Reading – Cosmo AYCE

Well, since I was in Reading I thought that I would go to Cosmo. I accept that I live near to a Cosmo and haven’t bothered going to that one in years, but when in Rome and all that…. I arrived shortly after opening and there was a welcoming staff member and I was seated immediately.

There’s a time limit, like a food version of Supermarket Sweep, but it’s one hour and 45 minutes, which is enough time, particularly for solo diners who don’t have to bother chatting and can focus on eating. I did though merrily read a book on my phone, which took me some time to clean chicken grease off from at the end of the meal. Nice…..

There was a queue to get in when I left, but these seats were left empty for reasons I’m unsure of as they were still empty when I walked by an hour later. Anyway, it was otherwise busy throughout my time in the restaurant other than for the first few ten minutes or so, which is fortunately how I’ve got so many photos with no-one in them. Advance reservations are really necessary here unless you get here early on just after opening.

The soft drinks are self-service and unlimited, although are a little expensive. I watched the table next to me share three soft drinks between four of them whilst trying to hide their little set-up from the staff (they had got a fourth cup by asking a staff member for tap water) and that added extra amusement to my meal. They didn’t have any decadent craft beer, so I had quite a lot of sugar-free (there’s no sugar option here with the self-service drinks) Vimto (I know how to live).

That’s some of the food options, all neatly presented.

Yes, I did laboriously take photos of each plate, and here’s a little selection for entirely unnecessary reasons other than it reminds me what I can comment positively on and what I can mutter and moan about. Cosmo is very good at fried things, as they keep hot and don’t really deteriorate if let to sit for a while. The prawns were a bit odd and the rosemary gravy on the roast was insipid, not that the freshly cut turkey was actually much better and I’m not sure how they made that taste so bland. I’m also conscious that duck wraps shouldn’t have pickled gherkins and pickled onions in them, but I saw them and decided that I missed them as they’re so commonplace in Poland. As for the duck, it was a little too fatty and tasteless for my liking (and didn’t actually even taste of duck), with the honey coated chicken also being quite bland. Some things were more tepid than hot, but fortunately the chicken satay remained perfect throughout and that remained my favourite, with the chicken wings being a close second. The runner beans were also really rather decadent (well, as decadent as a vegetable can be when piled up in an all you can eat restaurant) and I noted that they kept going quickly.

Oh, I have two particular children in mind when writing this, who I know tried an all you can eat recently, and I can safely say that there are chicken nuggets and chicken popcorn, as well as numerous other forms of chicken cooked in similar and innovative ways.

Anyway, I tried too many different things and I’m pleased that I don’t have breakfast in the hotel tomorrow morning, as I certainly didn’t need a dessert tonight. The service from the staff in the restaurant was efficient and polite, although the chefs seemed a bit surly towards customers as if they were offended that people were taking their food. This is a pile it high and sell it cheap kind of operation, which is why it’s so popular as that’s clearly what appeals to me and half of Reading. Perhaps I should set my sights a little higher, but yet here we are…. The quality isn’t always great, but it’s decent enough to come for a visit every now and then. I think I accept partial mediocrity as long as there’s enough fried chicken.

It was a comment that I heard from another table that summed my experience up quite well, a lady saying to her friend, “did you really need those jelly babies?”. I felt like that when leaving.