Sometimes the best things come in the most unlikely of packages. Frodo Baggins, black pudding, Rocky Balboa, Seabiscuit and The Raj Kinara are but a few.
The Raj Kinara has all the hallmarks of an average curry house. It’s located next to a caravan park with views over the grey South Wales coast. Its exterior could be likened to a leisure centre and its interior to a Las Vegas casino gaming floor; it’s even got a central water feature.
However, looks can be deceiving.
For the Raj know how to cook an absolutely marvellous curry. Their use of spicing is some of the most refined I’ve had in a curry house. Everything we ate was hugely portioned. And, the friendly and good-humoured service was as excellent as the food.
There was never really any doubt we were in for a treat. The reason being, we were visiting with an equally gluttonous friend whose favourite curry house happens to be The Raj. He has dinner from there on average twice a week and could probably recite the menu off by heart.
To start, fresh poppadoms and chutneys kept my rapacious appetite at bay.
I began with the Chicken Nazakat (£5.95). Moist chicken, fried onions and peppers were delicately spiced with a hint of garlic and star anise.
Mrs G began with the Murghi Kufti (£4.50). These crisp little patties contained an unctuous filling of potato, egg and shredded pieces of chicken. They were spiced with fresh coriander amongst other things.
One of our friends ordered the Reshmi Chicken (£5.50) - sizzling marinated chicken served with mushrooms and green peppers. The other ordered Jhinga ‘E’ Garlic (£7.75) – a whopper of a tandoori grilled king prawn marinated in garlic and mint, and served with fried onions and peppers.
My main course was the kind of dish which makes a 40 minute drive for a week night curry seem like a sensible idea. Nallika Salon (£12.95 with rice included) was the daddy of slow cooked lamb shanks served in a hearty medium spiced sauce of chickpeas. The family-sized lamb shank melted in the mouth. It’s a testament to the portion size that our gluttonous friends often share the dish between the two of them. As expected, I singlehandedly demolished the dish with gusto and finished off Mrs G’s main course too.
Mrs G loved her Chicken Rajshahi (£9.50) - Tender chicken and soft pieces of stewed mango were served in a mildly spiced sauce with bags of coconut. I’m not normally a fan of sweet curries of the korma and passanda ilk but on this occasion I licked the bowl clean.
Rice and naan were as good as expected. A fluffy keema naan (£2.95) was groaning with a generous amount of spiced meat stuffing.
|Foreground: keema naan, Background: my huge main course|
The Raj is a Rolls Royce of a local curry house. It’s the kind of place you’d love to have as your local for a weeknight takeaway or a Friday night curry. It’s a shame it’s such a long drive from my neck of the woods as it’s the only reason I won’t be visiting more often.
Address - Raj Kinara, Fontgary Park, Fontgary Road, Rhoose, CF62 3DS
Telephone - 01446 711 711