After the now legendary Chillies incident, we'd become very wary of buffet style meal deals so it was with some dismay that we discovered that we'd booked a table at the Rajdhani on their buffet night. The restaurant is a large open-plan affair with a distinct lack of curry house style decoration. The large waiting area was full of comfy chairs and sofas with a generous supply of Bombay mix. No pre-dinner drinks order was taken probably to avoid any confusion as the bargain £9.95 eat-as-much-as-you-can offer also included the first drink.
There was a good selection of starters available. Onion bhajis were a bit puny and a bit soggy but this didn't detract from their flavour. Chicken pakoras were particularly good with an excellent crispy batter despite having sat in the open for some time. The vegetable pakoras were a bit hit and miss depending on the filling - mostly potato but rumour has it there were also okra and aubergine in there somewhere! Top marks for the tandoori lamb chops - more bone than meat but nevertheless very tasty. As the popadoms were included in the price, we had plenty - it made a refreshing change to chomp on them along with the starters and the main dishes. The menu boasts over 25 different items a fair few of which must have been the various salads splatters and dips including an exceptionally luminous green mint sauce. The only real let down was the lack of sheek kebabs - our plates looked quite bare without them!
On the main course front there was a choice of four meat dishes and two or three veggies which also doubled up as side orders. Those inexperienced in the ways of the buffet made the mistake of slopping a combination on the plate which made it a bit difficult to assess them individually. However, in general the chicken was tender and the lamb chewy. Both the chicken and lamb madras had excellent hot sauces. The chicken tikka massala seemed to be slightly over coconutty and occasionally we came across a overly dry chunk of chicken. The lamb korai was also reasonably well done although a bit on the mild side. Mushroom bhajis were "very juicy" - not sure whether this was good or bad. Mildest dish of the night was the vegetable curry. Hottest dish was the Bombay potatoes - hotter than we'd ever experienced! The plain nans were fine but the Peshwari nans had obviously been stuffed with coconut by the same person who made the chicken tikka massala!
The desert selection was a little disappointing - not a single curry house favourite in sight! There was however plenty of gateaux, tinned fruit and fresh cream.
Our initial doubts about the buffet option were soon dispelled. The waiters weren't pushy and certainly weren't angry when only 2 or 3 of our party of thirteen ordered extra drinks. What a refreshing change! The freedom to mix and match the various courses was a bonus. The food here was really rather good and not deliberately overspiced to limit consumption. And unlike our last buffet experience, the loo wasn't decorated too badly the next morning either.
Which gives an overall rating of 4 bhajis.