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“The ego, threats and third-rate food”
Review of Kismet - CLOSED

Kismet
Price range: US$9 - US$73
Cuisines: Indian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
Description: This is a gem in Leamington Spa. All the locals will visit this Indian restaurant over all others and I am surprised that they are not on here.
Reviewed 2 December 2013

This restaurant is so bad, it deserves a web-site of its own. The owner flaunted his ridiculous and boastful claims in advance of us ordering - beware the massive ego of this man and his claims about feeding the celebs. He spoke in tongues at a rate of knots, setting us up to order according to his expert recommendations. The food started okay, but by the main course was pretty poor in every respect. That is forgivable in a down-at-heel place, as this seemed to be. After all, we were there not for high quality cuisine, but for a relaxing meal with a few friends. That ambition hit the dirt when we got the bill. It was clearly inflated, and I'm not talking about your usual few quid. This was way above any realistic interpretation of events. A conversation became a dispute. The dispute became aggressive and the staff seemed to turn into those characters in the film Dusk til Dawn. A very young English waiter - on minimum wage of £6 per hour – the owner was quite frank about that for no apparent reason -, was casually referred to as 'the Caucasian' by the manager (that term was used pejoratively), and a customer was told he would have the glasses he was wearing punched into his face. Very nice, coming from the owner and a barman! I won't go on. All I can say is, this 'restaurant' would be more suitably placed in one of those back-streets in some out-of-the-way underdeveloped urban dead-end than in a normal environment. Avoid this place - it sucks.

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7  Thank Tocando
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (300)
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88 - 92 of 300 reviews

Reviewed 2 December 2013

The guy who runs the place must think people are stupid. He gave us this long spiel about how we should give ourselves over to him so that we can experience a multi-layered feast but then serves up a dull mishmash of second-rate dishes. Then he inflates the bill and goes apeshit when we question this. Avoid this place!!

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7  Thank orFoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2013

Beware when the owner of Kismet gives you his spiel about having special layered starters, from which they will then deduce the types of main dishes that you’ll enjoy (which meats, how mild/spicy etc.). We went along with this, as it seemed to make the meal a fun experience – and to be fair the starters were quite tasty. However, the main meal was then completely unrelated to the starters as they brought out an array of luke-warm, mostly bland dishes to be shared between everybody (i.e. taste was not taken into account). None of them were anything special, a few bordered on microwaved ready-meal standard. We moved around to seat all the vegetarian people together on one table as requested, so it would be easier to keep their food separate, but some of the ‘vegetarian’ curries contained bits of meat anyway. Also, keep in mind that if there are baskets of papadoms with a selection of dips on the table when you arrive, these are not complementary, and each one may cost you a LOT more than the menu price of 50p.

Problems got more serious when it came to paying for the meal.

It had been suggested to us that we go for the Platinum Set Meal, but we declined this as we didn’t fancy paying £24.95 per head, opting for the Gold Set menu instead (£16.95). A few people in our party mentioned fish dishes but they changed their minds when we were informed fish was Platinum only; however, the manager later brought us a fish curry to try and said it was on the house. When the bill arrived, the total was around £560. There were seventeen of us and we’d had drinks but this still sounded way, way too steep based on what we’d ordered so a member of the party went upstairs to check whether a mistake had been made. The owner and other staff were reluctant to go through the bill item-by-item in a calm manner, or to even concede that there may have been a mistake, and were quick to get aggressive towards our friend – eventually swearing at him, threatening they would “knock the glasses off your face” and also that they’d take him outside into the alley and knock him out. They acted like we were refusing to pay at all, which we weren’t, merely disputing the bill. Part-way through this discussion a waiter hurriedly came downstairs and collected up the wine bottles (including some that were still half-full); the restaurant then claimed they couldn’t prove how much wine we’d drank because the bottles were in the bin.

From the looks of other reviews on here, Kismet is a pleasant dining experience only if you have no queries or complaints - otherwise things quickly turn sour. Not recommended.

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10  Thank nopoeticdevice86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2013

I don't know how to describe my 'freak show' of an evening here. The first issue which we all thought hilarious at first, was that the manager came out, all enthusiastic, and essentially tried to sell us the food. He started talking very quickly about amazing herbs, how everything tastes like an orgasm (which was a little inappropriate), and how we should forget the menu's and let him choose our meals. Although it was unusual, we didn't see any harm in letting the eccentric bloke have his way.
The next weird thing was the fact that they switched all of our wines (we hadn't realized at the time) to a more expensive brand because one person asked for THEIR bottle to be switched. Around 15 minutes later, the manager stopped me on my way out of the restaurant, stood on the bar, asked me to open my mouth and he tipped half a bottle of Sambuca over my head and face before I knew what was going on. I was very sticky and wanted to storm out, but the people I was with thought it was mildly funny, and I saw the funny side myself, so I let it go.

The last thing was the price. For a party of 17 people, our bill hit £560. I could not believe it, and when we looked down the bill, we were all just astonished with the scam they had pulled. The 'complimentary' poppadoms, in three baskets of 15 (with dip) cost us £20 per basket, the wine had been swapped from our choice of £10 house red to £18 pound branded red as I mentioned above, and we had drunk 12 bottles, adding £96 to the bill. The food had been elevated from their 'gold' set meal, to the 'Platinum' set meal without our knowledge, based entirely on the manager overhearing that someone would like fish, this added almost £10 per person to the bill.

Then, when one of our group went to the bar to have a discussion about the price, it escalated quickly into threats of violence from the staff, and the manager locked the door so that we couldn't leave without paying. All in all, it turned out to be the worst experience I've ever had in a restaurant.

Also, just in case I haven't quite convinced you yet:
The vegetarian dish contained chunks of meat, a lot of the dishes were cold, and not everyone got a meal (which wasn't obvious at the time because of the 'share food' platters).
The manager actually said the line 'If your friend doesn't calm down, we're going to take him into the alley and give him a kicking'.
Many of the waiters were big, burly men, coincidence?
Every single one of the positive reviews on this site refer to Sean (the manager) by name, coincidence?

You would get better service and food in a prison, with an equal chance of getting into a fight too.

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7  Thank WashableMeercat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2013

We had a terrible experience. We were overcharged and threatened when we queried the bill. The waiters ganged up on us in an intimidating manner and they locked the restaurant door so we couldn't leave. Beware of this place.

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5  Thank TK M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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