Biggest restaurant in Britain has room for 800 customers a night
22,000 sq ft dining space in Croydon will open in November, reports Kevin Rawlinson
Tuesday 07 September 2010
Romantics searching for a quiet little candlelit place where they can stare lovingly into the eyes of the person across the table might want to give Cosmo a wide berth. Britain's largest restaurant, which measures 22,000 square feet and will have room for 800 people, is to open in November.
The eatery, where diners will tuck into a choice of 300 dishes in a single yawning space, will be located in the lush surrounds of Croydon's Valley Leisure Park – near an Ikea and the local branch of MFI.
It is the latest in a chain of Cosmo restaurants and has taken 10 months to fit out. Its management claims it will take 40 or 50 chefs and "a similar number" of waiting staff to serve the diners. "We're planning on serving around a ton of chicken breast each day as well as half a ton of chips," said acting manager Leroy Ji.
"It is very difficult to find a space like this elsewhere in a city like London," he added. "But we think Croydon will be a great place to set up a restaurant and we hope to attract business from shoppers coming to the retail park."
Diners will be offered an all-you-can-eat menu for £11.99 on weekdays, with a £2 surcharge at weekends. "We have six years of experience in running restaurants in this country," Mr Ji said, adding that there were "not many competitors nearby and around a million people within a few minutes' driving distance".
Mr Ji denied that customers would be put off by the vast space and the fact that they would be joined by hundreds of other people during their meal, saying he thought they would enjoy the different style.
The restaurant's owners, who already operate branches in nine different locations across Britain, said they wanted to offer customers "all the world on a plate". Chefs will serve cuisine from China, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Japan and Thailand as well as European foods.
Mr Ji added: "Even with China we have got eight different specialist cuisines from the different regions. The whole idea is we want to bring an truly unique and authentic dining experience. Different people have different tastes but in our branch you can have everything under one roof.
"We've got about 50 desserts as well; we think if one person wants to try all our food it would take them about a week to try everything, because of the sheer variety."
He refused to divulge how much the venture cost to run, but a spokesman described the project as "massive". The restaurant is 7,000 ft larger than the UK's current largest restaurant – Gilgamesh in Camden, north London – although both can accommodate about the same number of customers.
"The building was a shell when we moved in," said Mr Ji, who is acting as temporary manager.
The project's managers said they were considering opening similar outlets in Birmingham and Manchester within three years, as well as in Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin.
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