When my friend told me about Za Za Bazaar, the Waterfront’s round-the-world food buffet, I was sceptical. We all know what all-you-can-eat means: the food ain’t great, but there’s lots of it. I wanted to put this theory to the test, so I went.
And I ate.
It must have been about 30 degrees in there, but nevertheless I began with a small plate of vegetable pakora, mint yoghurt, and a little tandoori chicken. The different cuisines are grouped into islands – Indian, European, Tex Mex, Chinese, East Asian, Deli and Desserts. The overall effect is like being in a food market without having to pay for anything. And what’s more, the chefs on each island freshly prepare food like dosa, pasta, burritos and stir fry exactly how you like it, right in front of you. In short, it earns the caveat of fresh food.
It is by no means a place for dates, or colleagues. It is a place for sitting with friends and seeing how many mini cheesecakes you can eat. No, the lasagne isn’t as good as my Mum’s, but it’s way better than some restaurant lasagne I have had. This isn’t haute cuisine, it’s fun cuisine. And it is the perfect setting for trying things you would otherwise avoid because there is no risk – no loss of money, no big meal wasted. I discovered the wonders of tabbouleh on my second plate – a salad with feta, sundried tomatoes and chickpeas.
My other plates included vegetarian chilli with mango salsa and guacamole, and a small plate of mini desserts. Well, I wasn’t going to eat all that and not do it justice. For £9 each on weekday lunchtimes, Za Za Bazaar is certainly an experience.