Sunday, April 13, 2014

Raja - King Street.

The Cambridge Curry Crew decided to try the brand new Raja on King Street.
From the outside the place looks quite nice though is easy to miss when walking past. Once inside you are welcomed by friendly staff and reasonable yet minimalist decoration. It is missing a lot of that traditional Indian style which adds to much atmosphere to a standard Indian yet fails to fit in to the category of those modern looking Indians you see so often now days.
It almost feels like a white room with Indian stuff stuck on it. None of the less the place looked clean and was very far from ghastly!

The place is smaller than I though by looking at it from the outside but still large enough to seat a large part of need be. I would recommend booking in advance as it looks like it could fill up quickly. 
The menu was well presented and done in a way which makes it incredibly easy to understand. They put food in to different categories which is great, especially for people who arent sure what they wanted. I would have liked to have seen clearer labeling on the Vegetarian dishes though. Over all the menu was one of the most well presented and easiest to understand I have ever seen, which was great to see. 

The food took a while to come out, nothing terrible but just longer than most places. The place was quite busy for its size so I have put it down to that. it was a Saturday night so youd think they would have prepared for this. The poppadoms were slightly disappointing. I had to ask for lime pickel as extra and none of the other four sauces really managed to wow me. They were quite liquid and lacked good flavour and texture.

The main course however was sensational. Though I would say the portions were quite small in comparison to other places, the Saag Aloo was some of the best I have ever tasted. So many places fail to get this right, but they nailed it. The vindaloo  was incredibly delicious and went down a treat, though I know a lot of restaurants want to cool down a lot of these hot curries for the masses, I found my vindaloo incredibly mild. If you are after a hot curry here I would suggest asking for their curry hot when ordering, dont get caught out.
Even though my vindaloo was under the "hot category" on their well presented and well labelled menu, it was anything but!
The beer on tap was Kingfisher, which is one of my favourites, but anything other than that is in bottles. I am very sad to say that the beer was £4 a pint which is incredibly expensive, even by Cambridge standards.

Location wise this place does have a purpose. There arent many Indians in the area beyond a 15 minute walk in Cambridge, which is handy if you are down King Street a lot. There is no free parking in the area and not any decent paid parking either, which sadly is something I have to mark them down for. Expect to add an extra few pounds on to the cost of the meal unless you live in Cambridge for parking/public transport.
Overall, this place didnt blow me away. The food was very good if you ignore the poppadoms, the service was very friendly though quite slow, but the food was good value. Sadly it let itself down with expensive beer, so as you can tell it was an Indian of complete contrast. One place it would excel and another area it would let itself down.
The decoration and lay out was something to be desired and didnt seem to fit in to any style of traditional or modern Indian. This place is pretty average the whole way through, though by no means a bad place. I think the main problem with it is there are so many other better places in Cambridge I would recommend over it. That being said, if you are in the area, live close by or just fancy a quick curry while drinking down King Street then this place might be for you.

3 out of 5.