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Restaurant review: I slayed the dragon at The Raj Mahal in Monifieth – and I would do it all again

Tandoori mixed grill at the Raj Mahal.
Tandoori mixed grill at the Raj Mahal.

When I was young, in my early teens, I wouldn’t eat anything that I didn’t regard as “normal” food.

If the family went out for Indian or Chinese, I would choose something ridiculously bland from the menu (remember the classic sketch from Goodness Gracious Me?) while they tucked into their chow mein or curry.

Fast forward a few years and I did, in fact, think I would give it a go.

I remember my first toe dipped in foreign cuisine water – the very simple, yet at the time absolutely delightful, chicken and sweetcorn at a Chinese restaurant.

I recall thinking to myself: what had I been missing?

I quickly moved on to other “delights” such as beef and tomatoes – but then came that day, the day I sampled a curry, Chinese at first, then Indian.

I was in Heaven!

Nowadays, hot and tasty is my preferred choice and Indian food is my go-to comfort food or if I want to treat myself.

I have happy – and amusing – memories of Indian meals.

The Raj Mahal

There was the time I was on an unplanned stop-off in Bristol when a few members of the cast of Casualty were sitting at the next table – not that I recognised them, Saturday nights were not for TV viewing when I was in my 20s.

And the occasion when a friend ordered “the hottest curry on the menu” and the entire cast of the restaurant came out to enjoy his pain.

Or the times we used to run to my local Indian restaurant to have a sit down late on a Saturday night after the pubs had closed. How patient the staff were with us after a few drinks.

The stylish Raj Mahal restaurant in Monifieth.
The stylish Raj Mahal restaurant in Monifieth.

So, when I picked up the menu at the Raj Mahal in Monifieth and saw that I could slay the dragon, I was somewhat surprised, but also intrigued as a new experience awaited me.

As a child of the 70s and 80s, my mind had conjured up pictures of Godzilla and Godzookie – were they dragons, dinosaurs, or something else entirely?

I also remember a Rupert the Bear book I owned where he had an encounter with a dragon. Anyway, I digress…

The Raj Mahal has been open for a few years now, having previously been the Royal Hotel and a couple of other establishments. I had ordered takeaway before but had never eaten in the restaurant until we popped up one Thursday evening a couple of weeks ago.

We hadn’t booked but got a great welcome as the helpful waitress ushered us to a table at the rear of the spacious well-decorated premises.

Service was quick, but not too quick, as we surveyed the vast menu of Indian treats for us to savour.

The food

We started off with poppadoms and onion chutney. Nothing particularly special about this but, for me, when visiting an Indian, these can be a very good guide as to how the meal will pan out.

Often I have visited a restaurant and been served poppadoms that clearly are not fresh, soft and uninspiring which do not go down well.

However, I had no such concerns here. These poppadoms were outstanding – and the onion chutney was just spicy enough for me without being overpowering.

We opted for two starters between three – the aforementioned slaying the dragon and garlic mushrooms.

The duty manager or senior front-of-house gentleman informed us that these were their two most popular starters that customers returned to again and again – and we could see why.

Slay The Dragon dish.
Slay The Dragon dish.

Sadly there were no reptile-like animals on my plate, but slay the dragon (£6) was a delightful combination of chicken, fruit, peppers and cashew nuts in a sweet spicy fruity tomato sauce.

Now, anyone will tell you that mixing sweet and sour is not my thing – this could definitely convert me. The combination of the soft fruit with the crunch of the nuts, finishing with that little bit of sweet spice on your palate was a delight.

I will definitely be slaying some dragons next time I visit.

The creamy garlic mushrooms were a hit.
The creamy garlic mushrooms were a hit.

Meanwhile, the garlic mushrooms (£5) showed why they are a staple on many Raj Mahal visitors’ orders.

Beautifully sautéed they were served in a creamy garlic sauce that was incredibly moreish.

It was so delightful that I would have licked the plate clean had it not been made clear to me that I was already embarrassing enough most of the time without doing such a thing.

As the plates were cleared away, we were asked if we were ready for our mains – and we most certainly were.

For the main event, I had chosen the tandoori mixed grill (£20), which is a particular favourite of mine.

Tandoori mixed grill.
Tandoori mixed grill.

Comprising quarter tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, lamb tikka, seekh kebab, lamb chop and king prawn, this is an absolute feast which I was happy to share with everyone at the table.

I had absolutely no complaints as I savoured each morsel of the deliciously moist delights that had been exquisitely cooked in the tandoor.

It seems unfair to have a favourite from the feast but for me, the lamb chop was just incredible. Next time, I may have them as a main on their own.

My wife, Karen, is a huge fan of tandoori, too, and she had chosen an Egyptian kebab (£14).

The chicken in the dish was delicious, having been cooked to absolute perfection in the tandoor. Served with onions, mushrooms and a variety of peppers, everything was moist and flavoursome with just the correct amount of spice.

The fact that there was none left on the plate told a satisfying story.

Egyptian kebab.
Egyptian kebab.

The gravy and rice that accompanied both of the tandoori dishes were spot on. The rice was fluffy and perfect to soak up the sauce which was the ideal balance to accompany the main components of the dish.

My daughter is a reasonably adventurous diner for a 17-year-old and has no problem trying different dishes. However, on seeing chicken chasni (£13) on the menu she was sold.

The Raj Mahal in Monifieth.
The Raj Mahal in Monifieth.

The chasni was a real winner, fruity with a little bit of a kick, and a lovely rich sauce that was devoured with gusto.

As the tandoori mixed grill is accompanied by rice, salad and a naan bread, and the Egyptian kebab also comes with rice and salad, we only ordered a side of fries – which we very nice indeed – to go with our banquet, which was exactly what it resembled when laid out on the table.

The verdict

Unless you are local to Monifieth or have been made aware through their amazing Instagram page or by word of mouth, I reckon the Raj Mahal may be a little bit of a hidden gem.

The service was absolutely outstanding, they could not do enough for us. And I know this is how they deal with every customer having seen the same care and attention given to other diners while there. Also, a friend of mine was singing their praises when I mentioned I had visited.

Also, the restaurant itself is a lovely place to enjoy your meal, being very comfortable and relaxing. The addition of proper napkins, too, is something I always love to see.

Their food is, as you would hope for too, the absolute star of the show. I will certainly be returning where I am keen to sample other delights from the menu (particularly their chef’s specials: regional classics from around the sub-continent. A must for the curry connoisseur, they say) – but I will definitely be slaying the dragon again.


Address: Raj Mahal, 69-73 High Street, Monifieth DD5 4AA

T: 01382 533117


Price: £77 for two starters, three mains and four soft drinks


  • Food: 4/5
  • Service: 5/5
  • Surroundings: 4/5