Disappointingly Cosmopolitan

Friday 15/4/2005

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Diary and Notes

I really hate it when my curmudgeonly old git whingeing is ruined by things being better than anticipated (and thus giving me something to whinge about in a sort of 'Jon always comes off complaining anyway' twist). I spent this weekend visiting my excellent chums, Dr Phil Welshegg and Sarah Chuckles, a pair of nerdy science types who have just returned from living in Atlanta and are now making deadly germs and poison gas bombs for the UK government in Salisbury England.

From experience I knew that the hospitality would be top notch, Phil and Sarah really do make an effort for visitors and their selection of fine wines, malt whiskies and entertaining gadgets (52 inch plasma screen TV's etc) are second only to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch (though there are fewer young boys hanging around the showers). Phil met me at Salisbury station and we strolled into town for a cup of tea and a cake at Polly's Tea Shop (an old English tea shop, which has let itself go somewhat, especially as Phil's tea tasted of sardines) and so far my experience of Salisbury was everything I had hoped it would be - as I shall explain.

I was born and raised in Wiltshire, a mainly rural county where Salisbury is the only actual city (though the town of Swindon is probably bigger) and as such I consider myself a bit of an expert on the place - except I never go back there. I remember visiting Salisbury a few times many years ago and was expecting it to still be an unpleasant backwards hole, whose only asset was a large cathedral and the ability to scam tourists visiting nearby Stonehenge with really bad 1970's slops and cheap instant coffee - but it seems to have changed somewhat, gone all cosmopolitan, almost trendy in fact. There were excellent little Belgian chocolate shops, a mix of old traditional (and quite tastefully done) pubs with some new bistros, a selection of restaurants of varying types - all in all not bad at all. OK, so it's not Monte Carlo, but compared with my memories of the place it was heaven.

Of course being Friday we went out for curry (after a few cocktails and wines). We were planning to go to a quite trendy and upmarket curry house but it was full (in Salisbury it seems you need to book) and were forced to try one of the older looking places - the Rajpoot.

The Rajpoot was also filled to the rafters with people munching pilau rice, vindaloo and naan bread and we were lucky to get a table. I was a bit worried at first that there wouldn't be anything particularly interesting on the menu but was filled with joy when I noticed the duck tikka and duck tikka bhuna - happy me, oh happy me.

Not a bad meal overall, the food wasn't best I've ever had, but was a damn sight better than I was expecting, we chomped and munched for a few hours then got a cab back then drank whisky and watched Aliens on his giant TV - excellent. I would happily come again.


A word on the Nargis Kebab: Ours was an omelette stuffed with spiced minced lamb (keema) but see Nargis Kebab Appreciation Site to find out how they do it in India and Pakistan (plus the graphics on this site are definitely worth a viewing).

Cake Blog

Pollyanna - from the Polly tea rooms. A meringue coated in nut paste and nuts. better than sardine tea by far.


  • Poppadoms and Chutneys

  • Nargis Kebab

  • Duck Tikka Bhuna
  • Rice
  • Naan Bread