Tropical Traveller Magazine - - RESTAURANTREVIEWS -

Prac­ti­cally ev­ery coun­try in the world has em­braced In­dian cui­sine to one ex­tent or another, and in ev­ery ma­jor city from New York and London to Hong Kong and Syd­ney you can find In­dian restau­rants, curry houses and de­voted fans of the sub­con­ti­nent's spicy and rich flavour tra­di­tions.

Here in Saint Lu­cia, the aptly-named Raz­mataz – a word de­fined by free­d­ic­tionary.com as “an ex­cit­ing and com­plex play in­tended to daz­zle…” – has been sat­is­fy­ing curry crav­ings and con­vert­ing the unini­ti­ated with its au­then­tic In­dian and Nepalese menu and its low-key Bol­ly­wood at­mos­phere for almost two decades.

Not that Raz­mataz is all flash and no sub­stance; the bling bling style of the sub­con­ti­nent blends well with the ginger­bread Caribbean ar­chi­tec­ture, and its glit­ter­ing frontage wel­comes from yards away with aro­mas to blow the mind and bring you back for more.

Those aro­matic ad­ver­tise­ments start early morn­ing, as Chef Dipen­dra starts the lengthy process of grind­ing spices, mak­ing pastes and mari­nades and cre­at­ing curry heaven in the heart of Rod­ney Bay, op­po­site the Royal St Lu­cian re­sort. His Nepalese roots are in­te­gral to the flavours of his food, and he ad­mits to giv­ing a per­sonal twist to the tra­di­tional korma, vin­daloo and biryani. Dipen­dra came to Saint Lu­cia to cook at Raz­mataz almost twenty years ago, and the restau­rant has been his culi­nary ter­ri­tory since it opened. He loves Saint Lu­cia, and grins broadly when he ad­mits “Saint Lu­cia loves me too!”

By din­ner ser­vice, Raz­mataz is like an aro­matic nose mag­net, and en­ter­ing the rosy glow of red and gold ta­ble set­tings, rhyth­mic sitar mu­sic, elab­o­rate art­work and tra­di­tional lanterns, it doesn’t mat­ter if you are a diehard masala af­fi­cionadoor a vin­daloo vir­gin, it’s time to eat!

In­dian food is made for shar­ing, so choos­ing starters, meats, veg­gies, rice, bread and the rest of the nec­es­sary fix­ings for a true ban­quet is worth the time and a group book­ing. At Raz­mataz the va­ri­ety of flavours and sauces is im­pos­ing, but owner Sue and her veteran staff are at hand to ad­vise and de­scribe the in­gre­di­ents and recipes so don’t be afraid to ask. All dishes can be spiced up to or­der, so even the mildest korma can come with a zing.

High­lights of the won­der­ful meal en­joyed by one fan and one new­bie: the Makhan Fish is a sub­tly spiced, rich and com­plex ver­sion of the tra­di­tional But­ter Fish, with an op­u­lent, creamy sauce made to mop up with a hot, crisp naan bread. Ten­der sliv­ers of tan­doori-cooked chicken tikka, juicy and deeply mar­i­nated in yo­ghurt and spices are a Chef’s spe­cialty, as is a densely de­li­cious Nepalese lamb ke­bab with a kick of chili and a hint of cumin and car­damom.

Get at least two of your five-a-day by adding some of Chef Dipen­dra’s hearty veg­etable sides, like the fresh green peas cooked with home­made pa­neer– the sweet fresh­ness of the peas and tang of the dense cot­tage cheese will make you want to eat your greens. Silken ten­der aubergine is sim­mered with potato in a hearty curry sauce, and the colour­ful pi­lau rice is as flavour­ful as it should be.

Fin­ish your meal - if there’s room to spare – with a small but in­sanely sweet and sat­is­fy­ing Gu­lab Ja­mun, or the nos­tal­gic evap­o­rated-milk sweet­ness of a scoop of In­dian kulfi ice cream. With a de­cent wine and cock­tail list to choose from, and ice cold beer on tap which goes so well with curry and spice, Raz­mataz leaves you feel­ing happy and har­mo­nious, with per­haps a lit­tle zing­ing still on the pal­ette. Ex­pert or novice, we’re sure Sue, Dipen­dra and the team will blow your socks off – fig­u­ra­tively speak­ing!

Open from 5pm to 10pm daily ex­cept Tues­days. Call 452 9800 for reser­va­tions or email raz­mataz@candw.lc. Take­away avail­able.

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