The Raj Tandoori is situated just off the Bigg Market in Newcastle’s city centre and offers a set 3 course lunch served from 12.00 noon to 2.00pm (£5.95)
On first impression the restaurant was clean and welcoming however after sitting down I notice that underneath the table runner the tablecloth had not been cleaned for some time and was covered with curry stains which was not at all appealing. The lunch menu consisted of a good range of starters and main courses which would suit most people wanting a quick lunch time curry, which we did.
Mr Gourmand chose Onion Bhaji as a starter which was served with a side salad. Usually when you order Onion Bhaji you are presented with a mint yoghurt dip which ranges from white to bright yellow, this time however a red sweet sauce accompanied the Bhaji which was rather tasty. Onion Bhaji’s can often be hit and miss, this time the Raj Tandoori got it right, the Bhaji’s were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just how we like them.
I opted for Garlic Chicken on Puri which is something I would not usually choose on a menu and I was pleasantly surprised. The dish was gently spiced, I would have preferred a little more spice as I felt the dish was lacking something, it did contain an awful lot of chicken so maybe this was the reason?. The garlic taste was not as overpowering as I imagined it would be and the whole dish filled the plate and after finishing I was actually rather full!
Mr Gourmands main course was Chicken Madras which is a dish he usually avoids as previous experience has proved it slightly over-spiced for his liking, but because he wanted a change he thought he would try it out. The meal was actually a little bit milder than he expected and he thought there seemed to be something lacking. After trying his main course myself to understand his complaint, I too felt underwhelmed by what was a bland taste which lacked the layers of flavour that the best curries all possess.
I went for the Chicken Biriani which came with an accompanying vegetable curry. The chicken was moist and beautifully flavoured and the sweetness of the curry complemented the rice. I find it strange that Indian restaurants do Biriani dishes so differently, some places have a really spicy curry, others have the spice in the rice unfortunately this biriani seemed to be lacking in spice and probably would rate a 0 on a scale of 0 – 10, in terms of spice that is.
We both finished the meal with a coffee with cream but to Mr Gourmands horror there was no after eight mint!
A three course meal for £5.95 in the Gourmand opinion is excellent value, however the food was nothing special and we probably wouldn’t visit on an evening or a lunch time anytime soon.