Good move for The Raj
Relocating from vibrant Leith to leafy Blackhall after 30 years may be a bold move; and one that seems to be paying off for The Raj.
Established by celebrity chef, Tommy Miah, in the capital in 1986, these days this Indian is inconspicuous in a line of shops on a busy thoroughfare into the city. In fact, you can easily drive past without realising. I certainly have.
Celebrating its one year anniversary in April, the Saturday night I visited saw the cosy, contemporary restaurant packed to the gunnels with diners and a regular flow of â€œtake-awayersâ€ â€“ and rightly so.
The food here is fresh, wholesome and feels positively healthy. Our coriander dip for the poppadoms was a vibrant green and tasted incredibly fresh. The mango chutney and other sauces were also delicious and whetted our appetites.
To kick off, my dining partner chose the Chicken Lal Mirchi â€“ chopped chicken breast marinated, grilled, mixed with chutney and served on a bed of crusty onion bhaji. Described on the menu as â€œquite healthyâ€, I wasnâ€™t sure if this was in jest or not â€“ there is certainly a vein of humour running through the offerings with â€œcurry in a hurryâ€ describing the take-away service.
My Mysore Bonda starter of fried dumplings served with a coconut chutney was different to any Indian food Iâ€™ve had, but it didnâ€™t tantalise our tastebuds in quite the same way as my partnerâ€™s starter, in fact it was a little dull in comparison. The coconut chutney was, however, extremely more-ish.
We both choose house specialities for our mains: my partnerâ€™s Macher Jhol fish curry contained just one fish type which made the dish slightly bland. The pilau rice to accompany was also a bit clumped together.
On the other hand, my aromatic lamb lived up to its menu description â€“ satisfying even the most demanding curry addict. It had a real depth of flavour with tender lamb, plenty of spices, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and yoghurt. It was described as â€œreally healthy and nutritiousâ€ on the menu so I polished my halo as well as polishing off every scrap on my plate.
Then came the surprise of the evening â€“ complimentary sweets. Squares of Indian-style fudge made with pistachio, a fruit-topped Laddo, Milk Barfi, Galab Jamun. I hadnâ€™t heard of any of these before, but by the way we wolfed down these little sweet treats, they were exactly the right quantity to round off a satisfying meal. And, just when we thought we were at capacity, a trolley of complimentary liquors and tea/coffee was wheeled over. Oh well, it would have been rude to say no…
I really think it depends on what you order at The Raj, but its relocation looks like it has been a good move: around 80% of previous customers have made the move too.
Appetisers: from Â£2.65 – Â£4.50; mains from Â£5.75; deserts – complimentary.
The Raj, 12 Hillhouse Road, Blackhall, Edinburgh. Tel 0131 332 2289.