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122 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1RH
0208 417 0444
Wimbledon offers the hustle and bustle of London life, alive with a wonderful variety of cultures. Jimmy's World Grill & Bar offers an impressive 400 seater restaurant. Fitted with a modern and stylish interior, food is freshly prepared at lunch and dinner and we even have dishes cooked in front of you. The Jimmy's experience is a culinary and sensory experience for everyone. With hundreds of dishes from around the world, this is the ideal place for couples, friends and parties of all taste buds.
Jimmy's World Grill & Bar brings a fusion of some of the world's finest cuisines all for one price. The multi cuisine all-you-can-eat concept offers Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Japanese and Indian freshly prepared and cooked on site. Cus-tomers are able to select from over 100 dishes on offer and can even ask chefs to cook a dish to their taste in front of them at one of the live stations.
We were invited to review the recently refurbished new look Jimmy's World Kitchen in Wimbledon.
The PR says "Jimmy's World Kitchen has a brand new look and even more amazing dishes than before (100 from 10 countries) AND all soft drinks are FREE (and unlimited)...including 30 kinds of soft drinks, 3 kinds of slush, 3 fruit squashes and 2 kinds of juices!"
Having been to Jimmy's a couple of times previously but not for at least two years, we were curious to see what difference the refurb has made to the feel of the place and the food. From the outside nothing appears any different but once inside the entrance lobby, it is apparent that significant changes have been made. The 'kitchen' food service areas have been significantly reduced to make more dining space. There is now a 'meet and greet desk' where diners pay upfront for their meals. Alcoholic beverages are bought at the nearby bar. So the only 'circulating staff' is those clearing away plates from tables. The 'waiter' role seems to have been rendered obsolete. These changes increase potential revenue and reduce overheads but give Jimmy's less of a restaurant vibe and more of a canteen feel, particularly with the buffet style eating. Perhaps not such an issue for lunchtime customers, but in the evenings and at the weekends (when the cost of the 'all-in' menu rises to a not inconsiderable £17.99 per head, excluding alcoholic drinks) it doesn't necessarily feel 'special'. It looks bright and clean (but without looking clinical) and has a lively ambience.
The restaurant gives a good mix of banquette, small and large table seating options meeting the varied demands of different types of dining groups (from couples on dates, to large parties of work colleagues, family groups and girls' and lads' nights out. The size of Jimmy's means that one doesn't feel 'squashed' and as if one is on top of other diners. Personal space is most welcome in London but seldom found in restaurants, so this is a big plus. The restaurant was probably two thirds full when we visited but not noticeably noisy or overcrowded feeling. Moreover there was enough space and 'flow' around the serving areas that (self or otherwise) service was without delay. My only recommendation would be to avoid banquette dining with a group of six including children. Buffet dining encourages an 'as and when' revisiting approach to the eating experience, with younger members of the party (tween and teens) impatient to get their 'fill'. We seemed to be in a Mexican Wave formation loop for much of the evening, accommodating the comings and goings of the unsynched diners in the party!
We didn't really notice any substantial difference in the international cuisine on offer, although it was all tasty and appealing. We were all agreed that the South East Asian (and particularly the Indian dishes) foods were the most flavoursome and authentic tasting. There was certainly a good choice for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike so no complaints there. Our party has eclectic food likes (and dislikes), and included a vegetarian adult and an aspiring tween one. Thoroughly Merton Milly (our tween reviewer) has a varied palate (but not a large appetite) but for some reason finds the choice at Jimmy's overwhelming. Frustratingly she ate very little except for rice and chicken tikka which seems a shame with so much choice. The free unlimited soft drinks was a big bonus for the children (and undoubtedly for teens and some adults too!) but made the policing intake aspect an unwelcome intrusion on what was supposed to be a relaxing treat evening out! To drink one fizzy drink is acceptable but more than one is not advisable or desirable! Perhaps it's a strategic and purposeful management tool to reduce the amount people eat though? The part of the menu we found wanting was the puddings. Somehow it's often the part of a meal out that most people really look forward to. There was a make-your-own-dessert 'bar' with soft-ice-cream which looked great fun (if fattening) but had an offputtingly sizeable queue. There were lots of mini cheesecake type desserts, a rather delicious strawberry mousse, brownies, kheer etc...But nothing palate cleansing aside from a limited range of fresh fruit (often what's required after spicy cuisine). Certainly no nursery-style British puddings to be seen. What no trifle or apple pie??? And for diners who've got a sweet tooth and look forward to dessert, it was all rather disappointing. I was also surprised, given the very multi-cultural mix of diners, that gelatine-containing puddings were not individually marked.
We came away having enjoyed a chillaxing family meal. There were no offputtingly over-attentive staff trying to hurry us thro' our meal (but I wonder if it might have been different on traditionally busier night of the week at a time of the year when many locals aren't away on holiday?). We'd eaten well in the main although enjoying the starters and mains much more than the puddings. Would we have been happy to pay the full price (£17.99 for adults and kids over 150cm and half price for those under 11 years of age and under 150cm)? Very good value for those with hearty appetites, less so for those who don't each much (including our tween who ate substantially less than she would have done in other non-buffet style restaurants). It's the sort of vibrant, fun restaurant that is good for a more casual dining experience, and for the informality enjoyed by teens and younger adults. It is family-friendly (although no special children's packs to keep them occupied at the dinner table!), and would be a good destination restaurant as part of a treat day/evening out (with trip to the cinema or theatre), but less so for a special occasion.
It's USP is that there is nothing else like it in Merton (as far as I know!), so it offers a fun alternative to the usual eating out experience. AND it caters for all tastes, so there truly will be something on the menu for everyone, even fussy eaters! Always a big bonus when feeding children!
Would we go again? More than likely, but probably at lunchtime (when it's cheaper), and simply because for us the buffet approach makes it seem more appropriate to midday eating!
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