Dilraj Indian Cuisine, Telford
Indian Restaurant - Address: 23 Market St, Telford TF2 6EL
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Dilraj Indian Cuisine, Telford"
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Lately, life has been pretty crazy and nourishing, laboriously created home cooked meals just aren't at the top of the list of priorities. I'm full of good intentions about health and lifestyle but sometimes, the world works against me and a girl gets by any way possible! After a long and particularly frustrating week, Saturday rolled around and I found the cupboards looking somewhat sparse and with all motivation well and truly expended. My partner was visiting and we opted for a takeaway after a day out to afford us the convenience of avoiding the cooking and inevitable clean up we were both groaning at the thought of. The plan; good food, good films and excellent company.We both like to try new things but are both suckers for a touch of consistency too and after a little online browsing we decided to try The Dilraj, a restaurant serving Indian cuisine which is tucked away at the bottom of a quiet high street in sleepy and scenic Shropshire. I've visited the restaurant before as a sit down customer and have also made takeaway orders in the past so felt somewhat confident in the consistent quality of the food and the cleanliness of the establishment it was arriving from.
Dilraj, Indian Cuisine Restaurant_23 Market Street,
Telephone: 01952 620181Website: dilrajindiancuisine.co.uk
Opening: Monday-Sunday, 5.30pm-10.30pm_Dilraj Indian Cuisine is both a sit down restaurant and provider of take out meals and are proud to say that their restaurant offers fresh, authentic Indian food which is homemade daily. As someone who lives not too far from the overall geographical area, I have passed by Dilraj many, many times and know the restaurant to have been here for at least 12 years now, although I heavily suspect it may be much, much longer.
Situated towards the bottom of the quiet high street of sleepy market town Oakengates, Dilraj is tidy yet unassuming from the outside with a neat, white painted storefront and wide picture window which does very little to make it stand out within it's surroundings. The shops immediately surrounding the establishment include a barbers and an indoor shopping mall alongside branches of both Greggs and Subway. The high street has been recently resurfaced and the overall appearance is one which is well tended and clean, the surfacing all even with concrete flower planters and black metal bollards positioned at regular intervals.There is a minor junction to the left of Dilraj alongside a small roundabout but the area is quiet with light traffic volume and associated noise in the evenings as the pubs within the high street have grown largely silent following the introduction of the smoking ban.
While the outside of the restaurant is unremarkable, it does appear clean and well kept, the paint appearing to have been applied reasonably recently. Entering the restaurant through two doors, one exterior and one interior, the potential customer finds themselves in a warm and aromatic atmosphere, the scent of exotic spices perfuming the air while the elaborate tones of a sitar lend intrigue and music. The carpet underfoot is clean and a small seating area has been provided around a coffee table to allow for waiting. A small reception area seems to serve as a dual bar and counter and the dark wood frames a smiling face which greets us and asks us whether we will be sitting in or eating out.Further into the restaurant, we can see a slightly elevated, almost balconied area which serves as the dining room and is accessible only via short staircase of 3-4 steps. The decor is aged and authentic and while nothing in here is sleek, modern or new, the contrasting and complimenting patterns and colour tones work, adding a pleasant ambiance which is understated yet genuine. Dark wood and leather seating is complimented by low lighting and candles and a small, fresh bouquet atop each table.
We ordered our food which was a smooth and pleasant transaction with the smiling, professional young man behind the counter and declined a drink while waiting before sitting in the waiting area immediately in front of the large glass window. The atmosphere overall is one which is pleasant and the bustling sounds of food preparation and sizzling meat drift from a kitchen hidden somewhere out of sight. The interior really is dated but within the rich and muted colour palette and gaudy trinkets there is an easy and comfortable warmth which could easily accommodate an intimate meal or a few friends laughing the night away over food after hitting the town.
The wait was short and saw us sitting in the small and well appointed area for no more than 7-10 minutes, flicking through various Asian lifestyle magazines and talking amongst ourselves while watching the deft gentleman behind the counter field multiple phone calls and foot clients. In the time we waited we did not see anyone opt for a sit down meal, only those who came in to order or to collect pre-ordered meals and no one seemed to be sitting in the restaurant to eat while we were waiting although it was difficult to see the dining room in it's entirety.When our order was ready we were called over with a smile and left with our food safely tucked within both a brown paper bag and a white plastic bag, the multiple layers presumably to add as much insulation and stability as possible when transporting. We dashed out into the cold night and in the direction of the car, ready for the 15 minute drive to peace, quiet and (hopefully) delicious grub!
UnveilingTakeaways and meals out in general are a treat for us and something we don't and can't afford to indulge in over often, so it seems as though when we do we tend to get a little carried away! Plates out of the cupboard and forks at the ready, we began to dish up the spoils of our little trip out. My first impressions where the food is concerned began here at the packaging. The main meals were presented in foil trays with white paper lids clearly marked with the menu choice while the housing of the sides we had ordered varied.
My partner and me have wildly different tastes and dietary restrictions and for this reasons we never tend to share food but we weren't looking for a heavy meal either so decided to split a starter and after looking over the vast selection on offer went for chicken pakoras. As our main dish, I opted for an old time personal favourite, Chicken Makhani, while my partner had opted Aloo Dan, a dish he had never heard of or tried before and to accompany these dishes we had opted for a naan bread each, garlic peshwari for me and keema for him.The naans were packaged in foil parcels while the pakoras came in a brown bag made of a greaseproof style paper. Dilraj had been kind enough to send us complimentary side dishes which included a portion of onion bhajis and a portion of poppadums accompanied by onion salad and traditional dips. The bhajis and poppadums were both wrapped in the brown greaseproof paper bags as the pakoras and the lack of substantial housing is apparent here. Aside the almost immaculate poppadum wrapper the bags practically drip with grease, patches worn wafer thin and the starters are much cooler in temperature than our main courses. The onion salad has been housed in a plastic sandwich bag and seemed warm and rather sweaty so this immediately got thrown in the bin with neither of us particularly enticed by its appearance. The dips are in small polystyrene tubs with clear plastic lids and seem to have fared well with no leaking or spills of any description.
The smell that fills the kitchen is decadent; creamy, eastern and complex and while the sensual delight tantalises the heart to dream of far away lands, all the brain can comprehend is the array of brightly coloured, delicious smelling food before you. The chicken makhani is a beautiful russet orange shade, the sauce thick and piping hot and the portion over generous in size. Large chunks of chicken are immediately visible and it appears that the restaurant has been over generous in this department too where so many other curry houses fill your tray with little more than sauce and vegetables.While the makhani looks beautiful and I can't wait to dive in, the Aloo Dan is more intriguing in appearance. The dish has been presented in layers and revealing the paper lid reveals a thick, crispy layer of roast potatoes atop a creamy, tomato based curry packed with minced chicken as opposed to the diced meat found in my main meal. The presentation is attractive and the attention to detail also seems to ensure that the roast potatoes remain crisp and do not become oversaturated in the accompanying sauce.
Grub's Up!With main (curry) dishes on our plates and naan breads and sundries on a selection of other smaller plates we begin to dig in. Commentary features rather heavily all the way through with varying comments made about the food but I have to confess that the whole affair was actually a very quiet affair... Despite devouring our food our attention was utterly devoured by the culinary experience during the process. My partner barely looked up, let alone managed a full sentence, so this should say a lot; both about his love of food and just how impressive this particular array of food was.
The food really was every single bit as good as it looked and if I were to look for a criticism it would be only with regards the raita... This minty yoghurt dip seems to vary substantially from restaurant to restaurant and we personally found on this occasion that it was very, very sweet although not particularly minty or overly flavourful at all.
Aside from this one, very small negative observation the rest of the meal was delicious and opting not to use the raita provided did nothing to detract from this.
Meat : 4/5
The chicken in the Makhani is provided in large chunks and this same marinated and traditionally cooked tikka chicken is the same chicken which can be found within the portion of chicken pakoras. The meat is firm and white aside from the reddish tinge of the marinade which has bled into the cubes of chicken. I felt the chicken provided was of high quality and would assume it to be breast meat based on it's colour, texture and sweetness. The amount of chicken included was incredibly generous and in all honesty we could have comfortably shared this single portion of Makhani as a main dish between the two of us.The minced chicken meat found in the Aloo Dan was somewhat more unusual but still spiced, cooked and executed flawlessly. The minced meat leant an unusual texture to the dish which was unexpected and the meat seemed less pronounced although the amount included was equally as generous.
I have awarded the meat an overall rating of 4 stars out of a possible 5. The one and only reason that I have awarded this 4 stars as opposed to the full 5 is due to finding out that all meat from this establishment is Halal and there is no option to select non-Halal meat. While I strongly believe in the right to religious freedom and the right to knowing the origins of your meat, I sincerely believe this should work in all contexts and therefore I feel that the use of Halal butchered only meat should be made more clear to customers.
Chicken Makhani: 5/5
Fragrant, tasteful, mellow and sweet, the Chicken Makhani really was a delight to the senses. The sauce is thick, creamy and sweet with a flavour which easily betrays the double cream or butter which features so prominently in it's composition. A single mouthful provides the tastebuds with so much more to consider however as fragrant garlic and the mildest shade of chili pepper shines through. The flavour is complex and I feel the dish offers all the intricacy and flavour of a Madras with very little accompanying fire.The sauce is a bright, burnt orange shade and is thick and once again, the portion is more than generous with plenty of extra sauce to accommodate dipping and combining with side dishes.
I have eaten this dish from many different curry houses over the years and have to say that I immediately exclaimed that this was perfect. Exotic, flavourful and oh, so moreish, this Makhani to me was exactly what an authentic, Indian Makhani should be and therefore I've awarded it a firm 5 stars out of a possible 5 stars. From the perfectly executed sauce to the seamless and in proportion composition, the longstanding reputation of the Dilraj seems well deserved and certainly shines strong with this flawless piece.
Aloo Dan: 5/5
While neither of us have tried Aloo Dan before, this was a dish that didn't disappoint! The potatoes were seasoned and roasted, each crisp on the outside with the potato inside creamy, soft and fluffy. The minced chicken and sauce were once again well in proportion the potato; while none of the potatoes are saturated, none of them are entirely dry and the minced meat and sauce mixture really does stretch a long way. Once again the spices and flavours are both sumptuous and delicate with very little in the way of heat factor.The sauce seems to be tomato based but garlic and other fragrant herbs and spices shone through and the overall dish was incredibly tasty. I would describe the accompanying sauce as having more the consistency of a thick gravy as opposed to the true thickness which a curry sauce usually provides. This was not at all unwelcome however and this slightly runnier consistency really complimented every aspect of the dish and avoided overwhelming the delicately seasoned potatoes.
Despite not knowing exactly how this dish should have tasted, after a little conversation me and my partner decided on a clear cut 5/5. He was adamant that this was a dish he would order again or recommend without hesitation. He felt both the potatoes and the meat were cooked to absolute perfection, well done without being rubbery in any way. Sometimes, it really does pay to try something new!
Garlic & Peshwari Naan Bread: 4/5
My traditional pan leavened bread (naan) is fluffy and ever so slightly doughy while still being cooked to utter perfection. Between the pillowy layers lies thick gooey mixture of finely ground nuts, coconut and honey alongside minced garlic and both the smell and flavour are absolutely heavenly. While I usually opt for a peshwari only naan I sometimes find them to be a little on the sweet side and have found that garlic seems to really compliment these sweet tones while bringing them down to a more savoury level which seems to compliment my Makhani dish slightly better.This naan I found was cooked to perfection and the consistency of the mix inside was beautiful and it's application even, leaving no undesirably dry patches. I have awarded the Garlic and Peshwari Naan a total of 4 stars out of a possible 5. I have deducted one star as the inclusion of garlic was unfortunately rather overpowering on this occasion, meaning the garlic seemed to really overwhelm some of the more delicate and sweet tones which should have been so apparent.
Keema Naan Bread: 5/5Now this dish I did not dry as I positively, absolutely can not stand lamb. Everything about it is a no-no for me, from the taste and the texture, straight through the smell I find so strong and offensive. My partner however thoroughly enjoyed his keema naan bread and awarded it a 5 stars out of a possible 5 without hesitation. He said the bread was soft, chewy and cooked to perfection while the strips of marinated lamb between the layers was even, abundant and delectably tasty.
Chicken Pakoras: 5/5Considering how much I adored my main dish, it may seem shocking that I would elect to name the chicken pakoras my favourite part of our meal but they were so flavourful, so authentic that we were both blown away and more than a little disappointed we had only ordered one portion to share between the two of us. The chicken pakoras can be found on the menu under the starters section, however we like to eat this as an accompaniment to our main meal, much in the way you would an onion bhaji or naan bread.
The chicken pakoras consisted of the same expertly prepared tikka chicken as found in my main meal, however each dry chunk has been coated in a delicious, tangy batter. The gram flour based batter is delicately spiced and each piece explodes in the mouth, sending a Punjabi street carnival dancing along the tastebuds. It really is hard to describe just how much flavour has been packed into each of these delicious morsels.The portion consisted of five, good sized pakoras which would have been an ideal serving size as a starter; enough to really appreciate these complex flavours without being so heavy as to deter the eater from their main course. An incredibly enthusiastic 5 stars out of a possible 5 concerning this starter/side dish.
Onion Bhajis:: 4/5The onion bhajis came presented in a portion of 3, with all being a fairly even size. Each bhaji was roughly the size of a flattened tennis ball, so once again we have generous portions here. The bhajis are rugged and authentic, crammed with sweet, finely sliced onion, the accompanying gram flour based batter delicately spiced and tantalisingly spicy without being overwhelming or fiery. The bhajis overall were crisp on the outside and slightly softer and fluffier within with very little residual grease left behind from the cooking process, although there seemed to be a small puddle of oil within the bottom of the container and the bhaji which had sat within this was utterly ruined and literally dripping in ghee. For this reason I have awarded 4 stars out of a possible 5... Had this grease been slightly better drained before boxing up the order this would have been a 5 without doubt.
Sides & Sundries 3/5A selection of traditional sundries were provided free of charge alongside our order and these included a portion of poppadums, raita dip and onion salad. The onion salad was provided in three good sized bags and while the flavour was perfect, the plastic bags within which they were provided seemed to have lead to the concoction sweating when housed alongside the hot dishes. As a result of this the onion had become soft as opposed to crunchy and we didn't really bother with it as a result of this. In addition, we were provided with a good sized polystyrene container of yoghurt dip but sadly this raita was oversweet and not minty or particularly flavourful at all. We also disposed of this. In all honesty we'd have appreciated a small selection of the usual dips such as lime pickle and mango chutney in addition to the raita but considering these were freebies beggars really can't be choosers.
The poppadums on the other hand... Now these were worth commenting on. Crispy, feather light and unbelievably tasty for something so simple, there wasn't a drip of grease in sight. The portion size was generous with a total of four in the bag, all of which were roughly the size of a dinner plate. We enjoyed these alongside our main meal too and the disappointment of the accompanying dips and sides did nothing to spoil our enjoyment of these crunchy delights.As a result of the disappoint of the onion salad and the dip I have detracted two stars, leaving the sides and sundries with an overall score of 3 out of a possible 5. Had the onion salad been fresher and the raita of a more authentic flavour, these would have received a higher score. Considering they were provided gratis however, we were grateful for their inclusion and found them to be a generous token offered by the restaurant.
Payment OptionsWe were able to simply collect our food and leave once the order was ready as we paid via card while ordering. Dilraj allow people to pay by cash or by card when dining in or making an order for collection or delivery. It is possible to order from Dilraj by popping in to the restaurant, calling them directly or via the Just-Eat internet marketplace.
Menu DiversityI have to take a moment to commend and celebrate the incredibly diverse menu which Dilraj Indian Cuisine offers. From a range of chef's specials and recommendations to the more well known dishes such as Bhuna, Korma, Tikka and Jalfrezi the menu is positively enormous with well over 20 main dishes to select from, all of which are available with either lamb or chicken. Some dishes are provided with prawns at an extra cost.
Alongside the abundance of main courses on offer it really is worth noting that there doesn't seem to be something for everyone with the diverse menu providing different levels of spice and heat to accommodate any palate. From the lesser known to the household name, there seems to be a dish to accommodate any diner too, from the steadfast and non-adventurous to the most culinary curious.I personally find Dilraj to offer a much vaster range of sundries and side dishes than many other local establishments with over 10 different naan breads available, multiple delicious starters and starter platters on offer and everything from coconut fried rice to the traditional pilau on offer. The cost of most sundries seems to be lower than rival establishments in the area while the main dishes seem to be of average cost and in line with other establishments, although the over generous portion sizes and borderline flawless food make value for money unquestionable.
Family Friendly?I do personally feel that the Dilraj has the potential to be family friendly, however if you are ordering for children or those who aren't fans of Asian cuisine you may well find that your options are somewhat limited. The selection of English foods available on the menu is somewhat limited and the portions of each and every item would be far too big for a child or a small-eater, yet there is no option to have small/medium/large portions.
Total CostingFor two main dishes, two naan breads, a portion of chicken pakoras and a portion of onion bhajis we paid roughly £24, working out at an average cost of just £12 per head which seemed justifiable considering how convenient the process was as well as how blown away we were by our meals. For our £24 I really felt as though we had got extraordinary value for money and enjoyed a sumptuous dining experience which really felt like it was a treat as it was so out of the ordinary and something we most definitely could not have achieved ourselves at home. No jar of Uncle Bens' could rival this and even Tesco's Finest range pales into a shade reminiscent to Smart Price when we compare their wares to the offerings of Dilraj. The flavours and authenticity just aren't there.
As our order totalled more than £15 we actually received an additional portion of onion bhajis completely gratis in addition to our poppadums, salads and dips which we felt further augmented the value for money factor and left us feeling even further gratified and valued as customers.
Overall Conclusions... And a Few Words of Respect
What more can I say? Our food was not far off flawless and I can honestly testify that we felt our food was delicious and this restaurant provided excellent value for money, especially when considering the superior quality of our dishes. Before the dishes had even been cleared away, we had already decided that we would most definitely be ordering from Dil-Raj Indian Cuisine in the future following our incredibly positive experience.Sadly, in the few short weeks it has taken me to fully write this review, the chef that cooked our incredible meal has sadly and unexpectedly passed away due to suffering a severe brain haemorrhage. Since then, the Dil-Raj seems to have rebranded significantly with both the name and the menu changing already. It seems that we ordered from Dil-Raj just in the nick of time and can honestly say we feel somewhat honoured and humbled to be some of the last people who ate from there before it closed it's doors for a final time. I would like to pay my respects to the family of this gentleman and to say how sorry we were to hear of his untimely passing, should they ever happen upon this article.
When I began to write this review, it was with the intention of ordering from Dil-Raj once again in order to provide accompanying pictures for this review and to most highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who happened to be in the area in the future. Sadly, this piece seems to have become a volume in memory of a very talented chef and a prolific and long standing restaurant which has sadly left the quiet market town of Oakengates much quieter for it's passing. We will hold fond memories of this place and I can only hope I was able to describe just how impressive this eatery was for those of you who will unfortunately never have the opportunity to visit this restaurant and the extraordinary man behind it.
Product Information : Dilraj Indian Cuisine, Telford
Manufacturer's product descriptionIndian Restaurant - Address: 23 Market St, Telford TF2 6EL
Type: Indian Restaurant
Address: 23 Market St, Telford TF2 6EL
Listed on Ciao since: 21/01/2017