On a Saturday night there’s nothing better than a freshly prepared curry and a chilled glass of white wine, and to satisfy my cravings I ventured to Le Raaj, in Chester-le-Street.
Situated just off A167, Le Raaj offers customers the best of both worlds; a stylish restaurant setting and a convenient take away service. On this occasion we fancied sitting in and when I arrived I was glad I’d booked a table in advance, as the foyer was bustling with people.
After waiting a few minutes we were shown to our seats. Although the main room was filled to the brim with diners, the room still felt spacious. The interior is light and airy, and while the red and gold hues boast a luxurious feel the decor is finished with contemporary features such as the neon purple bubble walls, which are a rather unique fixture.
From duck and seafood to lamb and chicken, food-wise there’s an abundance of dishes to choose from. And if curry isn’t what you’re craving, then there’s a variety of chef recommendations that offers something for every pallet.
For starters I went for the onion bhaji (£3.95), while my other half went for the tandoori mixed kebab (£4.25), and of course, no starter is complete without popadoms (50p), and we went for the spicy ones.
It’s a good job we love spice because we certainly weren’t prepared for the heat that the spicy popadoms were packing. Although we managed to polish the popadoms off, we took it in turns to down a pint of coke in a bid to extinguish the flames that were rising in the back of our throats.
Soon our starters had arrived and I was happy to find two larger-than-life onion bhajis staring up at me. For me onion bhajis must be soft on the inside, coated in a crispy layer and give an enjoyable crunch as you bite into it, and thankfully Le Raaj cooked these to perfection.
I cleared my plate within minutes and I could of easily ate the Bhajis again they were that good, however, it was on to our mains. Our table was lavished with bowls of curry and plates stacked high with keema rice and spicy chips. We dove straight in and piled our plates high with a selection of everything.
Although the curry was filled with fresh prawns and chunks of veg, the sauce itself was incredibly creamy. Infused with various herbs and spices, every single bite was bursting with flavour, and although it was a hot curry the heat wasn’t overbearing.
When it comes to mopping up the rest of your curry sauce, keema nans and chips are exactly what you need and we chose the latter. Thick, oven cut chips with a sprinkle of salt and mixed spices; these peri peri style chips definitely give those last mouthfuls a kick. Although you get can plain, I definitely recommend trying the spicy chips, as they take peri peri to a whole new level.
I usually find Indian food to be very heavy to the point where I’m rushing to unbutton my jeans, however, I found myself feeling perfectly content. So, once I’d used my complimentary hot cloth, I sat and sipped the rest of my wine while taking in the relaxing atmosphere.
Have you been to Le Raaj before? What’s your favourite Indian dish?
Sarah Jayne x