NAMED BY YOUR TASTEBUDS
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 email@example.com. Takeaway available.