In cricketing terminology, ‘hit wicket’ refers to when a batsman knocks over his own stumps. Effectively, a self-inflicted wound, more often than not involving the batsman clumsily stumbling on to his wickets and causing his own demise. An ungainly way to get out, it’s typically a cause for laughter and derision from opposition and teammates alike.
As the OCC journeyed to Hit Wicket on Gongping Lu, little did we know that this name was to be a fitting metaphor for the whole experience.
Customer care 4.6
The atmosphere was the first warning sign that the venue may not quite be a challenger for 2018’s Curry House of the Year (CHOTY). Upon entering, one is greeted by signs declaring that Hit Wicket is a sports bar. Adorned with photos of cricket players and even a ‘Donald Bradman stand,’ it certainly looks the part at first glance, and so the cricket fans among the OCC were excited to catch some replays of the Indian Premier League which was currently in full swing.
This made it all the more strange then, that on the TVs, to quote one member, “we were forced to endure MTV’s top 20 hits of 2011 whilst in the midst of one of the biggest cricket spectacles of the year.” In fact, our only respite from the strange music selection was when the power cut out on at least 3 separate occasions throughout the evening. Thankfully the other three guests did not seem to mind.
Unfortunately for Hit Wicket, the service and customer care were similarly lacking. Beers took a while to be brought out and were disappointingly flat. We should note that the customer care score would likely be higher had two girls not entered the venue halfway through our meal and attracted the attention of our server instead. A disappointing turn of events, it must be said – Shanghai has plenty of pretty girls, but only one Oakham Curry Club.
The food itself was a similar story. Even the photos hanging from the walls of the ever-cheerful Sachin Tendulkar threatened to break into tears as we were presented with plates of soggy poppadums to start off the meal. Much like English cricket in the 1990s, things continued to go from bad to worse as things progressed. Our esteemed members have naturally eaten a curry at many venues around the world, but until this night, never had we been served samosas with tomato ketchup as the only sauce.
Fearing the worst, the mains were ordered conservatively – a paneer, butter chicken, mutton seekh masala and aloo gobi. These too were underwhelming, with a noticeable lack of differentiation between the dishes.
Members hoping for a redemption story for Hit Wicket in the form of the bill were also left disappointed. The price of over 300 per head (including drinks) was agreed upon by all to be expensive given the performance of the venue on the other four categories.
As mentioned previously, Hit Wicket has a mezzanine area called the ‘Donald Bradman stand.’ Don Bradman was the best player to have ever played the game, with a superlative batting average of 99.94 almost twice as much as the next best player. Despite this, in his last ever innings he famously failed, being bowled second ball for 0.
Unfortunately, it seems that it’s this spirit of Don Bradman that Hit Wicket is channeling.
Overall, the OCC cannot recommend Hit Wicket. Its total average score of 4.3 sees it crash firmly into last place for the race for the 2018 CHOTY. Although we enjoy the concept of a restaurant that combines curry and sports, it is clear that this is not the answer.