Thursday, 18 November 2010

Spice up your life... Raj Of India

I love curry. Curry probably doesn't love me, because I don't mess about; I eat it all up, cleaning my plate with peshwari naan.

After being full of enthusiasm and hunger for regularly blogging about finding the best curry in Shepherd's Bush I have featured only one lonely review to date, Ajanta Tandoori. This is my second, Raj of India on Shepherd's Bush Road.

Located very close to where Mo and I dwell the lights of the Raj have long called out to me and what better excuse to indulge in some spice than Mo's twenty-something-ed birthday. On the night in question we actually made our way with a slight wobble to the Raj of India as it was the seemingly perfect sequel to the comedy night at Ginglik (to be blogged about). I do love a good local weekday night out in Shepherd's Bush.

The welcome was charmingly typical of curry houses in UK. Doors held open for you, chairs pulled out, napkins rested on your lap, inner thigh stroked as they do so... kidding. There was no thigh-stroking. But there were poppadom condiments on our table already, a total palette tease. An extra bonus was that they included my favourite coconut chutney which i could literally pour down my throat until it re-emerged out of my nostrils and ear holes. We didn't have to wait too long for poppadoms to scoop up the chutney and coconut and chilis and wash it all down with Cobra on draft. I was also charmed by high chintz factor demonstrated in the general decor and elaborate cutlery and plates. These with the thick patterned carpet which I'm confident had been in place since the restaurant opened in 1996, left the restaurant pleasantly lacking in pretention.

We skipped starters and both ordered different chicken mains. Mo ordered a House Speciality Achari Chicken Masala and I went in big choosing a Chicken Balti Masala (medium hot), which I haven't had I think since I went to a-rough-around-the-edges-BYO-booze delicious curry house in Birmingham, which I actually believe is roughly where the dish originates from. Perhaps this is why I was left a little disappointed with my choice, I can pretty much cope with a "hot" dish as long as there is good flavour there, and sadly compared to Mo's there wasn't the flavour injection I was craving. The balti was certainly rich but more in the "stewed" sense as opposed to layered flavours. Luckily for me, Mo is a sharer and so my manners were thrown out the window and I enjoyed taking advantage of this as her dish was very good. We shared peshwari and plain naans (good but not the best I've had) a Bombay Aloo and yet more Cobra.

Though there was nothing wrong with the meal I wasn't as impressed as I had hoped to be after hearing very good reviews from other Bush-ites. On the plus side the service was excellent complete with "very hot" towels. The total cost was reasonable (around £38.00 if I remember rightly) and we left content, with full bellies and certainly more of a wobble to our walk so I will award Raj of India 6.5 out of 10 poppadoms. Seeing as it is virtually an extension of our living room (and we sharply noticed it does takeaway til late) I expect I'll have the opportunity soon to try a different main course very soon, maybe even sans wobble.

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