Rhimjim, Winchester.

Being an avid foodie, I enjoy going out and trying different cuisines and new restaurants. However, there are times when I love nothing more than a decent Indian washed down with a pint of Cobra or Kingfisher. So when the opportunity arose to visit an Indian Restaurant I had yet to visit, I jumped at the chance.

Inside the restaurant there were as many customers as you could reasonably expect to find on a Wednesday evening, in the middle of January. The low number of staff mirrored this with no more than 3 waiting staff on hand and judging by the different attire to the rest, what appeared to be the manager.

On arrival we were promptly shown to our seats and milliseconds later were asked for our choice of beverage by a rather abrupt Waiter. I opted for what I believe is a staple accompaniment to any Indian dish and went for Kingfisher, my partner choosing a glass of Rose from the selection of 3 available.

Poppadoms and the traditional assortment of dips ranging from Mango Chutney, through to Raita via Lime Pickle, followed the drinks. As I was the only one of the two of us who like them, I had only asked for 2, but on inspection of the neat little basket in which they were presented there quite obviously more than I had asked for, but this wasn’t a big deal – they were going down a treat. A few minutes passed and the Waiter returned to take our order, we obliged and were left alone until starters arrived.

For the first course we had both decided on the Lamb Seekh Kebab that came with a small “salad” in tow. The only issue is that my idea of a salad (and perhaps I’m wrong here) amounts to more than a pile of lettuce on the side of the plate, even it was neatly dressed.

After we had finished eating the starters, the Waiter reappeared to ask if we had finished and when we replied that we had he turned around and left us, without taking the plates leaving us somewhat confused. It would be another 5 or so minutes before he would return to clear the plates, leaving the remaining Poppadoms but taking the dips, much to my annoyance.

Mains came out no more than 10 minutes later. There is an agreement between my partner and I that any time she tries something new when we’re eating out, I have to do likewise. For me, this is never an issue as trying new things is one of many reasons I love eating out in the first place. However, in this particular circumstance I had worked up quite the craving for my usual Lamb Biriyani over the days leading up to the visit, so when she invoked this agreement that was game over. That was, until I saw the “Peppery Duck” on the menu. One of my favourite meats in an Indian style dish, one of my favourite types of cuisine? Could there be anything better? Perhaps all was not lost after all so I immediately elected to have this. The dish consisted of pot roasted duck breast with peppers, onions and rice and with my partner deciding on a Tandoori Mixed Grill, everything was set. As the mains were being delivered to the table something a little strange happened. The man who we had earlier assumed was the manager, came over and commented on how good the food looked (which I had to agree with) and asked if he could take some photos for the restaurants Facebook page. Apart from interrupting our meal to take photos, which in turn meant our food was starting to cool, the thing that sprung to my mind whilst this was happening was that I understand completely the need to advertise your business and all, but wouldn’t it be better to a) use a decent camera instead of your iPhone or better yet employ a professional and b) taking photos could be done during closed hours, when the chefs can focus 150% on the way a dish looks rather than how hot it is or how it tastes, which brings me neatly onto the food itself. The Duck appeared and tasted overcooked and tough. Duck Breast in my opinion (which doesn’t count for much I realise) should be served pink and juicy with crispy skin on top. This was about a million miles away from being what I imagined the dish to be like when I decided to order it. If I’m being honest, the overcooked Duck rather ruined my main, because take it away and I was left with rice and peppers. My other half however, thoroughly enjoyed her main course, commenting on slight theatre of the sizzling as it was brought to the table as well as the flavours of the various different meats in her dish.

After the plates were cleared away we looked through the dessert menu, and deciding we’d had enough, asked for the bill. Earlier on in the evening we had asked if it would be okay to use our Tastecard discount at the end of the meal which we were told by the Waiter was fine. After casting our eye over the bill we realised the discount had not been applied so when we called the Waiter over and pointed out the error he responded with a very short and sharp “Yes, yes”. At this point he took it out of our hands added the discount and returned it to the table. His tone left us feeling slightly annoyed, and for me, this, added to previous issues started to frustrate me. The issue was then somewhat compounded by the 15minute wait between receiving the amended bill and the Waiter taking our payment. Suffice to say the tip was reflective of my thoughts on the evening.

Dishes at Rhimjim are reasonably priced and there is a wider variety on offer than their website would have you believe, however, claims of ‘World Class Contemporary Indian Cuisine’ are, based on my experience, unfounded.

4/10

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