BEST PART: The Boxes!
In our family we love Kimaya so much that we have a song for it. It goes ‘Kimaya, Kimaya aya’ to the tune of ‘The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane’. And it was the full family contingent that were partaking of the St Albans Midweek Lunch this week, leading to a very different dining experience. Rather than semi-leisurely adult conversation there was desperate bargaining with colouring pencils to try and prevent meltdowns, and constant questionings on if the food had arrived yet. But in the interest of balance I will try and give the same considered review and marking as other restaurants where there hadn’t been a small person climbing all over me whilst I finished my pickles. But I’ll probably fail.
There is no children’s menu at Kimaya, but the deals are so good that it doesn’t really matter. And the move important element, the reason why we keep going back, is available to humans of all ages. The is the fact that they serve your meal in a box. And not a flimsy cardboard box, threatening to disintegrate at any moment from the weight of it’s own grease, such as you might get from H+H Chicken. A proper solid compartmentalised bamboo affair, such as you used to get on planes in your childhood (and possibly still do, we haven’t do many long-haul flights since the kids came along).
75% of the party, myself and the boys, took this option whilst my wife went for the newly offered sushi lunch deal. Both offer extraordinary value, the box gives you a started, main course, salad and pickles plus a drink for only £5.99 with the Sushi deal giving you a starter and a goodly portion of sushi, but no drink, for £5.99. In fact the whole shebang for four of us cost only £28, a good tenner less than lunch for two at the Cock last week.
And it’s good quality food as well The starters were slightly sparse but tasty, and due the youngest deciding he didn’t want the chicken satay we had very clearly explained to him when orderin, I got double portions. The pickles are a lovely little touch and the salad is un-offensive, unless you are a young boy in which case it is more offensive than the film ‘Frozen’. My main was Tamarind Duck, which may surprise anyone who has read last week’s review but I man aged to circumvent the duck embargo by ordering very quietly. It was worth the subterfuge, with generous juicy chunks in a rich sauce. The compartmentalisation means it can be tricky combing the rice and the sauce with chopsticks, but this just forces you to take your time on the meal.
The sushi was attractive and filling. There was a decorative piece of avocado on the side. My wife thought there were two and ate the second with some gusto before screaming slightly and with eyes watering announced that it was in fact wasabi paste!
The service was prompt and friendly, the meal easily fitting into it’s allotted 3 score minutes, and was topped off with after dinner mints for all. So why am I not raving about it to all and sticking it at the top of the lunch league? Possibly a couple of years ago I may have, but it does feel like it’s no longer at the top of it’s game. The giant fish that used to swim around the wall seem to have departed or shrunk, and they have started serving Thai as well as Japanese food which is never a good sign. But it leaves you feeling full, happy maybe but not with the deep and sublime contentment of a really good meal. Possibly I come here too often and it has just lost its sparkle. My wife thinks I am being unfair because our usual criteria were altered by the addition of our children who did give the place 10/10 and ‘9…erm… maybe 8’. However we are in charge not them (if we say this often enough they might believe us) and this time it didn’t escape from the upper bounds of mediocrity.