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Karims - bank cuts charges providing food for thought

John Nuttall and a mini-review of recessional food

Published on October 15th 2008.


Karims - bank cuts charges providing food for thought

Official figures just released this week showed a 16 year high of a 5.2% rate of inflation in September. Of course, anyone who actually spends most of their money on essentials like food, fuel, gas and electricity will know that this is absolute bollocks and that the cost of living has soared well above that.

With that background it came as a pleasant surprise to find that on Manchester's premier shopping street, King Street, one establishment had actually reduced its prices by a swingeing 37.5%. For some time now, Karims, based in Spring Gardens at the top of King Street in the wonderful old banking hall that once housed upmarket pretender, Establishment, has had an excellent lunchtime 'all you can eat' buffet at a bargain £8.

For some odd reason which Gordo insists is it's 'no alcohol' policy, Karims' lunchtime trade has been non-existent. So much so, that on my last visit I was actually the only customer in that huge space. The only fault I could find with the establishment was ghastly dance music blaring out at one o'clock in the afternoon. Perhaps the previous tenants before Establishment, a young persons' lager and loud music venue, had left their sound system hidden away still stuck on full volume?

Well, whatever the reasons behind their dearth of lunchtime patrons, Karims have decided to lower their buffet price to an inflation busting £5. Given the exceptional quality of the interior and food, this makes for an insanely good deal. In fact, it's hard to think of anywhere in Greater Manchester, let alone the city centre, offering even close to the value for money that this represents - if a combination of buffet food and banking hall is to your taste of course.

I had a lamb bhuna which had been made from a good cut of tender lamb far removed from the often gristle ridden ingredients in use elsewhere. There's a good selection of the usual Indian restaurant staples and you can help yourself to as much as you want. Karims have a much deserved reputation for their cooking which approaches the best of any Indian or Pakistani restaurant in Manchester. The surroundings are amazing with the stained glass, domed ceiling dating back to the building's banking days, overlooking a marble and mahogany interior.

The economy has collapsed and we're all going to be eating soap and living in cardboard boxes for the next few years so take the opportunity to eat as much good food as you can in swish surroundings for a measly fiver.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

PaulOctober 15th 2008.

Is it fair to say that a dozen or so covers a day at £5 per head and OJ's all round wouldn't cover it?!

AvoOctober 15th 2008.

Ed, you have just got me cracking up at my desk with your last line there.."feel the quality and the width"??? Eh??

MJOctober 15th 2008.

Johnthebrief - the reason why you probably think the door staff are not warm and welcoming is because you are obviously ignorant to other cultures. Karim's staff are some of the most welcoming and friendly staff around but because they do not speak the best English around, is probably the reason why you might consider them to be unfriendly.And after reading your rant a second time, you are definately stupid for not realising that the reason Karims doesnt sell alcohol is because the owner is a strict Muslim and he is practising his beliefs in not serving alcohol.

johnthebriefOctober 15th 2008.

MJ, idiots like you are what make this board so much fun :) Read my post again, then have a think whether your response was either apposite, reasonable or accurate. Definately (sic) not, I think. But do keep trying x

EditorialOctober 15th 2008.

Avo...fair enough, but it's the deal we're highlighting. A fiver...feel the quality and the width.

AnonymousOctober 15th 2008.

...have you noticed the lack of dogs in the area....?

AnonymousOctober 15th 2008.

Irrespective of 'culture' - I agree with John that it is a waste of a great location. I've been once, only realised it was 'dry' after ordering, and won't return because of it - and I am far from the only one. Good luck to the 'strict muslim' that doesn't listen to his customers. oh....and I also found the front of house staff highly unwelcoming.

AnonymousOctober 15th 2008.

alright guys time out - it's not a good time for anybody at the moment - the current climate is bad to say the least - let's try to support everybody after all we are getting great food at silly prices so enjoy it and help the business at the same time and that goes for all out there suffering at the moment!

AvoOctober 15th 2008.

I know this article was sold as a mini review but two sentences about the food in the whole article is a bit scant isn't it?

ChickOctober 15th 2008.

Paul; I know what the rent is on this place, but I'm not at liberty to say. Put it this way, it aint cheap

AnonymousOctober 15th 2008.

I didn't even know this place existed, gonna check it out now. As for lights of india, it's pretty good for the price but as ever you do pay for what you get. Last time I was there we were served by a proper grumpy sod

shishaOctober 15th 2008.

Love Love love this place! amazing biriani!!

PaulOctober 15th 2008.

Humm... rents on that place must be pretty pricey too...

ChickOctober 15th 2008.

Emma, zero profit. Simple

emma graceOctober 15th 2008.

As I was walking home last night, it struck me how many "special offers" I saw advertised outside so many restaurants. And it got me thinking about where this is all going to end up. I mean, less people can afford to eat out given the current financial climate, therefore the restaurants are putting on special offers to try and tempt us in. What happens when they can't afford to pay their staff or stay open anymore? I mean, how much profit can a restaurant be making on an all you can eat for a fiver deal? Sounds pretty desperate to me. If things carry on the way they are, we are eventually going to lose so many of our favourite independant restaurants before long...quite saddening I thought...

johnthebriefOctober 15th 2008.

I've never really warmed to Karims, and overall just think it's a terrible waste of a fabulous site. I'm not sure why i'm so negative on the place, as both the buffet food and service are inoffensive without being memorable. Maybe it's just the disparity between the product and the venue that makes the whole place feel, somehow, just wrong. Whenever I've been the atmosphere is completely flat, maybe because everyone is stone cold sober. The no-alcohol policy does rankle, I guess I think it should be a personal choice and it feels like you're being lectured or preached at. I wish they'd just take themselves a bit upmarket, let people decide for themselves what to drink, and give the front of house staff a crash course in being warm and welcoming.

PaulOctober 15th 2008.

From where exactly do you deduce that Johnthebrief is ignorant to other cultures from what he says? I think that's a really unfair comment.

becksOctober 15th 2008.

If you want to pay £5 for a nice quick curry you can't beat Light(s) of India (signs don't match!). AND you can have a beer. Although, it's in a basement.

NickOctober 15th 2008.

8 colleagues and I ate at Karim's on Tuesday. We were impressed, the food tasted good and was amazing value at £5 for all you can eat. The next morning on going in to work we discovered that every one of us has suffered from stomach problems (aka the squits) during the night. I wonder how many of the buffet dishes were days old reheated affairs.

PervertOctober 15th 2008.

whats this OJ? does it have anything to do with BJ?

ChickOctober 15th 2008.

Apart from the stuff about no-alcohol, has anyone wondered how this restaurant can afford to offer an all-you-can-eat buffet for £5? Cost are risin on every front; produce, fuel, gas, electric, rent & rates. I fail to see how they can sustain this. Just a comment

ChickOctober 15th 2008.

More than fair Paul!

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