Posted by: mikeydude | June 6, 2009

Cosmo Cardiff Bay Review (5/10)

Decided to try out this new buffet style chain on the 3nd day of its opening! I’ve never been a real fan of Buffets in the UK as I feel the standards are substandard on the whole. Nevertheless my wife loves them so I decided to bring her here on Friday 5th June 2009. Here are my thoughts.

After spending 20 mins to find a parking space we eventually got there. The place is on the first floor of one of the alley buildings on cardiff bay, so no panoramic views of the bay here I’m afraid. Nevertheless the place was bustling with almost as many waiters as customers, and I was fairly surprised to see so many chinese (and colleagues!). Decor was modern and clean.

To the food! Entirely self service. These chinese buffets are getting increasingly popular in Cardiff (I think there’s at least 3 in cardiff bay alone!). This one “stands out from the crowd” in the sense there is a sushi bar, tepanyaki (hot iron plate) counter, and grill section, where you watch your food being cooked (note Spice route also in Cardiff bay has this also.. but not quite as extravagant. There are also the other standard counters of singaporean, malaysian, and japanese foods, featuring the usual fare of sweet and sour, black bean, chilli, curry, aromatic duck etc. etc. I’ve always failed to grasp why those blasted duck wraps are soooooo popular in this country. They drive me mad. They’re shredded up pieces of overcooked duck to the point of cremation wrapped up in wraps with a bit of cucumber and hoisin sauce. How badly do these guys need to go to HK/China to sample the real thing!!

Sorry I digress. Anyway I was rather surprised to see a counter that served chinese roast pork (char siu) and roast duck (siu ap) laid out in slices. I mean again, these were dry and overcooked to all extremes, but still that’s a rare sight in these buffets. It was also nice to see a counter with different types of curries like beef red curry.

After the browsing we attacked! Starters I had a selection of sushi (pictured). Salmon and tuna sashimi were fresh enough, the sushi rolls were actually the nicest I’ve tasted in buffets around here. Pls don’t compare to the ones available in London!! The sushi man refused to give out anymore sushi until the display ones were completely gone (and his grasp of the English language was questionable).

Other counter food included specials like black bean fillets of salmon (quite tasty actually), chilli king prawns, and even some steamed dim sum (siu mai and red bean dumpling). Nothing extraordinary here.

The tepanyaki cum DJ (! He intermittently turns on the lights and music to work his magic!) was incredibly slow. Poor guy had a HUGE queue and he would cook some veg, mushrooms and seafood/meat on the tepanyaki hot grill. Options included scallops, “scottish” rib eye, prawns. I waited 30 mins for mine, but eventually it turned out quite nice. I had steak and scallops. By all means not out of this world, but this is pretty good stuff for a buffet! However he really needs to speed up, as people are not prepared to wait 30 mins for a small dish at a Buffet!!. Oh, the Mrs went for the hot chargrill skewers counter right next door. Not recommended. Food overcooked and service slow.

Desserts were a disappointment. They looked nice and plenty of selection, with options such as cream sponge jam rolls, profiteroles, ice-cream, mousse, and fruits such as lychee and red watermelon. Let’s just say the sweet desserts look a lot nicer than they taste. Profiteroles were nice, but you can’t really go wrong there.

Service was interesting. They take your plates away very quickly… sometimes a bit too quickly for my liking. Keep on coming over to ask if I’ve finished with my plate. I think the slower eaters amongst us will find it rather irritating. Luckily me and the wife are typically chinese: Eat before Speak (ha).

We ended up paying £30 for 2 including a Tiger Beer and Ginger Beer. Meal £12.99 per head. All in all I think this is the best buffet style chinese you’ll find in Cardiff. Nevertheless it hasn’t changed my thoughts of this kind of food. Plenty of quantity. Rather compromised on quality I’m afraid.

Contact Information:
Unit 16 & U7b
Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay
CF10 5BZ

T: 02920 461333

Opening Times:
Lunch: Monday to Saturday: 12:00 – 15:00
Dinner: Monday to Thursday: 17:30 – 22:30
Sunday (Bank Holiday): 12:00 – 22:30
Friday to Saturday: 17:30 – 23:00




  1. I’ve been a few times and although I was initially impressed with my first visit, I am becoming less enamoured on subsequent visits. The food I think overall is of a higher quality than you would expect from a typical Chinese buffet – comparing to the other ones available in Cardiff – but I completely agree on the Tepanyaki grill. It;s stupidly slow, and with a grill the size of a small dining table I fail to see why they can only cook one dish on there at a time. Also I agree the skewers are overcooked ( I had the lamb and if it;s good quality I don;t mind if it is a little rare rather than chewy). I think the last straw for me was when they charged £2.50 for a pint of squash, which is probably about 40mls of cordial and the remainder tap water. Due to the language barrier with the waiter (spoke little to no English) this wasn’t sorted, but I got the feeling that even if he had understood what I was saying, they would still have charged the same as a coke.

    Overall, I think it’s a very smart looking restaurant with a good concept, a varied menu that is generally of satisfactory quality, but they need to sort out the speed of service and be able to provide maybe on manager or similar that is able to communicate with customers in the event of a query. Don’t think the evening buffet is worth £13.00 either, unless they start to include soft drinks.

    • haha… most of these buffet places make their money mainly from the bar… especially new places like these which are likely to be in quite heavy debt at the moment. I must say… it’s doing quite well for a buffet… they have a few of them scattered throughout the UK … so they must be doing something right. Unfortunately although tastes in oriental cooking are improving in this country… standards are still awful compared to Asia and even the states! The seafood buffets in Singapore and M’sia are heavenly. My wife has told me of her trips to Raffles hotel in Singapore to have “all the oysters you can eat”…. I’m salivating at the thought of it. On the negative side their rates of Hepatitis A from shellfish are quite high over there… so you have to make sure you go to non-dodgy places.

  2. “They drive me mad. They’re shredded up pieces of overcooked duck to the point of cremation wrapped up in wraps with a bit of cucumber and hoisin sauce. How badly do these guys need to go to HK/China to sample the real thing!!”

    That’s stupid, it’s called “Crispy Duck” it’s purposely overcooked, and you don’t go to Cosmos to sample Chinese culture, to do that you go to China, you go to Cosmos for good food which it delivers in spades. Fair enough if you don’t like the duck but to say they need to go to Hong Kong to learn how to make good food is ridiculous.

    • Thanks for the comment, and more importantly, sorry if I’ve offended you. Let me explain. Firstly these are all my personal “purely subjective” opinions. Secondly the Peking Duck that I’ve loved so much is simply slices of succulent crispy skin with shredded moistened meat. It really is possible to create crispy duck without drying out the skin. Third I wasn’t asking the company to go to HK/China, but the diner to try out the one that I remember.

  3. Hmmmmm, im going there in a few weeks. 🙂

    • Haha hope u hav a nice meal! Make sure u hav the teppanyaki even though it’s very slow. The beef and scallop is good. I may hav given it a low score, but it still has some nice elements!

  4. I am going here tonight for my mums birthday with the family… will post a comment when I get home to tell you how it went & what we thought 😀 xx

    • looking forward to it….. 😉

  5. Hello again 🙂
    Well we all had a great time !!
    Its a stunning place, as you walk up the stairs there is this huggee diamond chandelier
    it was quite noisey in there, but you kinda get used to it like.
    I went straight up and had lots of sushi which was delicious and the presentation of everything is beautiful, lovely service too. I literally raiiiided the sushi counter lmao, loves it!! I then had a mixture of all the foods really had a little pick at each, ommmmg the oysters were stunning first time i tried them gorgeous! prawns, beef in black bean, the curries were stunning, all lovely food. much nicer than oriental gardens & cheaper too! and then oh my worddd you go up and see the desserts they looked like works of art, although all of them tasted VILE! LMAO! just so acidic and sweet, not nice at all. the chocolate cake & fountain were lush though! I always bakes though and makes desserts so its tough to compete with restuarant desserts etc 😉 haha yeah and it was my mums birthday like and i made her cake of corsee. and we snuck it away and they brought it over and played happy birthday on a cd the wholee resturant sang it was fab! yeah so it was a great night, lovely place service, people. 😀 ooh and nice and cool too! we were right by an air con so had short sweet solace breezes from it ahhh, refressshing 😉 LMAO! cosmos best thing invented wanna live there ❤ xxxxxxxxxxx add me on 😀 !!!!!

    • Hi therE um matt!

      Sorry for late reply. Been away! Anyway glad you enjoyed the food!! Hmmm I don’t remember any oysters so they must’ve improved since I went! Totally agree with u re the desserts! Pretty bad weren’t they? 🙂

      spice route at Atlantic wharf isn’t my face place but i can’t help but recommend their chicken tikka if u ever get a chance to go there…. Very flavoursome and tasty. Better still is shanghai nights in Bristol. But in terms of buffets that’s all I can think of. Keep me updated on your travels and thanks for contributing!!

  6. Have been a few times,and really enjoyed Iit.
    Recommended to workmates so we all decided to have a nightout . We booked for 16 people for the 9th oct. the only SLOT we could have is 8o’clock.
    Tried to book an extra space on 7th oct, and was told there was no booking made for us.
    After a while they said they could either put us all on a small table or change our time to 6 o’clock.
    strange that when we booked they only had 8o’clock.
    We’ve all got to change our travel arrangements now, so we are not a happy bunch.some can’t come at the changed time, so everything is ruined and we haven’t even been yet.
    So, some of us are still going, but i wont be recommending them again.
    Will let you know how it finally went.

    • Hi Shirley, thanks for the post regarding your experiences. Hmmmm… it doesn’t surprise me that these busy high turn-over eats can make a real hash of table bookings at times. Also don’t forget that oriental restaurants are infamous for bad service! I guess that’s why I have such high expectations for the food – just to make up for it! 😀

  7. Hi I think i see a pattern here I tried booking for 17/11/09 and was told it was full at 8.30pm but I could have a table at 6.30 or 9.30 surely they can’t have all 270 places full at 8.30 over 4 weeks in advance or is it that popular?

    • I haven’t actually been back to the place since the 1st week it opened Simon, but from all the feedback I’ve received it does seem to be a big hit… for now… especially during this time of work parties and stuff. So sorry, can’t be of any more assistance there. BUT not being able to book a table for 2 4 weeks in advance does sound suspicious…. no restaurant bar the Michelins are that busy I thought…

  8. i totally agree to those who appreciated the buffet. Those who criticised and could not even write proper english like “3nd” instead of “3rd” and making comparison between cosmo and raffles in singapore have no clue what they are writing here. Bloody ignorant people. Comparing raffles to cosmo! What the….! It is like comparing an ant to an elephant, there is no comparison to be made, stupid people!

  9. i went there last weekend and cant wait to go back there again, hopefully in a week or two, the best buffet restaurant ive been to, lots off choice.

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