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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Dining at Le Raj, Epsom Downs - a Mughal culinary institution

I think that it's fair to say that GB is a country in love with the cuisine of the Indian sub-continent, Bangladesh and Pakistan - wrapping all this huge variety of cuisine up as a 'curry'. We have, in no small part, to thank Enam Ali of Le Raj for this love affair. Opening his Epsom Downs restaurant over three decades ago with the ambition, "To showcase the true height of Mughal cooking to British diners."

Not only have he and his staff elevated the cuisine at his own restaurant, by starting the British Curry Awards, he's encouraged many others to do the same. We've come a long way from the '3 pot curry' houses of the 1960s and 70s. In fact, Le Raj was also one of the first Indian establishments to be granted membership to Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an International Association of Gastronomy established in over 75 countries.

Such is its reputation, that Le Raj has played host to A-list celebrities, Politicians and Royalty; a pretty remarkable feat for a restaurant in the suburbs. And this winter it opened it's doors to us!

I kicked off the evening with a lovely champagne cocktail, whilst Alex opted for a craft beer. We sipped these, and nibbled on home-made chutneys and poppadums' whilst we dithered over what to chose from the menu. Having asked the knowledgeable waiter's advice, Alex chose the 'legendary bhaji' served with home-made yogurt, and I had scallops with delicate sauces. Aren't these pretty?

Fluffy naans and perfect basmati rice accompanied our main course dishes, with a side vegetable dish. These may all look a similar colour, but the taste sensation of dish was quite unique. My King prawns were cooked perfectly; it's so easy to over-cook these and make them tough. Whilst Alex's chicken dish was masterfully spiced.

I was too full for a dessert, but Alex couldn't resist one. This was an elevated interpretation of a Gulab jamun, served with ice cream, pomegranate seeds and edible flowers, and a chocolate straw.

This was a delicious meal, and the staff were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Definitely worth a visit if you don't live too far or are staying in the area. You may even bump into someone famous whilst you're there!

Address: 211 Fir Tree Road | Epsom Downs, Surrey | KT17 3LB -

Open Seven Days a Week - Lunch & Dinner 12pm- 2.30pm - 5.30pm - 11pm



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