Can We Toque? Restaurant. The Raj

I have discovered far better Indian food since the days when as students we would dare each other to eat fiery, but otherwise tasteless, concoctions, washed down with as much cold beer as we could manage.  That was self-harm, not dining.

My palate was awoken when I lived in Hong Kong and first tasted exquisite gourmet food at an Indian restaurant there, which soon became a regular haunt.

Never having been to India – unless you count a stop-over in what was then Bombay – I am still a firm fan of good Indian/Cape Malay/Durban curries.  Spice is nice.

The best venue for Indian food I have found in Gauteng is The Raj, Waterfall Corner.  It is a chain, but I like the one in Midrand

On a recent visit with my economist mate Macro-Mike, we had a very enjoyable meal – a couple of dry tandoori dishes with naan to start, and two mains in gravy (one lamb and one chicken) with some rice. Not one to resist good food, I also ordered a few more dishes to take away.

The starters were moist and tasty, a lamb sheekh kebab and a chicken tikka. The main dishes were well-seasoned and full of flavour. We had a lamb Madras and a chicken tikka masala. Yes. I know this chicken recipe is a British invention and not an Indian original. Who cares? It tasted great.

The main dishes were missing the unpleasant extra sugar which one does find quote often in some Indian dishes elsewhere. I can’t explain it, but I condemn it.  Good grub.

They also have Thai dishes on the menu at The Raj. One day I will give them a try as there aren’t many great Thai places to choose from in Gauteng.

On the negative side, the Raj service was pretty slow and sloppy, and there was not much of a welcome either.

We had some excellent unwooded chardonnay from Uitsig, and some not-great Cab Sav from Hartenberg.

I suspected the bottle had been transported or stored for a while in high heat, because it tasted unnaturally sweet and over-fruity.

Either that or they had emptied out the good stuff and syringed in some slush. I doubt the latter. The Raj has a very good wine list, and seems to take pride in it.

I was a idiot. Even though the wine was cooked rather than corked, I should still have declined it. My idiocy meant that we drank a rather expensive red wine which tasted like plonk.

It didn’t ruin the meal, but it didn’t help, either.

Will I return? Oh, yes. Will I be more alert when they pour the wine to taste?  I will indeed.

Expensive lesson learned.

Rating: I give it a 4*

Key to the Ratings….
1*.  Dog food is nicer
2*. Cat food is nicer
3*. Not bad if Woolworths is sold out of ready meals.
4*. I like it
5*. I love it. Not to be missed
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