Pan Asian restaurant chain Cosmo, which currently has 12 sites across the UK, is set to open its first outlet in the East Midlands next month with the conversion of a 15,000 sq.ft cinema in Derby into an all-you-can-eat buffet, serving 180 dishes from 14 different countries.
The former Gaumont Palace Cinema in London Road will become a 330-cover restaurant, with Cosmo spending over £1m redeveloping the building. The Derby branch is expected to open at the end of April, creating 50 jobs in the city.
“We chose to open a restaurant here in Derby because we believe the city is going places,” said Cosmo’s group operations director Kan Koo. “We liked the fact that the city is marketing itself to outsiders and is undergoing an investment programme to improve itself, which is why we have chosen to invest here ourselves.
“In particular we were drawn to the building and could see its potential at the outset. We believe that our investment in the building will return it to its former glory and hope that it will once again have a place in people’s hearts.”
The building started life in 1934 as the Gaumont Palace cinema, which eventually closed in 1988 after part of its ornate plasterwork ceiling collapsed. In 2000, the building was converted into the Zanzibar nightclub, which closed in 2010 and the building fell into disrepair. Cosmo then began its extensive refurbishment programme six months ago.
The ‘no-expense-spared refit’ includes soft seating, marble surfaces, natural stone counters and a rippling wooden ceiling.
Diners at Cosmo Derby will be able to browse 60 metres-worth of counters featuring grills, hot plates and chilled cabinets. A separate, 22-metre counter will be devoted solely to desserts and pastry – with many of the dishes prepared in front of the customers at 10 live cooking stations.
“From the fishing villages of Japan, to the vast expanses of the Chinese countryside, to the hustle and bustle of Delhi and everywhere in between – our chefs have searched the globe for the best recipes, cooking techniques and ingredients,” said Koo.
Among the specialities on offer will be a Brazilian barbecue, a Japanese teppanyaki and robata grill, twin tandoori ovens and two chocolate fountains. Cosmo Derby will also boast a large glass wine and beer cabinet showcasing drinks from all around the world.
One price for all
Koo added: “There will be something for everyone – including good quality English food for those who aren’t feeling adventurous. It's all about choice, quality, freshness and fun – we want our guests to enjoy their food.
“Absolutely everything is made on-site and we're now on the lookout for suitable local food suppliers. Our dishes will be of the highest standard, so the ingredients will have to reflect this.”
Diners pay one price for the eat-all-you-like buffet, £7.50 at lunchtime and £12.99 at night. Bottomless Soft drinks are priced at £2.40.
Cosmo came in at number 57 in Restaurant magazine’s R200 list, which ranks the 200 largest restaurant and food-led pub groups in the UK in terms of the number of sites. The Pan Asian chain’s 12 outlets are spread across all home countries including Aberdeen, Swansea and Belfast.