“ Address: 8-9 Jewry Street / Winchester SO23 8RZ / Hampshire / Tel: 01962 843 000 „
It's not surprising that a city like Winchester with all its attractions has plenty of restaurants to choose from. We had recently been to Italian chain restaurants in Petersfield and Salisbury and wanted something a little different. Walking towards the cathedral in the morning, we had passed dim t, a noodle bar on Jewry Street, and around 3pm we decided to make our way back to it.
There were three of us and we chose a table to one side, towards the back. We might normally have chosen a table by the window, but there was a party of about a dozen young people there celebrating a birthday. Surprisingly, they were not noisy, but we didn't want to risk sitting right next to them. Our table was an oval one with a little pink-shaded lamp above it. The seats along the wall were upholstered with scatter cushions here and there, certainly comfortable. The chairs on the other side were upright wooden ones with a slightly padded seat. In the middle of the table was a pot containing soya sauce (I think) and a smaller one with chutney or pickle. On top of a small pile of serviettes were four little white bowls; beside these were chopsticks in paper wrappers. Knives, forks and spoons were not offered for the main course but we were happy with chopsticks.
The waiter had deposited menus on the table before we had even sat down, and it wasn't long before he came back to take our drinks order and ask if we wanted to order any starters.
Starters at dim t are priced between £2.95 for Miso Soup and £5.45 for Duck Spring Rolls. There are also several others, including Grilled Goyoza - vegetable or chicken dumplings - at £4.85 and Chicken Satay at £4.75. Handmade steam dim sum, which are small individual portions of food served in a basket, are £3.55 per basket. You can choose from fish, vegetable or meat dim sum, and each basket contains several varieties. We decided to content ourselves with a serving of Prawn Crackers while we studied the main menu. We all wanted fruit juice to drink and decided that it would be a good opportunity to try Lychee Juice at £2.35 a glass. It turned out to be a good decision, although it is a very sweet juice.
Main dishes come under the headings noodle bar, specialities, soup noodle and salads. The Healthy Egg Noodles, at £7.65, are made with red onions, green beans, carrot, cashew nuts, broccoli, bean sprouts and red peppers. Add chicken, prawns or tofu at no extra cost, or steak or salmon for a supplement of 95p. The noodle section also offers Chow Mein at £8.95, Curried Udon Noodles at £7.95, Superfood Stir-Fry at £7.95 and several others. There are four salads to choose from at dim t, including the Ban Lees Superfood Salad, a vegetarian option at £7.65, two kinds of chicken salad, or Duck and Pomegranate Salad at £9.85. The soup noodle section comprises four choices, ranging from Gyoza Noodle Soup with or without chicken at £2.95 to Seafood Laksa at £8.45.
Dim t's Specialities have a choice of eleven dishes alongside which they recommend a side order of rice or noodles. The Specialities feature only one vegetarian dish, the Malaysian Butternut Squash Curry at £6.90. The one red-meat option is Crispy Shredded Beef at £8.45. Some of the dishes are available in either a chicken or a prawn version, and there is also Crispy Duck at £9.95. As well as side orders of rice and noodles, dim t offers Mixed Chinese Vegetables at £3.35, Pak Choi with Oyster Sauce at £3.60 and three different salad side dishes. These would be a better choice for anyone watching their weight.
I decided to go for the Healthy Noodles with chicken, as it sounded like a dish with a good variety of vegetables. My son is not a vegetarian, but he had no hesitation in ordering the Malaysian Butternut Squash Curry with green beans and Thai aubergines in a creamy Malaysian curry sauce and a side order of steamed rice. His partner chose Chicken Katsu Curry in honey breadcrumbs with a mild curry sauce and a side order of egg fried rice. We enjoyed out prawn crackers while waiting for our main course, and the wait was not too long. My noodle dish came in a decorative ceramic bowl, while the curries were in plainer bowls along with plates to serve them onto. The rice sides were served in little cylindrical baskets. We were all happy with the choices we had made, although my son and his partner said that the rice was not quite as good as Wagamama's. The chicken, however, more than made up for that. There were plenty of vegetables too with my noodles, and they were by no means overcooked.
The dessert menu at dim t is predominantly based around chocolate, with the exception of Apple or Banana Fritters at £4.95 or Lemon, Mango or Raspberry Sorbet at £3.25. My son and I ordered Chocolate Sukiyaki, a dessert for sharing between two people, at £5.85. This consists of marshmallows, lychees and pieces of pineapple and banana served in rows on a plate along with a heated chocolate sauce for dipping. My son's partner decided on Raspberry Sorbet and was convinced that it was homemade, as it tasted so good. We enjoyed the Sukiyaki too; the lychees were perhaps better without chocolate sauce, but the bananas in particular went very well with it.
Dim t offers a good selection of coffees and teas, although there was no sign of hot chocolate. My son decided to order a pot of Fresh Ginger Tea with honey at £2.25 while his partner chose Fresh Mint Tea at £1.85. I was going to content myself with my glass of water, but the waiter brought three cups along with the pots of tea so I tried a little of each. The ginger tea was gorgeous with a little honey added; it is very soothing for the throat. I don't usually like mint tea if it has been stewed for too long, but the fresh mint tea at dim t was a beautiful flavour even after ten or fifteen minutes.
Our bill came to £47.95 to which we added a tip. Dim t adds an optional ten per cent service charge for tables of seven or more. Service was polite and efficient; the waitress who had just come on duty as we were paying our bill was particularly friendly and wished us a good evening as we were leaving.
There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor at dim t, but the other toilets are all located in the basement. The ladies' toilet, in which there were three cubicles, was extremely clean and tastefully decorated in subdued colours. Toilet tissue and liquid soap were in plentiful supply and hand driers in good working order. Full marks from me!
The three of us left, hoping that perhaps dim t will open a restaurant in Portsmouth in the near future. We had all enjoyed our food, and it was a pleasure to be able to linger a while with a pot of tea afterwards. We did think perhaps the décor was a little too sombre and could be improved by the addition of a few prints on the walls. While we were there a couple came to sit at the next table but it did not seem as though they were too close for comfort. As we were finishing, a family of four arrived and then there was not much of a gap between us. At busy times it might not be the best place for a romantic dinner for two, but that applies to many places. Overall, however, we found little to criticise and found dim t to be a refreshing change from the more common chain restaurants.
Tuesday - Saturday 12 noon - 11pm (last orders)
Sunday and Monday 12 noon - 10.30pm (last orders)
8-9 Jewry Street
Tel. 01962 843000