Raj Douth serves up a good variety of curries - Phall, Vindaloo, Madras, Kashimiri, Korma, Dansak etc., but seeing as I have often lamented the lack of kick in curries I get in my adopted home, I wanted to try something right up the spice scale. I went for the Chicken Vindaloo without hesitation – actually, I was going to go Phall (as my name suggests I should), but after last time I went back, where I actually struggled to finish off a Vinadaloo, as my ability to handle spice levels had slipped after living in Japan for so long, I decided to play it safe. With the Vindaloo, my dining partner and I ordered paratha, roti, poppadoms, onion bhajis and two pints of Kingfisher (at least the UK gets some things right). I also managed to stump the waiter when I asked for a portion of Basmati rice, my friend commenting “Err, that's all they do here. What sort of Basmati rice do you want?”. Think I may have been in Japan too long.
The curries came soon after. The Vindaloos were very good, though the chicken was a little firm in places. Mixed with the Basmati and the breads, though, I had no complaints. I have to say, I was expecting a bit more spice wise, regretting at this point not going Phall. Probably best, however, as we had already eaten a load that day and it was almost closing time (was going to be carrying this one to bed with me).
All in all, based on what I had that night, there are a few things I would recommend Indian restaurants in Japan to do to improve the overall experience. First, provide dips to accompany the poppadoms - would liven the whole thing up; serve pints of Indian beer (haha, I know – no chance!); and only serve Basmati rice (or make Japanese rice as limited as the Basmati is now in most restaurants here). I'm guessing that it is either budget or catering for taste, or a combination of both, but I don't think they should hesitate in finding ways to educate the customer. The Raj was very quiet that night and they were still able to do it, so there is no excuse for any business out there to who is doing reasonably well to not offer an authentic, top quality option.