My Food Place of the Week: Raja Monkey

I have seen many of my fellow bloggers do reviews of Raja Monkey over the last couple of months, so of course I had to go undercover and see what the fuss was about.

The restaurant has an authentic indian vibe to it with the worn wooden planks on the wall, lassi glasses used for water and indian paraphilia everywhere. It has the feeling of a wooden shack and goes well with the street food cafe vibe that they want to create.



It is located on Stratford Road, which seems a little out of the way but it isn't hard to get to.


We were given Poppadoms whilst we waited for our food. The poppadoms were crispy and fresh, the chutneys they came with, also tasted homemade and tongue tastic. There was a Diced Onion Relish, Mango Chutney, Yogurt and Mango Pickle. I liked the containers that they were in too, normally they don't have that so that was quite quirky. I particularly like the mango chutney but wished it had had a touch more spice to give my tongue that zing.

For starters we shared a Masala Dosa. I am a huge fan of dosa so I always snap up the chance to try it wherever I can. This one in particular was filled with a sweet potato and potato with mustard seeds and a mixture of spices. I found the South Indian crepe to be too thick, I am used to them being quite thin and crispy. Also I found the potatoes to be slightly hard, however I loved the spicy tomato chutney it came with and the coconut chutney was also nice, also I liked the way it was presented on the plate on a banana leaf.

For our mains, we both chose Thalis, which literally means plate but the dish is known to be one dish of 6 parts.. I chose the South Indian Thali, which is described as a "Piquant fish kari, salmon simmered in coconut milk tempered with mustard seed & curry leaves. Served with veg, dhal and plain dosa". Starting with the dhal, let me just say I love dhal, it is one of my favourite things to eat because it is light and simple, it can be eaten as soup or with a chapati, rice or naan, absolute perfection. Anyway, I found this dhal to be very runny and not properly cooked because the lentils were sticking to my teeth. It just needed to be blasted for another ten minutes and it would be lovely. The Piquant Fish Kari was beautiful, the salmon melted in your mouth and worked so well within the slightly spicy sauce. However when it arrived it was cold, so I had to alert the waiter of this, who happily heated it for me. The veg was amazing too, this in particular was Aloo Gobi, which is potato and cauliflower, it was lovely and perfect. The rice was overcooked and the dosa was thick like before. My favourites were the salmon dish and the aloo gobi.

My mum had the Moghuls Korma Thali, well that is our surname so you know it had to be tried. She was quite disappointed, especially with the korma because it is too bland, in her opinion. The waiter was so good when we said this that he offered to bring her an alternative and she chose the Rajasthani option of "Smokey Mutton cooked with tomato, ground red chilli, whole cardamom and cloves", which she much preferred.

Food - 2/5
A great concept but the execution is poor, I don't think this food is for someone who is used to this kind of food.

Dairy-free options? - 5/5
There were options for me and the waiter happily checked to make sure it was dairy free.

Service - 5/5
One thing that was so amazing was the service, the waiter we had couldn't do enough for us and was very accomodating. So much so, we left a tip, which is a big deal for me.

Cleanliness - 5/5
No messy tables or dirt in site, the staff were on the ball.

Location - 3/5
A tad off the track but parking is a real issue, we had to circle for a while to find a space.

Value for Money - 4/5
For 1 starter and 2 mains, we paid around £30. Which isn't bad for the portion size but a tad too much for the lack of quality.

Is it worth trying? 
Yes, if you want something different and haven't tried anything like this before.

Pros
Something different and great service

Cons
Not authentic food and parking is a problem.

Have you tried this place? What did you think?

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