42 Hanbury St
Tel: 020 7377 6511
Date of Last Visit: Friday, June 16, 2006
The Victims: Brook, Shane, Renee
The Damage: 10 quid each!!! For A LOT of food. And drinks!
The Story: I met Brook a couple of years ago when I was working in Australia. As small worlds happen, he ended up in London a few months back so we met up for drinks. Drinks turned into dinner under a deceptively bright sky–at 10 p.m. on a Friday night. So we hightailed it over to Brick Lane.
Location and Negotiation: I’ve never been to Brick Lane on a Friday night. Boy is it an experience. And boy are the folks that work on Brick Lane wiley. We put Renee in charge of negotiating–I was gunning for drinks and appetizers for free–but she fell at the first hurdle. The taxi door opened, we stepped out, and a nice young man ushered us into his restaurant, promising papadans and a round of drinks. Oh, and 20% off. And this was without a negotiation! Imagine if we had negotiated!
The Service: We entered Cafe Raj, a small little place off of Brick Lane, and it was packed. And no one had any food in front of them. But this soon changed. A nice man took our order and explained how he was actually from Bangladesh and then he taught us how to say thank you in both countries. This was nice of him. He also was good with the recommendations for my non-spicy-eating-friends.
The Entrees: The Chicken Jalfrezi for me, along with some saag paneer. Oh how I love saag paneer. Both were delicious. We also had some naan, which was quite perfect as well.
The Drinks: Cheap! 10 quid for a bottle of Riesling. It from Yugoslavia, which no longer exists as a country, but still! How fantastic. And the free round! Really, an excellent bargain.
The Verdict: I’m not sure I could ever find Cafe Raj again, and I do believe that all of Brick Lane is served by one common restaurant located deep underground, but man was this place tasty. And cheap! Then again, maybe it was the beverages I had imbibed earlier. What a good deal for a Friday night!