Shalimar, Harrogate (49%)


Saturday 1st October 2016.

To open I had a sweet bit of scene-setting gallimaufry, including the Bruce Forsythe rap… Trashed.

Mr Combustible of Harrogate, proprietor of Shalimar Indian restaurant, put paid to that. (Last in Hargreaves’ Mr Men series – a nightmarish aberration mercifully suppressed by the publishing house.)

“You’re too vocal. Upsetting my guests. You’re too vocal.”  He’s in my face, this pudgy, butcher’s dog of a man – sleek, dyed black hair, self-satisfied paunch. It was merely an aside requesting the logjam of diners disperse from our comfort zone. Truth is, our seating position was a victim of over-zealous table planning – too near the door, reception and bar; ill-conceived.

“You pay your bill and get out of here.” It was, I reminded him, we who had been inconvenienced by the parade of bottoms thrust indiscriminately against our table edge, infringing our dining space.

Then he’s pushing me, my glasses fly to the floor. He wants to take it outside. He says he’s going to “break my teeth in”. I appeal to the powerless, by-standing waiters; a crazed, proprietorial glare sends one scuttling. Others attempt to restrain Mr Combustible, pull him away.

Yet, funnily enough, it wasn’t this puffed up, tyrannical nincompoop and his laughable conniption that bothered me so much. (Though I feel for his impressive waiting staff.) It was the onlooking complacent diners nearby. “Yes, take it outside,” a couple of tables chorused, in complete indifference to Mr Combustible’s stream of abuse, “we’re trying to enjoy our meal here.”

It was probably my efforts to apprise these zombies of the evident injustices that resulted in our £52 bill being waived; our hurried exit from the restaurant. Mind you, only before we’d obtained firm assurances that a hotheaded despot wouldn’t jump from the bushes brandishing his favourite paring knife.

Grudgingly (and superfluously), I have to admit, the grub is pretty decent. Handsome, six-dip pickle tray. And, if you must, we highly recommend the nehari lamb, far superior, in our opinion, to the smoked option. The toilets though are grubby and the service generally sluggish, never mind the physical threats.

We retreated to our hotel bar. A medicinal 17 year old Habiki whisky almost compensating for the faintly absurd trauma; somewhat ameliorating my dyspeptic funk.



Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles



  1. Andy · · Reply

    Blimey, that must of been upsetting!


  2. It was, and so unnecessary. A very busy restaurant with lots of people milling about waiting to be seated, all the Judge did was ask if they could be moved away from our table, hovering as they were right upon us. It just escalated ridiculously, Mr Combustible just completely lost it. I can’t imagine it’s the first, or last time, his waiting staff certainly knew not to get involved or say anything. A shame, as up to that point it had been doing pretty well, the food was very good. Perhaps too busy for their own good, there were long waits, especially between starter and main which was over half an hour but I think it would have made the lower end of ‘Six of the Best’. As it stands now, it’s top of the ‘Never to return’.


  3. […] It’s been a testing journey across land and sea to savour and examine every aromatic facet the Indians in my path had to offer this year (including the khazi): Paris, London, Newcastle, Spital Hill… Some triumphs, some white elephants. Some beautiful people ( The Dignified Demeanour…); the odd nutter (Shalimar…). […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: