<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

Le Raj, Epsom Downs, Surrey KT17 3LB - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 17:41 31 May 2011 | UPDATED: 21:12 02 July 2014

Le Raj, Epsom Downs, Surrey KT17 3LB - restaurant review

Le Raj, Epsom Downs, Surrey KT17 3LB - restaurant review

Gone are the days when a curry was regarded as a bit of lads’ night decadence. Today, Indian cuisine sits comfortably alongside the finest dining in the top foodie guides – and it would be fair to say that a small corner of Epsom has had a hand in this trend. Matthew Williams pays a visit to legendary restaurant Le Raj

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2011

Restaurant reviewed: Le Raj, 211 Fir Tree Road, Epsom Downs, Surrey KT17 3LB Tel: 01737 371371

***

Verdict:
Food and drink 9
Service 10
Venue: 9

What we ate:

Starters
Malai Maach: codfish fillet marinated in light flavoured cardamom, £5.95
Chuto chingri: tiger prawns marinated with delicate spices, £5.60

Main courses
Morchana: marinated lean chicken cooked with hand ground roasted spices, green chillies, fresh coriander, £10.95
Kata gosht: lamb cooked with lentils, chillies and curry leaves, £9.95

Side dishes
Peaz pilaw: basmati rice with eggs, spring onion and parsley, £3.95
Khumbi bhaat: plain rice with mushrooms and green herbs, £3.95
Paneer nan: nan with chillies, mint, cheese and garlic, £3.50
Shak aloo: spinach and potatoes, £4.20

Desserts
Le Raj Caramelita Ice Cream, £5.95
Le Raj Malai, £5.65

Drinks
Vina Marro Rioja Crianza, Domeca De Jarauta, Spain (2007), £23.45

***

 

REVIEW: The reputation of Le Raj precedes it; stretching not just across Surrey, but right across the world (many will have heard the infamous story of the take-away order that came all the way from the USA; and yep, the customer paid for it to be flown over in case you’re wondering).

Certainly a mecca for the rich and famous, TV personality Chris Tarrant is one of many well-known regulars – and, in fact, a ‘trophy cabinet’ as you enter the restaurant houses tokens from other visiting celebrities, including Pierce Brosnan and members of Chelsea FC.

It’s not surprising really when you consider that as long as 20 years ago, when curry in this corner of England had all the gastronomic respectability of the local kebab shop, owner Enam Ali and his team of ‘culinary artists’ were already starting something of a revolution in Indian cuisine.

Also the founder of the British Curry Awards and long-standing chairman of the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs, in 2009 his efforts were recognised by the Queen with an MBE for his services to the industry. 

Today, you may barely be able to move for high quality Indian restaurants in Surrey, but that doesn’t appear to have quenched Le Raj’s heat.

Found in an affluent corner of Epsom Downs, while the entrance and bar is modern and stylish, the main dining area feels more like you’ve stepped into the old town hall, or at least some fashionable historic hotel – you half expect cream tea and scones, rather than poppadoms and chutneys.

The service was highly attentive from the start on the night we attended – a quiet Tuesday evening. Having been unburdened of our coats we were led to our table, well spaced from its neighbours with big furniture to cocoon you further.

Wine ordered, we delved into the comprehensive menu, which traverses traditional favourites to less well known Bengali dishes – ‘some inspired by my mother’s cooking; others by chefs at the royal Moghul courts,’ states the website.

A Michelin mention
Our starters, both fish dishes, were presented more like Michelin star fare – in fact, the restaurant does get a mention in that auspicious guide – and the Malai Maach codfish fillet, marinated in light flavoured cardamom, deserves special praise. My dining partner and I would happily have had seconds… and then thirds.

Delicious aromas wafting through the air signalled the arrival of the mains: gargantuan dishes filled with curry sans neon food colouring, egg fried rice with very obviously real egg (rather than the almost plasticy, erm ‘stuff’ that so often accompanies), shak alloo and nan.

All tasted as good as they smelt, although a word of warning on the spicing front: while my three-chilli morchana was perfect, a deep flavour with a pleasant rather than overpowering kick to it, my partner’s dish, chilli kata gosht, probably should have carried a rating of four on the night – delicious, but definitely eye-watering too!

Flames were quenched with post-curry ice cream, which proved to be an absolute winner, with caramel and crème brulée variations both a real treat.

Anticipation can often make expectations soar and the eventual reality seem somewhat underwhelming, but Le Raj fully lived up to its billing, laying on a feast fit for any king.


***

3 other great Indian restaurants in Surrey

Mystica
147-149 Station Road, Addlestone KT15 2AT: 01932 841682 
A stylish restaurant with a chic and cosmopolitan ambience. The kitchen combines authentic Indian flavours with a contemporary twist, and favourite dishes include the lamb rogan josh, chicken saali and the king prawn jalfrezi.

Massala
19 Anyards Road, Cobham KT11 2LW: 01932 865005
Set in a traditional timber-framed building, with a modern and stylish interior, Indian culture meets British tradition at Massala, where they embrace the flavours of five regions in a selection of delicious dishes.

The Shalimar
372 Malden Road, Worcester Park KT4 7NL: 0208 330 7990
The Shalimar opened over 18 years ago and has been going strong every since – once being named The Sun’s best curry house in Britain. They specialise in curries originating from northern India.

0 comments

More from Surrey Life

10:56

The RAF is 100 years old this month. Ken Delve, who served with the RAF for 20 years, explores Surrey’s airfields and the parts they have played in the history of aviation over the past century

Read more
10:03

Bassist and songwriter Jean-Jacques Burnel is a founder member of the band once known as The Guildford Stranglers. He speaks to Duncan Hall

Read more
09:40

One of the biggest foodie events in the Surrey calendar is back for 2018! Voting is open and this year’s event will take place at G Live, Guildford on Thursday 13 September 2018

Read more
09:35

Is there anything Mel Giedroyc cannot put her hand to? Despite parting ways with the Great British Bake Off when it moved to Channel 4 last year, she’s barely been off our TV screens; hosting Let It Shine, and Eurovision, as well as The Generation Game alongside her best pal and comedy sidekick Sue Perkins.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:34

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend: art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Surrey County Show has been an annual fixture since the 1950s and the 2018 show is set to be the biggest and best yet

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Whether it’s coronation chicken on sliced granary or a gluten free Victoria sponge, no sandwich works without the all-important filling!

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The vegetarian and vegan offering in Surrey seems to be improving by the week. Here are nine of the best restaurants and cafés for vegetarians and vegans in Surrey

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Small Designs is a collaboration between Ewhurst-based husband and wife team Deej and Small Carter, creating unique objects from reclaimed wood

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Surrey-based Love Water has produced a water cooler for supporters of every 2018 World Cup team and Surrey Life readers have the chance to win one

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cranleigh Preparatory School has announced its new Headmaster will be Neil Brooks, current Principal of Fulham Prep Schools and previously Head of Cothill House

Read more
Friday, April 13, 2018

Surrey, set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit. Throughout the open garden season you will find an array of stunning choices, many also serving delicious home-made teas to complete your visit. Gardening editor Leigh Clapp picks out a selection of her favourites

Read more
Friday, April 13, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search