You've got the whole world on your plate
Set price all-you-can-eat buffets have long suffered something of a bad press.
In similar way to Samuel Johnson’s patriotism being last refuge of a scoundrel, excessive expanses of sustenance are seen by some as sanctuary of the over indulgent.
A triumph of quantity over quality, unlimited fare attracts the greedy gluttonous gormandizer in us all, filling our faces with unlimited fare until we’re within wafer of Pythonesque Mr Creasote explosion.
But no, I cry, having grazed some - but, hasten to add, not all - 150 dishes available at one such South Yorkshire world kitchen, it doesn’t have to be that way. So come with me, if you will, on a global gastronomic tour from India to Indonesia via Italy ... without ever leaving Doncaster’s shopping centre.
Most traditional of eight live cooking stations is Cosmo’s toast to the roast. Turkey, lamb or beef, awash with lashings of gravy, fresh veg, fluffy Yorkshire puds and roast potatoes, crisp crowning glory to carvery fare, constituted satisfying comfort food to ward of cold snap.
Suitably small portions were order of the day again for continental cuisine, best of which was spaghetti and meatballs in rich savoury sauces, refreshing array of vegetable options and authentic pizzas, fresh from wood-fired ovens, whisking us back, albeit briefly, from Frenchgate to Naples.
House of spice did exactly what it said on the tin, boasting banquet of Asian herb-infused dishes, favourite of which were Kashmiri lamb and crispy pakora, accompanied by creamy chicken tikka masala, drizzled with yogurt and aromatic saag aloo, all served with chutneys selection to sate Eric Pickles.
World of Asia similarly sampled great eight tastes from Chinese regions Cantonese, Sichuan, Anhui, Shandong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Hunan, Zhejiang, best of the rest being Mongolian stir-fried lamb and, evergreen favourite, self-assembly crispy duck rolls with refreshing spring onion, cucumber and highly palatable plum sauce.
Then turning Japanese (I really think so), tempting teppanyaki and sushi section served salmon to scallops to sirloin steak. But it was juicy tiger prawns that won this sector its stripes as we watched talented chefs cook up seafood stir atop iron griddle to ensure flavours locked tighter than Brinks Mat bullion.
Deli beckoned next as a fine flavoursome tribute to 1700s Germany, before becoming Americanised, in succulent shape of slivers of charcuterie and fresh salads, summoning Mediterranean memories. Tour de force came courtesy of tasting kitchen boasting mini burgers and chilli con carne, bite-size portions of exotic moussaka or staple shepherd’s pie.
Too full for desert? Not on your Nellie “Peach” Melba! If you’ve correctly deployed “size does matter, small is beautiful” tactic, there’ll still room for scaled down cheesecake and tiramisu and enticing chocolate fountain, made for moistest of marshmallows.
There’s also nicest of ices gelato counter, where we mixed vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but was mercifully dissuaded from ordering a “Cosmo-politan”.
All the above can be washed down by classic cocktails, spirits, wines and ales aplenty as well as refillable soft drinks, freshly brewed tea, coffee and indulgent hot chocolate.
The DN1 1SW venue, contactable on 01302 328088 and [email protected], offers lift, disabled access, baby changing facilities and free Wi-Fi.
Our bill, featuring two pints of San Miguel, just topped 40 quid ... after I failed by a whisker to qualify for half price deal for kids under 150cm tall.
So, by exercising some measure of restraint and being selective, the most discerning of diner can pick and mix to optimise this fixed fee smorgasbord experience.
Now, a limitless bar, that’s a completely different kettle of Kingfisher!