Raj of India - London, England, UK

London seems like an eternity ago now, but this meal seems to still stick in my head pretty vividly. Cracker and I went out on one of our awkward dinner searches together. I seem to always try to act a little more crass around him. In fact I think he may bring the best out of all of us. In any case that's neither here nor there. Indian was our quest, and I've been told that the Indian food in the UK is better than in India and I've never been to India. After seeking out the restaurant our concierge suggested us and coming up empty handed we stumbled upon Raj of India. Isn't it great when things just work out?

An Assortment of Condiments
The great and not so great thing about Indian foods is, if you're not careful, you're going to end up worshiping the porcelain gods for a day or two. To me that's just adding a level of excitement to eating!

Each of these condiments has such a different flavor. The orange grainy looking stuff is coconuty, the tomato looking stuff is very sour, the brown sauce is made of tamarind and is very sweet, there is yogurt sauce, a mint sauce, and just some basic marinated veggies. It's all very good, and I'm sure they are all meant to be paired with specific dishes. Hell if I know though.

Chicken Tikka
I'm accustomed to getting some sort of appetizer when I eat Indian food because my eyes always seem to be bigger than my stomach. For some reason, even though I've NEVER finished my entree at an indian restaurant, I always fail to remember to order less. This chicken tikka, was the best I've ever had. The smokey chicken with a touch of sourness and caramelized onion was the perfect jumpstart for my palate.

Naan is just simple Indian bread that is freshly made to order here at Raj, and similar to the pita bread of the Greeks. It's just happens to be smokier and all around tastier. No offense pita bread lovers!

Balti Lamb Massala / Massaman Curry with Chicken
As quoted from Raj of India's website. . . "Balti is a deep dish in which the food is prepared. The curry differs from normal curries because the exotic collection of fresh spices and herbs are used, creating a thicker richer and distinctive flavor." That pretty much sums it up. I ordered it extra spicy and personally challenged the kitchen to make me sweat. They won. Ouch!

--Joe Kwon

For more info on Raj of India click here.