An all you can eat buffet is my idea of a nightmare! Even before I was diagnosed with coeliac disease I was never a fan of them. I have always found the food to be generic, boring and generally of a low quality, not to mention the fact that the food is often sat around for ages and can get cold.
Visiting one of these restaurants when you are following a gluten free diet brings to light even more problems. It is not always clear exactly what is in each dish and the containers can easily be placed under the wrong label. Also the number of different dishes and spoons is just asking for a cross contamination catastrophe!!
That being said, I was recently taken to Red Hot World Buffet in Cardiff and had a very pleasant experience. Upon arrival I asked the staff if they would be able to tell me exactly what was in each dish and I was told that each dish was labelled. I went to the food area and had a look around and was delighted to see that every dish had a list of the different allergens that it contained. This made it very simple for me to tell exactly what I could and could not eat. Although there were quite a lot of dishes made up of breadcrumbs, bread or pasta there was a large variety of salads, vegetables and different meats in sauces that were gluten free. I had salad, vegetables, new potatoes and chicken to start which was very nice. For a main course I had korma, rice and stir fried vegetables which was slightly bland. We visited for lunch just after the restaurant had opened which meant all the food was very hot. Most puddings contained gluten however I made myself a plate of marshmallows, jelly and creme brûlée – yum! I also had lots of ice cream which was delicious.
Overall the experience I had at this restaurant was very good. Although the food was not of a fantastic quality, for the price you pay (£8.99 for lunch) I think it was good. The clearly labelled dishes made the meal very stress free and as we visited at the start of lunch, the restaurant was not very busy so there hadn’t been a chance for anyone to mix up the spoons!
I wouldn’t personally chose to eat at a place like this again but it is good to know that it is possible to have a safe meal here.