandoori area, my friend Emily opted for amritsari fish, prawn curry and jalfrezi – instead of her usual chicken tikka masala – with sides of saag aloo, onion bhaji, crispy vegetable pakora and warm, butter naan bread.
An Italian foodie fan, Lindsay headed for the European section and dined on arrabbiata pasta, garlic bread and lasagne, which she declared to be ‘Italian restaurant standard in flavour’.
In contrast to the self-service sections, at the Teppanyaki bar dishes such as steak and scallops are cooked on request to your liking. I chose the salmon fillet with tasty ramen noodles – cooked in the traditional style on a searing hot grill – and topped with king prawns.
The ‘sticky and moreish’ Beijing ribs at the World of Asia bar tempted Olivia to go back for seconds, adding sesame prawn toast, satay chicken, spring rolls and duck pancakes – a first for her – topped with sweet plum sauce.
Each visit to the buffet bought a new dish to try – it’s difficult to limit yourself! – and we tucked into fragrant har gau dumplings and stir-fried mushrooms, sampled every variety of sushi roll and marvelled at the tenderness of the Japanese yakitori meats.
Incredibly, there were still areas that we missed such as the British carvery section with homemade Yorkshire puddings and the Tasting Kitchen which offers pies, burgers and moussaka.
Dessert resembled a carnival of colour: Eton mess, jelly cubes, mini macarons and tiny pots of crème brulée and chocolate fudge brownie, all topped off by the infamous chocolate fountain – the highlight for younger visitors.
We left feeling completely sated – but our palates enlightened. Next time you want to try something a little different or feast on foods from around the world, put this relaxed restaurant on your list.
Cosmo, London Road, Derby DE1 2PA, 01332 295300, www.cosmo-restaurants.co.uk/locations/derby