COSMO: A bargain buffet?

reviews the marmite of new restaurants in York, COSMO

COSMO’s offer of lunch for two for £10 has been a regular sight on the back of bus tickets for months now. Marketed as a ‘Pan Asian and World Dining Experience’, COSMO offers an all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner time buffet service to its customers. But is it worth hanging on to these small scraps of paper, with the idea of going ‘someday’ – when everyone is free, has the money to go, or doesn’t have a deadline that week.

A central concept behind the brand is that there really is something for everyone, and even the fussiest of eaters should be a little excited with the prospect of this unique dining experience.
It is this widespread appeal that has seen them open 17 successful restaurants in the UK since its launch in Eastbourne in 2003. As a chain, many of the restaurants nationwide have live cooking stations, and each sitting offers over 150 freshly prepared dishes to choose from, in a stylish yet casual dining environment. All of this for the reasonable price of £7.99 for lunch or £13.99 for dinner – from Monday to Thursday only. Seems like a pretty good deal, right?
Many were quick to acknowledge the ingenuity behind the model of the restaurant, with cuisine from all corners of the earth. Yet the consensus seems mixed. As one second year diner, Rachel, explained:

the food’s not amazing, just standard, and unless you want to eat excessively, it doesn’t make a first choice of where to go for a meal out

The company does promote value for money as a fundamental aspect of the dining experience, so with that in mind, expect to get quantity over quality. Other diners felt the promise of an exceptionally diverse or varied meal at great value for money was somewhat of an overstatement, with one even summarising the night was just “a waste of money”.
On the other hand, Tom, a third year, noted that it was “a good way to try a lot of Asian dishes as you could pile a plate full of little bits of everything”. It would therefore seem that COSMO removes the pang of disappointment of a ‘wrong order’, with that moment of serious food envy when your neighbour has ordered something that looks better than your own menu choice.

While COSMO may not be the best meal of your life, for those with a large appetite and an indecisive belly, it has a place in the York dining scene. However, you could put those precious pennies of loan to better use – York has some great restaurants to offer if you’re heading for a well-deserved break from revision.

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