COSMO Oxford World Buffet Review: Spoilt for choice

With our recent article on Australia, I was reminded how wonderful the food courts are. It’s always amazed me how we have not introduced them into the UK, where friends can gather centrally to eat, with multi options available.

This simple system removes debate on who fancies what food for social eating. And COSMO in Oxford does exactly that, it’s a place you can go, knowing full well that the World Buffet will cater to all tastes and have something for everyone, even the fussy eater.

Social eating is also something we fail miserably at in the UK. In Europe and the rest of the world, food takes second sitting to catching up with friends, with meals taking hours as the conversation flows.

How does it work?

It works much like a buffet in a hotel abroad, with different stations set up. You simply pay your £19.99 per head, then are free to eat as much as you want. Drinks cost extra, but are very reasonable. A bottle of wine is £17.95 and bottles of beer are £3.95.

the tasting counter rotated

What food is available?

The specialities on offer include:

  • The World of Asia – Chinese food covering authentic dishes from the Cantonese, Sichuan, Anhui, Shandong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Hunan, and Zhejiang regions.
  • Teppanyaki – Japanese inspired cuisine cooked fresh by expert chefs, sushi , steak and much more
  • House of Spice – Indian and South East Asian curries and dishes
  • Continental – Italian wood fire pizza’s, spaghetti and more
  • Tasting Kitchen – Small plates of the world’s most popular dishes with Burgers and Chill Con Carne, etc.
  • Carvery Buffet – The Sunday Roast every day of the week
  • Deli – Charcuterie options
  • Desserts

Each section includes a wide range of vegetarian options.

the sushi counter
the sushi counter is clearly labelled

COSMO Restaurant Review

When I received an invitation to do a food review at Oxford restaurant COSMO – I took along someone who I knew would not mince their words, my teenage son.

Our booking was for a Friday evening, at 6pm, so as you can imagine the restaurant in Magdalen Street, Oxford, was pretty busy. We were seated promptly and as we waited for our drinks, his first plate was already being loaded up.

First stop, the Asian food – shredded pork pancakes, with noodles and “melt-in-the-mouth” beef in black bean sauce. It didn’t touch the sides!

Next up, the carvery station – roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and vegetables. That was quickly polished off, and his third plate was a mixture of Asian food – noodles, rice and more beef and chicken.

Still not full (I don’t think they ever are) he opted for fresh cooked Teppanyaki – chicken and prawns with a teriyaki sauce and side of noodles.

For me, this type of restaurant – all you can eat world buffet – is a chance to try things you may not usually order. So my first plate included coconut, vegetable and pork dumplings as well as muscles and king prawns.

Next up was Teppanyaki – I opted for chicken and scallops with teriyaki sauce, and topped up with rice and noodles, the beef in black bean sauce and sweet and sour chicken. We both tried a selection of puddings, which included cakes, cheesecakes, ice cream, chocolate mousse, fruit and much more.

Again there was plenty of choice – I just wish I’d left enough room to try them all.

sample of desert options
There were plenty of dessert options

Each meal cost £19.99 and drinks were extra.

The clientele was mixed, from young families, student groups and couples out for dinner – that Friday evening the staff expected to do about 400 covers. What’s great about Cosmo is that there really is something for everyone.

Although the restaurant was busy, it was easy to move around and top up our plates; the staff were attentive, replacing food swiftly and clearing tables, and the food was piping hot and tasted fresh.

My advice is pace yourself and leave room for desert because again there’s a wide range available.

I guess the big question is always, can a buffet deliver a high quality of food. Okay, I will admit this is not Michelin Star fine dining, but it doesn’t try to be? With 24 restaurants in the UK, and my son’s demolition of his plates, they are clearly doing a great job on affordable and tasty grub. We would go again at the next opportunity.

The city centre location makes it ideal for tourists who are looking for a bite to eat after seeing the sites, and for friends to meet after shopping or before the Theatre.

Oxford’s COSMO has a five star food hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency. This is a well run restaurant with efficient and courteous staff.

For more information view

Where is COSMO Oxford?

Address: 8 Magdalen Street, Oxford, OX1 3AD

Getting there:

The C1 bus stop is directly outside the restaurant which serves the Stagecoach 2 and 2A, and C4 is very close for the S3, S5 and S7.

The Oxford train station is just 0.6 miles away.