Do you ever find yourself in a city, alone and at a loose end with a couple of hours to kill? I sometimes do and it was on just such an occasion in July 08, I made a spontaneous visit to this humoungus Indian restaurant in the middle of Deansgate in Manchester City Centre. Karim's is vast and dome-like with hanging chandeliers and huge marble pillars and marble tables. Entire countries stocks of marble must have been plundered to furnish Karim's. Wars fought etc...
I was initially attracted by a chap in traditional Indian dress standing at the doorway, what particular tradition I know not, and the food made me none the wiser. Traditional 'fusion' dress perhaps?
Upon entering the otherworld I chose a little marble table where, as solitary diner I felt much as a sailor might upon the vastness of the ocean.
A mile away on the other side of what might be laughingly referred to as the dining area were twenty four small copper domes containing pilau rice, bhuna curry, byriani, aloo, tandoori, and some egg fried rice, et al, all of which the tight lipped waiter described as self service 'asian fusion'. I was not particularly hungry but several hours later when I had loaded my plate and navigated by GPS through marble mountains back to my table I was suffering from exhaustion and starvation. I'm never attracted by this 'eat as much as you like' bollocks.
On a serious note this restaurant is really quite mad. It is without doubt the largest eatery I have ever been in and to be the only diner added to the unreality. But a restaurant is much, much more than grandiose surroundings and this place just didn't feel right. My non-alcoholic beer offered little comfort too. The staff leered at me from far away and occasionally people would poke their head out of the kitchen door as if pointing out 'the customer' with evident surprise and no little curiosity.
After a while I could feel a panic attack coming on and realised I would need to make an escape. A sense of impending doom curdled in my guts as I ate the uninspired lukewarm gruel and even as I chewed I wondered at the multiplicity of bacteria that might reside in the long heated chicken bhuna even now, I was thinking, taking up residence in my naive and unsuspecting gut.
I ordered the bill and informed the waiter I had not ordered the mutton dressed as lamb. He stayed true to form and glowered silently.
As I passed the doorman in traditional dress he smiled and said 'you enjoy?'
'No'I said, 'not really. 'It's all fur coats and no knickers in there.'
Not recommended at all. 3.5 out of 10. Bring your own knickers!
AFTERTHOUGHTS: No intestinal problems though mildly burning ring-piece next morning. Nothing like my own curries when I suffered from a burning bell-end after the first piss of the morning and a fiery arse throughout the day but I am liberal with my chillies and these somatic joys are what asian food has taught me. I remember with nostalgic yearning those banana and chilli fried butties Nazir used to make when we were students and just back from the pub. Now they were real bottom burners but that's another story. I hate to diss a restaurant because it is somebody's living but this place really is bollocks.