If you like to look your dinner in the eye before you tuck in, a new restaurant opened on London Road this summer that’s right up your street. It’s dedicated to the mighty prawn, and seafood lovers are in for quite a treat with prawns and other seafood served in myriad delicious ways in a relaxed diner-style restaurant a stone’s throw from Leicester train station.

Jimmy Christelis started his restaurant business in Capetown, South Africa, in the early 1980s. The ambitious entrepreneur experimented with cooking techniques and flavours from across Africa until he developed what has become known as “the addictive taste”. In 1991, the first restaurant opened in Johannesburg and the business has since expanded worldwide. The Leicester restaurant, which is housed in the building that music lovers will remember as Sheehan’s music shop, is the first Jimmy’s in the UK. 

The obvious question is: why Leicester?

“Leicester is my home town,” explains Imran, owner of the London Road restaurant. “I ate at a Jimmy’s restaurant when I was visiting the United Arab Emirates and immediately loved the concept and thought it would be popular back home, so I decided to bring Jimmy’s to the UK.”

This franchise venture has started out well to say the least, with the restaurant being packed to the rafters at lunch and dinner times and already attracting plenty of larger groups celebrating special occasions. Imran says: “Reaction so far has been incredible, because this restaurant is the first of its kind in this area, being focused on seafood.” 

Jimmy’s Killer Prawns certainly lives up to the hype. The prawns themselves are huge, meaty and juicy. They’re perfectly cooked with Jimmy’s famous blend of addictive herbs and spices and simply served with a trio of dips and either rice or fries. You can quite imagine that you’re in a seafood shack on a South African beach, bathed in sunshine, eating seafood that was caught in the nearby sea just moments earlier. It’s that good.

Prawns are served in a variety of styles, including the delicious Mozambique Queen Prawns, which are served in a rich, creamy coconut sauce. There are plenty of other dishes too, from salads and pastas to sushi and the wickedly indulgent lobster thermidor. But the prawns are the true star here, and I advise first-timers to start with the Killer Platter to experience the classic dish that people are travelling from as far afield as Birmingham and Bristol for.

Drinks-wise, there are all the usual hot and cold soft drinks you’d expect, as well as an impressive range of mocktails. I sampled both the Kiwi Green and the Virgin Colada and they’re both deliciously moreish and work surprisingly well with the spicy, flavoursome seafood.

The global success of Jimmy’s Killer Prawns looks set to be repeated in this country and it might not be long before Jimmy’s is a household name in the UK. Get yourself along to this flagship restaurant sharpish to see what all the fuss is about.

Get your killer crustacean fix at 58a London Road.

Photography by David Wilson Clarke

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Ruth is a communications professional and freelance writer. Her writing reflects her adventures as a foodie, travel addict and arts festival aficionado. She’s traversed Leicestershire and Rutland reviewing restaurants for Food & Drink Guides and writes uber-local blog Clarendon Spark.

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