The Days of the Raj has had a restaurant in Gosforth (opposite Asda), for many years now. It is a sit-in restaurant but also serves up a takeaway. I’ve got to admit that I have had a love-hate relationship with the place. Last time I went to order the British meal of choice Chicken Tikka Masala it was sweet… Very sweet, it was almost like the jar of sugar had fallen into it. As a result, we haven’t been back for around 3 years.
However, my Mum and Dad loved it here and would visit at least once per month. And as I’d offered to go out for dinner with my mum as a treat for her, before I knew it she’d booked up a table for two.
The Days of the Raj
The restaurant is located between Gosforth Academy and the American Golf. It has a handful of parking spaces at the front and a few more around the back. Although the ones at the front are painted a little tightly together, so I’d prefer to park it in the rear. Upstairs you’ll find the bar area and restaurant. It is a very open sizeable space and quite deceiving from the outside and entranceway.
My Mum has a habit of going out for a meal and being back into the house within one hour, so I was desperate to try and break this routine. She is stuck in her ways, but I needed to try my best.
As we sat down she says “well I know what I’m going to have!”. The first part of the routine.
The head waiter came over the table with the menus, took the drinks orders and produced a tiny remote control. He pointed it at the table light and zapped the light on. Who knew that you could get remote controlled fake tea lights for a table decoration? Then again I’m not sure if this was an invention that needed to be created unless you have hundreds of them installed around your poolside grotto and you’re needed to illuminate them all in one go! Anyway, one tea light zapped!
I scoured the menu back and forth, trying not to pick Chicken Tikka Masala. I like spicy curry but didn’t really want the madras. Ideally, I wanted these two mixed together and eventually chose Tikka Chicken Sri Lanka, with Egg Pilau Rice. I too am a creature of habit and egg pilau is my Indian staple.
The waiter asked if we would like any popadoms. Just as my Mum was about to say No, I got in there with a “can we have one each please”.
The pickle tray had four bowls. Lime Pickle, Mango Chutney, Onion Salad and a yellow yoghurt stuff. I love the lime pickle. It’s punchy and in so many ways seems wrong, but chomping down on the bitter, spicy concoction feels so great, followed by a light taste of mango jam.
The main meals came out and at The Days of the Raj, they do a strange ritual before serving you the meal. The Curry and Rice are in separate dishes and are wheeled over on a trolley. But before they are placed in front of you, the curry dish is placed on a camping stove to heat it until it bubbles. Everywhere else I’ve been, just places a special meal warming tea light contraption in the middle of the table. Maybe the investment in remote controlled tealights overlooked the lack of heat that comes out of them for plate warming!
Tikka Chicken Sri Lanka has the creaminess of Masala, but the fiery punch of Madras. I was in the mood to have a curry that made my nose run. And this dish went above and beyond that, my eyes watered too. My mother had her usual Bhuna Prawn or Prawn Bhuna. She was so used to having the same thing over and over, she didn’t even read the menu. Also as per usual after about a third of the dish, she couldn’t eat any more. So I dived straight in. Even though my meal left my tastebuds tingling, the was a nice buttery taste from the Bhuna Prawn.
Finally, we were done and the traditional after dinner mints were passed around… with some Haribo hearts and some crispy shelled “things”.
It was an enjoyable night and meal with my Mum, and it’s not often I can get her to relax now that she is on her own. And no I didn’t manage to extend the meal to last beyond 60 minutes. But I will say that there was something here that triggered off memory from years ago.
This elephant was on the window sill next to me. Around 16 years ago I went to the pictures to see an Australian film called “The Castle”, throughout the film, there are many references to an elephant statue. And if its trunk was pointing up it meant it was lucky. This elephant’s trunk was up and I guess that was a sign of good luck somehow. Ever since I saw that film, I’ve always made a point of looking to see if the elephant had it’s trunk up or down!