Saturday 31 May 2008

Hason Raja - Bloomsbury, London

The menu at Hason Raja is, to my taste, ideal. The food is largely Bangladeshi / North Indian, hearty and robust with liberal use of chilli and unground whole spices and portions, it transpired, are about the right size.

There are plenty of tandoori items among the starter selection. I enjoyed Salmon Tikka smothered with a smooth, sandy green herb paste but one could opt for charcoal smoked Monkfish, Brocolli, King Prawns.

Main dishes are classic. Anari Champ (Lamb with star ainse and pomegranate), Rara Rogan Gosht, Meat Shatkora (with wild lemon), Chicken Nilgri (with a prickly, minty spinach blend), Murgh Jalfrezi. I decided on Jungle Mache, a spicy Korai like curry tasting of mild, sweet capsicum, tangy garlic tomatoes with fiery peppercorns, bittersweet cardamom, liquorishy cloves.

Lots of good vegetable dishes too and a mustardy, succulent Bhindi Masala was great. Meanwhile Pilau rice proved slightly audente and just right.

A restaurant I'm pleased to have found - it would be a fine local as prices are OK (£25 a head with a glass or two of wine). Apparently it is Ricky Gervais' favourite, two floors should be enough to accomodate his list of celebrity 'mates'.

FOOD (& DRINK): 4.5

Willp2328 rating: 8/10

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