Beat the all-you-can-eat

A short ‘how to’ guide to maximise your value for money at one of Bristols fine all-you-can-eat buffets.

Let the battle between Man and Food commence!
Picture: Man v Food Nation

The all-you-can-eat restaurant has always been a fixture of fine student dining. Recently, thanks to Za Za Bazaar’s student promotion, it has also become a place where the old adage ‘no such thing as a free lunch’ finally bit the dust.

Za Za may have the head start with their relentless PR machine but with restaurants like Cosmo on the triangle there are a lot of places you can live out your wildest Man vs. Food fantasies, and this guide will help you maximise your money saving, belt busting potential.


Now, before you unbuckle your belt one notch, let’s get started with the preparation. Much like any major sporting event you don’t want to go in unprepared so get your pre-game diet and prep right.

Have a large meal the night before, and a smaller lunch the day of your visit in order to increase your capacity for holding food. A tactical toilet stop is also advised pre-match in order to maximise your performance.

Just like a trip to the gym you must wear suitable attire, loose fitting clothing is great, as are dark colours that will not show ‘meat sweats’, so put down your skinny Topman jeans and that Aztec print shirt from River Island that you saw someone wear on Skins, this is neither the time nor the place.


On arriving at your chosen restaurant, take a seat, order a drink (tap water, ice, lemon slice) and then walk around surveying your enemy, the buffet.

Work out in what order you’ll be tackling the different foods to provide maximum eating capacity, and most importantly locate the high cost items, prime cuts of meat and expensive vegetables.

You should also try to take note of the nearest exits and toilets in case of a puke based emergency. Nobody likes looking at people projectile vomiting.


Only drink tap water. It’s free, and you don’t want to drink too much and get full anyway. Avoid booze. It will bloat you, ruining your food consumption potential and won’t help with the vomming.

In terms of your plate, don’t pile. It’s better to go up more times and get smaller, more manageable portions than be intimidated by the mound of fried food on your plate.

Cartoon: Katie Bend

Try to alternate food types wherever possible to keep your taste buds stimulated and make more eating possible. Despite this guide encouraging over-eating, it’s also worth trying to be slightly careful about what you eat, don’t overdo it on fried food or you will end up looking like that obese man in trackies eating alone at the next table.

Be patient with your eating and take your time. There is no need to hurry as you normally have a couple of hours in which to eat.

There’s a fable featuring a tortoise and a hare, in this case the hare went straight for the curry, got meat sweats and crashed early whilst the tortoise went slow and steady until the end.


Ice Cream is your friend. Experiment with having it between courses when you’re starting to struggle, and it will somehow alleviate your stomach cramps.

Revel in your victory…
Cartoon: Katie Bend

Plan the journey home. It will not be pleasant having to waddle all the way from Za Za back to your halls. Take a note of the bus route, or, if in Wills, arrange a suitable time for your butler to pick you up.

Don’t go out after. A night on the booze after an evening on the chews will only end one way: an early exit from Lounge and a dry cleaning bill for a girls dress that you decorated with chicken nuggets and noodles. Just go home, whack on the TV, put your feet up and bask in your glory.

Every sporting contest needs a winner so good luck taking the all-you-can-eats to the cleaners, and remember: ‘go hard or go home.’