25th July 2016 6.30pm
A mainstay of Leith for over 30 years, we went along to their new location in Blackhall to see what delights they had to offer. Surprisingly, the Raj was easily accessible from the city centre by bus, only taking 15 minutes (not too dissimilar to Leith).
The menu offers some of the usual favourites alongside some rarer dishes. Whilst we perused the menu we had a poppadom each. The pickle tray was interesting as the mango chutney had Bengali spices in it which gave it a lovely warmth, there was the standard onion raita and an unusual but delightful apple chutney, which would be lovely at any time. We then finally settled on our order. I went for classic onion bhajis for my starter following by a chicken Birmingham balti, which I couldn’t resist as a balti was the first type of curry I ever had. My dining companion went for roast potato and cashews for starter and green Bengali masala curry for her main. We both added a garlic and coriander naan. Whilst we waited for our starters we were treated to a surprise dish. This was to show off some of the street food the restaurant is doing as part of the festival in August (see here for more information). These were fried flour balls with a beetroot dip and were totally moreish. A nice surprise and something I would happily eat again.
The starters came out and we tucked in. Both were set with a little side salad and had accompanying sauces. My bhajis had a flatish appearance but were tasty and well spiced. I was quite jealous of the roast potato and cashew dish on the other side of the table. It was quite a hot dish but really flavoursome.
Onto the mains. Nice tea light warmers were brought out and our serving dishes placed on top. My balti was delicious. It was not what I would recognise as a balti as it was a little hotter than I was expecting but nevertheless it was truly a good curry and the chicken was incredibly moist. On the other side of the table my friend was thoroughly enjoying her curry. She said it started sweet and then developed into a bit of heat. We both couldn’t believe how light the naan breads were. All in all a very satisfying course.
The restaurant gives complimentary Indian sweets which we managed to fit some of down the sides – happy days! They were very sweet but also quite light. To top it off coffees and liqueurs were offered on a rather fine trolley. I abstained by my friend partook in a Tia Maria which I think finished her off after her kingfisher beer!
The gentleman who looked after us for much of the evening was friendly and helpful. The restaurant is great for locals in the Blackhall area (and they also offer take away) but also worth a trip out from the centre. We really enjoyed our visit and hope to be back again.
Food – 8/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 9/10
Overall – 34/40
Would I eat here again? I hope so!
Cost – complimentary but around £30 for 2 poppadoms and chutneys, two starters and mains plus a beer and Tia Maria.
Please note that whilst this was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Megan from Crimson Edge PR for arranging.