First look: the Cosmo Restaurant in York serves up a world of flavours

The team behind Cosmo Restaurant in York: general manager Ernest Lok and group development chef Kabelo Kholo Kholo. Photographs: Richard McDougall
27 Jun 2014 @ 5.37 pm
| Food & drink

York families: have you ever experienced this scenario when going for a meal out? “I want a curry.” “But I want a Chinese!” “What about a pizza?”

If so, the Cosmo Restaurant might be just what you’re looking for.

Opening on Saturday, June 28, Cosmo on Bridge Street dishes up a world of food under one roof.

“We are a buffet-style restaurant serving international cuisine,” Cosmo York general manager Ernest Lok told YorkMix.

“We welcome families. We aim to have something for everyone.

“Some in the family might like Chinese food, others Italian, someone else Japanese – here you can get everything.”

The restaurant, created from the old Argos store via a £1 million investment, has 250 covers and a 53 metre buffet.

It is the 15th Cosmo in Britain and the first of a new more modern design. The idea is a simple one: all you can eat for one set price.

Plenty of room inside
Plenty of room inside
A rainbow array of ingredients
A rainbow array of ingredients
The new open view kitchen
The new open view kitchen

The food

A team of 30 chefs – part of the 70-strong workforce employed by the venue – is split into different stations according to the food they are preparing.

They are overseen by Kabelo Kholo Kholo, the Cosmo group development chef, who trained under Raymond Blanc at his legendary La Maison Blanc restaurant.

Opening times and prices

Monday to Friday noon-3pm   £8.49
Saturday noon-4pm   £10.99

Monday to Thursday 5pm-10.30pm   £13.99
Friday 5pm-11pm   £14.99
Saturday 5pm-11pm   £15.99

Sundays/ Bank holidays
All day 11.30am-9.30pm   £14.99

He is in York for three weeks overseeing the launch before returning to London.

“The York clientele is a lot different to those in Romford or London,” he said.

“There’s a quality about York that you feel when you drive into the city.

“This is a market town, it’s a tourist town. I believe people here know their food.

“We have to show them respect by offering good quality food.”

He bought the same £4,000 pasta making machine as used by Jamie Oliver so the chefs can make their own penne, tagliatelle and spaghetti. Pizzas are also on the menu.

One of the innovations at the York restaurant is a tasting kitchen, where you can try smaller versions of familiar dishes such as fish and chips or cottage pie.

The grill will serve sirloin steak and minted lamb chops. Sundays will see a choice of roasts.

There’s a Tandoori oven for authentic Indian food, and a Teppanyaki griddle for Japanese dishes.

The deli section will serve hummus, sliced meats, coleslaw and mixed bean salad.

A gingerbread Clifford's Tower awaits the opening
A gingerbread Clifford’s Tower awaits the opening
Some of the serving stations
Some of the serving stations
Ready to roll… Cosmo on Bridge Street
Ready to roll… Cosmo on Bridge Street

The opening

As befits a self-styled international buffet, Cosmo Restaurant is marking its York opening with a mix of cultural activities on Saturday (June 28).

A tuk tuk, or Indian motor rickshaw, will be driving around the city and taking diners to and from the restaurant.

Stilt-walkers and a Brazilian samba band will perform, while staff in authentic Chinese outfits will hand balloons to passers by.

The Lord Mayor Cllr Ian Gillies will cut the ribbon to officially open the restaurant at noon.