I had the pleasure of heading back to the Raja in Cambridge last night. It’s been far too long since I was last here. In fact, it might have been at one of our last Cambridge Curry Community events where I last sat down at this little gem tucked away on King Street several years ago.
I say “tucked away”, but everyone knows the Raja. The restaurant has won numerous awards in it’s relatively short time in Cambridge. So many awards in fact, that their entire wall is covered in certificates!
This place may be small but they use the space excellently. I was surprised how many staff they managed to have running around in such a small area. The ratio of staff to customers was excellent and I was seen promptly throughout my meal. They’ve had new leather booths put in too, which really makes the place look more accomplished and put together.
The Raja isn’t just about good staff to customer ratios but are also incredibly warm, welcoming. Each member of stuff took the time to talk to me. This can’t be said for some places and it’s great to see such an excellent customer service which makes you want to keep coming back. The menu was a reasonable size and had everything the average customer would need.
They have a few interesting dishes on their menu which I have not seen anywhere else before. The one which stood out was their new papadum wraps. These are potatoes and chickpeas wrapped in crunchy papdums crisps for a reasonable £3.90. They reminded me of a crunchy snack sized masala dosa.
I had no idea what to expect when ordering them as I could not imagine the very fragile and brittle papdums used as a wrap but I was not disappointed. It is a very simple idea which worked really well. I highly recommend people try them out as they are a lot of fun and something a little different.
Speaking of papadums, I had some of these too. Their mango chutney which accompanied it was simply excellent. As was their very unique onion salad, which had a perfect balance of different vegetables (rather than being very onion heavy like a lot of other restaurants). The papadums looked home made and certainly a different texture to the ones I am familiar with.
I was dining before a friend birthday night out, so didn’t have the luxury of sitting around all evening trying the entire menu. I mainly came to try out their delicious new papadum wraps, which I managed to accomplish. I will have to make sure to spend more time sampling the menu on my next visit.
For my mains I decided to go for the…yup, you guessed it, the lamb vindaloo and mushroom rice! I make no apologies.
The food came out in good time. I really didn’t feel like I was waiting long at all as the staff were really good at talking to me (especially because I was dining alone tonight).
The food was presented excellently with lots of colour and vibrancy without the use of any artificial colouring. The vindaloo was quite spicy (as it should be) and was cooked in a different way to what I’m used too. I want to say it was cooked in a less creamy style like a lot of other Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants. It had a lot of freshly chopped vegetable such as spring onion on top to give it a real crunch. It’s certainly a different take on the vindaloo dish which works well and doesn’t disappoint.
The lamb was of a respectable quality. I wouldn’t say it was overly tender but didn’t offend either. The rice was executed perfectly with a generous portion.
I was glad to see hot towel and chocolate after the meal. The quality of the hot towel was really good. It was incredibly thick and just what was needed after a hot meal (especially since I was going out after!). No thin microwaves wet wipes here.
I want to thank the chaps at the Raja for a fantastic dining experience. You can really see how much hard work they’ve put in to creating a marvellous dining experience for their customers. I can see why they are so popular and have won multiple awards.
They have managed to do wonders with the little space they have in the restaurant and have presented it extraordinarily well. The team have transformed it into a well decorated and bustling dining experience with a warm and welcoming team who clearly take pride in adding their own personal touch. I get a real Brick Lane feeling from visiting with their intimate, high paced, and exciting experience from start to finish.
All the awards which smother their walls speak for themselves and considering the fierce competition in Cambridge these days, that speaks volumes.
I really look forward to coming back again in the future and trying some of their other courses on the menu. I particularly noticed the “mums fish curry” which I might have to try next time.
Thanks for reading!