Monday, August 04, 2014

Restaurant Review: Wimpy, Festival Place Basingstoke

The finest foods known to humanity
After a difficult morning clipping a reluctant dog's claws and taking a mildewed duvet to the local tip, what better way to sate one's appetite than the finest food British cuisine has to offer? Failing that, Wimpy in Basingstoke.

Mere yards from the famous Wote Street Willy, my companion and I found ourselves seated in Basingstoke's premier restaurant, perusing the new Wimpy menu. Shockingly - yes - the Maitre d' handed us a multi-paged laminated tableau, whereupon the establishment's fare is displayed, allowing those of us with less than perfect reading skills to point at whichever they desire.

For the seasoned Wimpy connoisseur, all the Wimpy regulars are there, the difference being the opportunity to add extras on to your already classic bender or burger.

The head waiter himself took our orders. My companion went for the quarter-pounder with cheese with onion rings; after some deliberation my choice was the same, eschewing the onions for mushrooms and a slice of bacon. A wise choice, it transpired.

We settled down to take in the ambiance of the establishment: Functional seats and pole-up-the-middle tables, a nod toward Jamie Oliver's "Fifteen" establishment, with a touch of the Gordan Ramsay - excellent to throw in self-defence should the chef become a little testy. Background music consisted of a selection of popular hits from - we understand - Heart FM, but one was too busy beating the radio to death with a stick to find its true provenance. N'inquiet pas.

The sommelier came and took our drinks orders. We both chose a fine Diet Coke 2014, prepared from syrup and carbonated water from massive tanks on the premises, we believe, topped with locally-produced ice cubes.

And then, the main course. One cannot begin to describe the flavours: Freshly deep-fried pommes frites. Recently pan-fried mushrooms. Almost certainly recently cut-in-half wholemeal bun, and meat seared to perfection by a man in a paper hat. All topped with the house piece-de-resistance: A specially prepared sauce from the finest tomatoes, courtesy of the House of Heinz. Heaven knows how they do it, but completely divine.
What other restaurant chain offers paper napkins complete with pop music nonsense? YOUR MOVE JAMIE OLIVER

With portion sizes somewhat larger than you'd expect from other premium restaurants, we declined the offer of a Brown Derby (although it did cross our mind this this might have been some sort of invitation to either a secret society of Wimpy customers, or a deviant sexual practice), and paid, bidding the Maitre d' a fond farewell on the way out.

Then, to the 99p Store opposite to point and laugh at things.

A fine afternoon's fine dining in one of Basingstoke's finest restaurants. In summary: Fine.


branestawm said...

I was unemployed for a spell in 1991. After signing-on once a fortnight, I used to treat myself to a Wimpy in the Broadmarsh Centre.

It's still there. It's still got the same manager. He apparently hasn't aged a day since then either. And it's still slightly nicer than eating in McDonald's or Burger King.

There can't be many of 'em left.

Howard said...

Funny thing about Wimpy, you expect it to be terrible but usually leave pleasantly surprised.

Barry said...

Earlier this year I went to the one in Basildon and was pleasantly surprised how good the food was.

And to answer branestawm, there is still a few around. There is the one in Basildon as I said and there are two that I know of in Southend.

Zimmer said...

...and an old Wimpey 'cabin' which was open in the '70's is still operating at Milton, Staffs. Close to the entrance to Shugborough Hall.... mmmm..nomnomnom...