Festival of Food (FOF) is kicking off in May 2018! Watch out for the brochure invitations in your mail box as they will start to arrive soon. The app is already available. You can search your app store to access the app now.
Previously I have always tried to take advantage of the offers in FOF, simply because of the reasonable price and the variety of dishes we can try. Yesterday, Tina and I started our first adventure this year, British Raj.
British Raj is located in the quiet western suburb, Torrensville, specialising in Southern Indian cuisine. Unlike Northern Indian cuisines which are dry, the southern cuisines have much more liquid curry and moist. The bistro has opened for almost eight years and has been an icon in the western suburbs.
The decor of the restaurant is quite classic with a “bar” in the front and sets of tables at the back and along the corridor. There are lots of framed arts, either traditional, modern or hybrid between the two, giving a really nice feeling of the place.
British Raj has participated in the FOF for a number of years. The FOF menu at the bistro is a set menu with naan, an entree platter for sharing, a main each and a petite four. The menu is priced at $27.00 per person. I always start with my favourite drink, Lemon Lime Bitters : P.
Garlic Naan – I am always a big fan of any good naan bread. To me, the quality of naan is a standard to test if a restaurant is really taking care of its customers. Naan is not hard to make but a good quality naan is hard to find as well. This particular one is just absolutely so tantalising! The soft bread, the crunchy charred base, the fragrance and the garlic flavour. It is just absolutely fantastic!
Entree Tasting Plate
The entree tasting plate consisted of three individual dishes for sharing. They are (from left to right anticlockwise) skewered lamb with almond, garlic and ginger; chicken lollipop cooked in special spices & potato and pea tikki.
Out of the three dishes, the one I loved the most was the lamb skewer. The tenderest possible lamb was grilled to perfection and every bite gave me enough juice to water the mouth. Be careful it is hot though – the flavour was great at this point. One can easily detect the ginger and garlic flavour. When combined with the slightly hot sauce, the flavour was lifted to the next level! Great job!
The chicken lollipop was Tina’s favourite. It is a young girl’s fantasy to enjoy lollipop and this one is a chicken. Slightly spicy on the palate, this dish fully develops its flavour once the meat is fully in the meat. It was deep friend as most of these chicken lollipops do but the spiciness extracted from this dish was absolutely tasty! Combine with the sauces or with the salad is recommended to refresh the palate.
For the mains, Tina decided to try the South Australian King Prawn cooked in a mustard sauce and I opted for the Lamb Rogan Josh.
Lamb Rogan Josh with Kashmiri spices
When you think of lamb rogan josh, what do you actually think of? For me, it’s the taste and the lamb that will attract me. This lamb rogan josh is one of the very top ones I ever had, served with good quality lamb pieces/tubes in the curry sauce and yogurt. The lamb was cooked as moist and tender as it can possibly get to with no lamb game flavour at all! The curry was slightly spicy to exactly how I liked it and the lamb is covered under oil. The term ‘rogan’ actually means oil! The red oil, partially from the lamb fat, preserved the flavours all onto the meat and when you mixed the dish well, a fine consistency of the paste could be obtained. When served with rice, this dish just could not get any better! Absolutely love it!
The chef was generous enough to give us a complementary fish curry to try … oh … man!
South Indian fish curry with barramundi, ginger, garlic and curry leaf
To be honest, I never had a fish curry that used deep fried fish. This dish used deep fried barramundi chunks and braised in the curry. British Raj makes all their paste onsite using fresh produce and the flavour was just divine! I could easily taste the crunchiness from the deep fried fish as well as the taste diffused from the curry into the fish. When mixed with rice, the dish gave an excited combination on the palate. The ginger, the garlic and the curry leaf combined really well, not only to bring out the flavour of the fish but also to complement each component of this dish. Highly recommended!!!!
I AM SAVING THE BEST TO THE LAST – THIS IS A NO QUESTION ASKED, MUST TRY DISH!!!!!
South Australian King prawns cooked in a mustard sauce
This is the unarguably the best Indian dish I ever experienced so far in life! It is quite unique in a sense that you don’t get to see it anywhere in Adelaide! This is Chef Suman’s secret recipe. To be honest, when the dish came out, I was not happy with its presentation with all ingredients squashed together. Smelt really chilli – my first impression. Then, first bite, b****dy good (!) and there you go, the second bite, the third etc etc.
You must try this dish! You must try this dish! You must try this dish!
Okay, I’ve said the important thing for three times. My readers don’t see me normally praising a dish, but this one was incredibly top notch although it looked like street food on presentation. It was just a pleasure! The tender south aussie king prawns are peeled and cooked in genuine mustard oil. The prawn was cooked to perfection, full of juicy and amazingly this dish was NOT hot. It had the smell of the chilli but what left on the palate was only fragrance, peppery and soothing. Even when thinking about it now, my mouth still become watering. Tina, who normally eats minimal curry, finished the whole plate without any leftovers, except the chilli obviously. This showed how much love we had towards this dish. You can serve it with rice OR save some naan from the beginning to use here ：）
This dish is not formally on the bistro’s a-la-carte menu yet so you can only try it with the Festival of Food menu!
After tasting all the curry dishes, I would truly agree that Chef Suman is a true master of spices. He balanced the food quality, the flavour, the spiciness, the fragrance and the after taste extremely well and these five aspects complemented each other. Every single dish tasted differently, uniquely and exhibited distinctive flavours that are hard to forget. A true star!
Complementary rice with the curry mains.
For dessert, we suppose to get the petite fours but because last night was the first FOF session, the chef gave us the below dessert to try.
Gulab Jamun with ice cream
Gulab Jamun (right) is a sweet sugar ball or dumpling. I’ve tasted so many different types of this over the years as my best friend in high school some 10 years ago was Indian. Some of the gulab jamun in Adelaide are overly sweet and covers the flavour of the ball completely. However, this particular one is pretty decent. The ball was served warm with moderate sweetness and I was easily able to detect the nutty flavours. When combined together with the ice cream, the warm and the cold together drew a much more colorful art on the palate, leaving a very pleasant after-taste and cleaned the curry palate really well. Recommended!
The FOF menu is a fantastic way for diners to try out different dishes of various restaurants with very affordable prices. My dinning experience in the British Raj simply showed me how important we should not pre-label a cuisine. Is butter chicken or beef vindaloo the only type of Indian dishes? Obviously not!
All these dishes served here at British Raj for FOF showcased what we know so little about Indian cuisine. They are different to what we labelled as ‘Indian food’ and are quite vibrant in flavour. I wouldn’t recommend enough for my readers to take advantage of Festival of Food and experience yourself on what I so called amazing dishes from the master of spices at British Raj!
170 Henley Beach Rd
Torrensville, SA 5031
P 08 8354 4881