Za Za Bazaar: Review

“Like a cross between a market and Selfridges Food Hall” is how a friend of mine described Za Za Bazaar after her first visit – and she’s spot on. The fixed price, all-you-can-eat “world banquet and bar” – officially Britain’s biggest dining venue – opened this week, and we headed along for the trial night for local companies on Tuesday.

Za Za Bazaar was completed in just 13 weeks – a ridiculously short amount of time considering the scale of the place. The £3m restaurant is housed over more than 30,000 square feet, seats 1,000 diners at any one time, has created 130 local jobs and can have up to 2,100 people dining on a single night. 36 chefs from around the world are supported by 8 porters, and their projected food consumption levels are astounding. Za Za reckon diners will consume:

  • 1,300kg of rice per week
  • 1,000kg of beef per week
  • 60kg of pasta per day
  • 2,500 chickens every four days
  • A truckload of vegetables each day.

The extravagance doesn’t stop there. The bar offers over 300 different drinks from around the globe, including Indian lassi, Brazilian beer, Swedish cider and Thai-themed cocktails.The front entrance leads to a beautiful downstairs bar area, with exposed pipework and brown leather seats, which has space for 300 diners should the 700 seats upstairs not be enough.

The upstairs restaurant can be accessed via either stairs or a lift (the lift doors are copper-plated – I was told by the restaurant’s project manager that there was only one sheet of copper left in the country after they’d finished the restaurant) – and is an assault on the senses as soon as you walk in. The chatter of hundreds of diners, the smell of so many different types of food in one place, the noises of various foodstuffs being fried, pans being clattered onto stoves, chefs shouting to each other, the number of people milling around filling their plates with weird and wonderful combinations…it’s not a place for the faint-hearted.

Aiming to create the feel of a Far Eastern market, the restaurant is divided into “stations” for various types of cuisine. Helpfully, each diner is given a place mat that doubles as a map, so that they can decide where to go next.

While much of the food is available on a help yourself basis from large serving dishes on the counters, it’s also good to see that plenty is made in front of you: including sushi, Vietnamese pho and Indian breads.

Our group managed to sample a wide number of cuisines on offer between us – some opting for one region at a time (recommended by Za Za), some coming back to the table with plates laden with very strange combinations of foods. Highlights for us were the Indian snacks (our Indian colleague was raving about them!), Chinese duck pancakes, Vietnamese pho and dumplings.

Other options were a little hit and miss. The ribs were enjoyed by some, but deemed too chewy for others. The sushi looked fantastic, but was a little bland (and mostly involved crabsticks). And the dessert counter gave the choice of cupcakes, “Mr Whippy” style ice cream, a chocolate fountain, and a selection of mini desserts that were very much style over substance.

Lunch is priced at £6.99 Monday-Friday and £9.99 Saturday-Sunday, with dinner bookings costing £12.99 Monday-Thursday and £15.99 Friday-Sunday. Children get a great deal, with under 5’s able to dine for free, and those aged 5-11 getting their meals half price. Drinks are a little on the expensive side, but 5-7pm happy hour deals on beers and cocktails on weekdays make them more reasonable.

I’m not really sure what to make of the place, to be honest. It’s a great venue for large parties with differing tastes when it comes to eating out, and has a buzz that makes it ideal for celebratory occasions. While it’s certainly far superior to other all-you-can-eat venues in the city, it’s a little overwhelming in terms of its size. There’s no denying that the food is great value for money, but it remains to be seen whether the owners – who are planning on opening another seven “super-restaurants” across the UK at a cost of £10m over the next 18 months – have been a little too ambitious with their plans…

 

Find Za Za Bazaar on the Bristol Bites Directory…

 Za Za Bazaar  on Urbanspoon

 

22 Responses to Za Za Bazaar: Review

  1. A very good idea nicely laid out but let down by substandard food quality. Very bland, mass produced with little flavour. Personally it was a huge disappointment. Would much rather pay more for higher quality. The Tex-Mex was particularly bad. More like cinema food or Kentucky. Drinks were great though.

  2. We visited the restaurant yesterday lunch time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The food was delicious and the staff very helpful. Have booked to take the grandchildren in a fortnight.s time

  3. Fully reccomend it very nicely laid out although it was busy you didn't feel crowded. Thought food was really nice. Booked to go back after Christmas

  4. Thanks for all the information about this. We were trying to decide if to try here or cosmos but the reviews on here have sealed the deal for us. Looking forward to our belated Christmas party now :)

  5. Pingback: Za Za Bazaar welcomes 7,000 diners in its first week | Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

  6. Loved it! It is easily the best all-you-can-eat that I've been to. My 3 year old spent his whole visit laughing like a maniac at the excitement of it all. The staff were professional and friendly and the concept is ideal if you can't decide whether you want Indian, Mexican, Italian or Vietnamese… Just have them all!! I did!

    Can't wait to go back!

  7. I went for the first time last weekend. Took my 14 and 26 year old brothers and younger cousins along. My 14 year old brother is a full time wheelchair user, even the smallest detail can make a difference to us enjoying a visit.

    We were greeted politely and shown where the lift was. Upon entering the restaurant we were given a choice of tables to sit at. My brother need to use the wash facilities, which unlike other restaurants was fairly large and could easily accommodate a wheelchair and carer in the disabled wc. Unusual for restaurants.

    The waitress explained how the restaurant is laid out etc and the kids (7,10 and 14) were off. They felt comfortable enough to walk around themselves and take what ever they fancied. The choice of food on offer is immense and what one has to remember is the chefs are happy to accommodate anything you want cooked. It was clear a lot of visitors on the day I went didn't know there were other food options, all you have do is ask the chef to throw together something from the ingredients you pick!

    If the kids didn't enjoy food or you were finished with your plate, put it in the middle of the table and the staff clear it away promptly.

    We all throughout enjoyed the food. A bonus in that the chicken and lamb is all halal for Muslim visitors. As are the beef burgers.

    If you're going for the cheap lunch menu, then stick to the free jugs of tasty water. The soft drinks and non alcoholic drinks are on the expensive side when you consider you could end up with one drink per 'main' and in my case that was three drinks!

  8. I had high expectations for Za Za bazaar but was very disappointed, the food was very bland and tastes awful! It was very crowded and tables are too close togeather! Im sticking to Cosmo from now on!

  9. Hmmm, I keep hearing bad reviews of this place, but it certainly sounds like an experience and worth taking a look.

    I do like me some all you can eat!

  10. I went for the first time last Saturday with 5 friends. we had to queue to get to the reception desk and then upstairs, this meant our 7pm booking had already turned into 7.15 pm before we were seated and we were one of the early ones. Their booking method seemed to be in 2 hr sittings so everyone arrived together.

    We were given a booth which meant when anyone wanted more, we all had to move. The food was very good, but they need 2 dessert sations as everyone arrived there at the same time towards the end of their 2 hour time slot, which caused long queues again. The management refused to honour a voucher which clearly stated it was valid for any day of the week, stating they reserved the right to withdraw any offer at any time!!! They did give us 10% off our meal but I think this was mainly due to the fact the heating was not working that night and many diners were complaining about the cold. With this and the combination of queuing to actually get to your table making a 2 hour booking into 1 & 1/2 hrs as the bill is presented at yout table 10 minutes before you are due to leave. I will probably not be going back anytime soon.

  11. Went last Saturday night. A very strange experience. All the food I ate was of a reasonable quality although nothing really stood out. It struck me as a bit of a confused gorging festival – a stomache lining excercise for the Oceana crowd. As a social night out with a group of friends it was a bit of write-off as people were jumping up and down from the table throughout the evening to pile their plates up (me included!) and were getting stuck in food queues. As we left the staff were clearing away leftovers, tipping full trays of chicken wings etc into bin bags. Great if you fancy a bit of Man vs Food challenge. Don't go near the place if you want a refined dining experience.

  12. i went on a sunday afternoon…probally the worst place i have ever eaten. before going i heard mixed reviews, so went in with an open mind for a younger siblings birthday. there were ten of us. we waited half an hour to be shown to our table which had ALREADY BEEN BOOKED, we were shown to our table by a very rude waiter to just pointed to the table and walked off! we were sat down for about 15 mintues waiting for someone to come and get our drinks order when instead a different waiter came back and told us we were in the wrong table moved us to the other side of the restaurant and left AGAIN. we then waited 45 minutes for a dim waitress to bring us over some drinks! we were then faced with the daunting task of actually getting to the different food stations. there wasnt as much choice as what first appears and a lot of the chefs couldnt keep up with the demand (a lot of bowls were empty) plus u had to que like u were waiting for school dinners at every station. then fight your way back through the crowd to find your seat! im glad i didnt have my children with him as i wouldve lost them in the crowd, there are TO MANY people and NOT ENOUGH staff. unless you like feeling like your part of cattle heard then i suggest avoiding this place at all costs, i for one will not be going back again

  13. Brilliant for someone who actually doesn't eat a lot. But likes to have flavour rather than bulk..,I hate leaving food on the plate and here you can just serve yourself what you know you can eat. Saw very little food being wasted… GREAT!

  14. This is truly a unique dining situation. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Za-Za's. It was amazing value for money and the food on the whole was good. The staff were great and the atmosphere was buzzing. I never qued for more than a minute for anything (Sat Lunchtime) and my 8yr old twins really enjoyed being able to come and go collecting ever more unusual mixtures of food.
    If I have to 'Nit-pick', we arived on time and waited in a que for 10 mins to find they had no record of our booking. Some of the food was a little 'bland' and the Lasagna one of my boys wanted was very dry.
    Would I return ? Yes I would.

  15. went to za za,s in the week with family for birthday asked if they would reduce the price for two of us for child prices, as we have had surgery and not able to eat any more than 60grams, but wanted to be there as it was a birthday,the answer was an out right no, so left as it would be a rip off price…wont go again

  16. I what to za za today and I did not like it I walked back out we got there at 11.52 and she said r time was up at 1.30 I was not happy to start with just over a hr and a half what up steris no breakfast no roast dinner and we was put in a Corner of a room and the room was most empty we was not happy so we went home and we r from Weston what a waste of a day

  17. I don't write reviews regularly, but having dined with a party of 8 for a 40th birthday party further on in the night we all began to fall sick as a result of the food at this restaurant. Not recommended!

  18. IT WOULD BE NICE IF YOU HAD THE HALAL LOGO ON YOUR WEBSITE AND PREMISES SO THAT MUSLIMS CAN EAT COMFORTABLY KNOWING THAT IT IS HALAL AND WHAT IS NOT. I HAVE BEEN THERE TWICE BUT ALL THAT TIME I SPENT THERE I WAS IN DOUBT YOU ARE SAYING THAT IT IS HALAL BUT I CAN NOT SEE ANY CERTIFICATE ON THE WALL. I HOPE IT IS HALAL FOR YOUR AND OUR SAKE BECAUSE IF IT IS NOT YOU CAN BE SUED WITH A HEFTY FINE. PLEASE DISPLAY LOGO FRONT OF YOUR PREMISES AND WEBSITE AND INSIDE CERTIFICATE THANKS .

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