Jenni Reid reviews FED, Cardiff’s newest food joint
“PREPARE your game plan” countless people warned me upon learning I was embarking once more unto the breach of yet another all-you-can-eat world food buffet. Scared by stories of full stomachs from just one course after succumbing to the temptations of a full English roast – leaving a whole eight cuisines yet to be explored – I entered FED feeling prepared, slightly apprehensive, and definitely very hungry.
Unveiled last month to great fanfare, FED is the brainchild of Sachin and Shailesh Bajpai, formerly of similar venture Red Hot World Buffet. As its debut branch, the next few months will be make or break for the Bajpai brothers in their central location just by Cineworld, entering Cardiff’s booming gastronomic scene alongside established big-name branches like Wahaca and Burger & Lobster.
So how’s the food? We kicked things off with a slightly haphazard mix of sushi, Mediterranean salad and sweet and sour chicken – no matter how hard you try, it is very difficult to keep your plate looking coherent and resist piling on everything that catches your eye.
‘It’s all paid for! Why not?!’ becomes the oft-repeated mantra on circuits of the buffet carts, leading to sights such as folded pizza wedged in between a dollop of tikka masala and a quesadilla. But our first combination was an unexpected success, and left four diners satisfied.
Although some dishes were inevitably disliked along our epic journey through the continents, the quality of food is generally solid and consistent; few will be expecting fine dining, but make the right picks and
there is some really excellent food to be discovered. There are few unusual surprises to try out, but with so much on offer this is understandable.
One of the best features is the grill and seafood counter where fresh food is cooked to order and delivered to your table. This is where you really get your money’s worth, as well as by passing on pizza and chips and stockpiling on generally more expensive dishes such as calamari, hoisin duck pancakes and honey-glazed ribs.
A sophisticated date destination FED is not so much, but nor does it purport to be. The décor is bright and cheerful, the music somewhat reminiscent of a late 90s school disco, and the style of dining lends itself all too easily to over-indulgence. But it is great fun and good quality, and the perfect destination for a large group night out or parents with hungry teenagers to feed.