Review: The Raj, Edinburgh

SOME OF YOU readers may be familiar with The Raj from the restaurant’s original premises in Leith, but after 30 plus years on Henderson Street, the Indian eatery has re-established itself in Blackhall.  Judging by the number of punters who walked passed and waved to the waiting staff, I’d say they were more than welcome in this part of town, but we would form our own verdict nonetheless.

Blackhall is a fairly built up residential area with not an awful lot to choose from in terms of sit-in eateries, so you could see the logic behind the move. Chatting with the owner beforehand was interesting, as he proudly stated that may of his regular customers from the Leith area now frequent the new site.  It was all shaping up to be a promising dinner, although it was fairly quiet this particular Thursday evening. 

I began with Tangri chicken (£3.50) and what a way to open. Grilled chicken drumsticks soaked in yoghurt with a dry spice rub served up flavours of garlic, ginger, green chilli and a hint of lemon that really delighted the taste buds.  Grilling the drumsticks created a light crust that utilised the skin of the bird and protected the juicy, tender meat that deserved a round of applause.  One of the best Indian starters I’ve had the pleasure of eating, a bucket of those bad boys with a cold beer would see this carnivore in heaven.

Sarah’s Lal Mirchi with chicken (£2.95) was an eye catcher during the selection process, as well as on arrival, so I was glad for the opportunity to sample it. The pleasantly fiery chicken morsels paired well with the tang from the house-made Bengal tiger sauce, which was mango chutney blended with spices; an idea I fully intend of stealing come curry night at my gaff. The meat was set upon some crispy onion bhajis that brought crunch to the dish and a soothing raita rounded off another impressive starter.

I enjoy discovering types of curry with different influences that have shaped Indian food. Chicken Cafreal originated from the Portuguese and is widely eaten in Goa according to the menu. At £8.95 my curry horizons were expanded when I was met with bags of my old friends ginger and garlic, a pleasant heat and beautifully executed chicken chunks.  I like when curry has a slightly drier, thick sauce and the notes of cumin and cinnamon made this very enjoyable indeed.  I’m not a particularly large eater and this portion was perfectly adequate for me, but if I had to pick a fault, perhaps a little more chicken would be needed to satisfy the larger appetite.

The menu offers a diverse range of fish and lamb, as well as chicken dishes and that deserves to be explored another time with Sarah opting for green Bengal masala chicken (£8.95).  Bursting with herby goodness, this dish was fresh and spot on spice-wise yet again.  It was light, with tender meat and an enjoyable heat that didn’t mask the other flavours in there. We shared a tasty vegetable pilau rice that was accurately cooked with nuttiness from chickpeas, crunch from cabbage and more greenery providing further freshness and flavour.  

I should mention the outstanding naan bread, too, which was light as a feather and packed with vampire-repelling amounts of garlic and sprinkles of fragrant coriander.

You can certainly see why The Raj has been a firm favourite in the capital for such a long and impressive amount of time.  The food was pretty much flawless throughout and the variety of dishes on the menu are a culinary treat that I look forward to exploring further.  The residents of Blackhall are extremely lucky that this restaurant decided to up sticks!  

The Raj Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tommy Miah's Indian Street Food Festival is taking place at The Raj throughout August as part of the Edinburgh festival, with traditional Indian dancing adding further spice to the tasty treats on offer.

For tickets and further information click here:

Address: 12 Hillhouse Road, Blackhall, Edinburgh, EH4 2AG
Phone: (0131) 332 2289