We recently got the chance to go visit a local restaurant, it was to put it bluntly “Deceptively Delightful”. We will now leave it to our reviewers with their honest thoughts on the restaurant.
Deceptively Delightful. That’s the phrase that springs to mind when I reflect on our visit to Cosmo Luxe last night. In truth I wasn’t looking forward to it: I had walked past it the day before and glanced in – all you can see from the street is a small, but modern looking bar and a sign that screamed fast food joint, rather than fine dine establishment. This, coupled with its billing as a low-cost buffet provider didn’t exactly appeal to us – I’m a relatively discerning diner and the whole package was generating more of an appearance of school dinners, than haute cuisine.
But appearances can be very deceptive – and this one certainly was! When we entered we were greeted by a lovely young lady who escorted us down the stairs to the restaurant area. As you descend the stairs you are struck by the bright warmth of the decor and a wall sign at the foot of the stairs welcoming you to your ‘gastronomic journey’. At this point it almost feels like you’re about to embark on a theme park ride!
First Impression Surprises
We were then handed over to Antonio, a charming young manager from Lisbon, Portugal who led us into the main and glorious dining area. And what an amazing sight the dining area was! The first thing you are struck by is the huge rectangle which forms the buffet area. Whilst a traditional buffet might simply have four tables in a long rectangular shape, the layout here was sublimely spectacular.. The sides were a sleek silver-grey, the surfaces covered in all manner of high-quality gourmet dishes, all laid out on bespoke wooden trays and platforms. From a purely visual perspective, the blend of colours and the meticulous care taken with presentation could have easily graced a Royal Wedding. And we were soon to learn that there were indeed links to royalty, but more of that later. Interspersed with the food were various little strategically placed trinkets of intrigue, including brass pots, various artistically shaped oil decanters and quality wine bottles. Overhead was a rack of shelving with a range of other fascinating little ornaments, whilst various chefs milled around in the centre of the rectangle, quietly and genially performing their tasks. Behind the rectangle, along the back wall was an open kitchen area, with yet more chefs, performing yet more tasks.
Mark Sweeney – Head Chef
We were then introduced to head chef, Mark Sweeney, who told us he had recruited seven different chefs of varying nationalities, all of them experts in their specific fields. He was also undergoing a process of “cross-training” them, so each could benefit from the other’s expertise. Mark took us around the buffet, enthusiastically explaining where each dish was sourced and why he felt it was of sufficient quality to warrant a place in his restaurant. We were left with the firm impression that he had taken extreme care in the planning and selection of every dish, personally ensuring that only the highest standard of ingredients were used and that the dish was prepared by a genuine expert in that particular field.
We managed to get some more of his time to interview him about his work and his restaurant – That will be up next week.
Although only recently opened, every aspect of the restaurant has been carefully planned over the course of the past two years. Working with the owner, Mr Chan, Mark has designed the restaurant to the highest possible standard and recruited the best possible people to bring the dream to fruition. And this is where Mark’s thirty years of top quality experience most shines through: Mark was previously head chef at the famous, five-star Grosvenor Hotel in London; he has worked as a personal chef to a number of extremely well attached individuals (including some well known celebrities) and has even worked for the Queen at Buckingham Palace. As a person he effuses passion for food in general – and for the restaurant in particular – and this is highly evident in the mouth-watering feast he has managed to provide.
Whilst it would be impossible to sample everything in one visit, all the food we did sample was simply beautiful. I started off with a delicious bowl of butternut squash soup, then wolfed my way through a variety of different sushi, all delicately prepared with a range of sauces. I worked through salads and cold cuts; mussels and salmon; and a variety of different meats, vegetables, potatoes and expensive cheeses. I enjoyed a delicately cooked sirloin steak (gorgeous!) with Chinese style noodles and then sampled their mouth-watering range of curries. Served on plates that are intelligently divided into four squares to avoid the curries merging into one another, I tried a sample of four different curries: all four were absolutely delightful – authentically prepared and cooked to perfection. In terms of a favourite, I really couldn’t choose between them – all were perfect! I finished with two – ok, three – slices from their exquisite range of cakes and pastries. And believe me, there is so much more that I wanted to try and that I will get around to, when I return in the very near future!
Overall, this was an unexpectedly wonderful evening. As I said at the beginning of this review, my expectations were not particularly high at the outset, but Cosmo Luxe blew these expectations out of the park. This place deserves a reputation of providing top quality, fine dine food at the lowest of prices and really could become the number one choice for the discerning diners of Leeds. The place is quality personified, from the moment you first see the restaurant area, to when your jaw drops open at the vast range of immaculate dishes on offer, to when you sample said dishes and realise they are every bit as delicious as they look. The place is almost too cheap – it could easily justify doubling its prices with the superb quality it offers (and superb service to go with it) – and to call the food a ‘buffet’ is to seriously underplay it. It’s not so much a buffet, as a banquet. A banquet which has been lovingly thought through from top to bottom and is genuinely fit for royalty. To say I loved it is also an understatement – I absolutely adored it and cannot wait to return!
For More Information –
Website – https://www.cosmoluxe.co.uk/
Written by Jeremy Serlin. Edited by Carl Serlin.