There is a very good reason why curry is Britain’s favourite food. The food is bristling with numerous exotic spices that sets the tastebuds into overdrive and I’ve just had a taste of one of Britain’s best.
Literally beside West Dulwich railway station sits an exceptional restaurant and I challenge anyone not to come out of the establishment content with the food they’ve eaten or with the friendly service provided by the knowledgable brothers Shamsul and Nizamul Haque – managing director and manager respectively – who have made Chandni Raja the destination of choice for lovers of Indian cuisine for more than a decade.
I went along to Chandni Raja with my two sons on a Tuesday evening – about 7.30pm.
Now, I’m a vegetable biryani guy and whenever I venture into a curry restaurant for the first time, it’s that selection that allows me to make a comparative judgement on the quality of food on offer.
I’ve had some terrific biryanis and some so bad they barely register on the Lagan taste scale at all. I can happily say that the vegetable biryani at Chandni Raja was right up there at the top end.
The biryani rice was soft, fluffy and delicately spiced – every grain was separate – I’m not sure two grains were ever stuck together. That alone marks Chandni Raja out as a venue that must be explored. The vegetable curry was sublime – the portions more than sufficient – I was half-tempted to ask for a doggie bag to take some home. However my lads, Danny and Jake, stopped me. That’s the thing with teenagers, they love going out with their dad, but they just don’t want to be seen with him – it’s as if we are a breed that constantly seeks to embarrass them.
To be fair to them, they had no reason to embarrass me either. In fact they hardly said anything to me at all during the meal – they were too occupied with what was on offer on their plates.
The fact they ate it all, is, as any parent will testify, proved positive that the food was top class.
There is something for everyone at Chandni Raja, from the Chandni Raja Special where you can have whatever meat you like with prawns, to all the traditional favourites, right down to the humble dal masalla, which, while usually a side dish, was happily upgraded to a main meal – Jake’s choice. Danny loved his vegetable samosas as well as his egg fried rice.
As you can see from the pictures, the decor is as classy as the food, the purple scheme perfectly complementing the food to make for a truly satisfying eating experience.
The next time you are getting off at West Dulwich railway station, on the way home from a tiring day at the office, pop into Chandni Raja – it will be the best decision you made all day.
Paul Lagan was a guest at Chandni Raja.
134A Thurlow Park Road, West Dulwich London SE21 8HN
020 8761 9738
020 8670 1770