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Restaurant Review

Hason Raja

84, Southampton Row, Holborn, London. WC1B 4BB

020 7242 3377

Tuesday 17th July, 2012

The Hason Raja Restaurant stands out on Southampton Row, despite its comparatively small plate glass window frontage. A comfortable waiting area greets you with a substantial purple and cream striped sofa, with matching arm chairs and a wonderfully grand portrait of the restaurant's namesake, the mystical poet - Hason Raja (1852 to 1922). The restaurant is run by the owner's two sons, Nurul Noor and Ruhul Noor, who despite having degrees in mathematics and business studies respectively, have decided to manage and run the family business. They also decided to bring in a chef from India, Mr Prasun Saha, who is from Calcutta and has worked at the celebrated Oberoi.

    

   

The bar is well organised with sparkling crystal reflecting on the mirrored wall and glass shelving. It is also well stocked, with spirits, wines and Kingfisher on draught. The main dining room is on the ground floor and seats 70 diners. It is stylishly decorated with white walls, white table linen and pretty, bright turquoise suede chairs. There are two further dining areas downstairs, which was where we were, at the invitation of Lodue Miah, proprietor of Madhuban Tandoori Restaurant, to meet for dinner, in the company of eighty distinguished Bangladeshis. After enjoying a glass of wine at the bar, Pat and I trooped downstairs, where we waited for the Tourism Minister from Bangladesh.

    

    

Photo Left: Hakim Ali.

CEO and President of Bangladesh International Hotel Association, HM Hakim Ali, and owner of, 'Chittagong's Hotel Agrabad,' introduced the dignitories and the evening's agenda. He outlined the proposed plan for expanding Bangladesh's overseas tourism. Delegates, who had just flown in from Dhaka, told us of their plans to improve the language skills of Taxi and Limousine drivers, as they would be the first point of contact for welcoming tourists and improving the hygiene standards of Bangladeshi's delicious and diverse 'Street Food,' drawing parallels with Thailand and their 'Food Hawkers.' Others spoke of specialised tours, 'www.travelplanners.com,' who have offices in Dhaka and Cox's Bazaar, and 'www.discoverbangla.com,' who have offices in Dhaka, and, 'Heritage Tours,' who specialise in Bangladesh's Moghul architecture with new hotel building projects and beach holiday, 'Timeshares.'

      

 

We all enjoyed a pre-set menu and started with an attractive plate of, 'Hason Raja Starter Selection £6.95 - Chicken Tikka, Spicy Tiger Prawn, Salmon Tikka and Tandoori Broccoli.' All was lovely, the chicken was succulent, the prawn crunchy and the broccoli tender!

   

Photo Right and Left: Muquim Ahmed, Chairman British Bangladeshi Chamber of Commerce (on the left)

Main courses swiftly followed, with sharing platters of, 'Chicken Jalfrezi £9.95 - succulent strips of chicken cooked with onions, peppers and fresh green chillies.' Chef had added very fine shreds of Kaffir Lime leaves, which imparted a wonder citrus flavour! 'Rara Rogan Josh £9.95 - a classic lamb curry cooked in its own juices and simmered with an abundance of onions, a rich tomato and minced lamb sauce,' this was served on the bone, with, 'Machli Masala £11.95 - Boneless Tilapia fish cooked with onions, tomatoes, peppers and coriander.' For those who absolutely love their fish, this was a winner - fillets were enrobed in a mildly spiced coriander leaf sauce. All was accompanied by a well cooked, 'Tarka Daal £3.00 - mixed lentils cooked with spices and fresh garlic,' with, 'Plain Rice £2.95 - steamed Basmati Rice,' and, 'Pullao Rice £3.25 - saffron flavoured Basmati rice.'

Photo Above: 'Chicken Jalfrezi £9.95 - succulent strips of chicken cooked with onions, peppers and fresh green chillies,' delicious!

 

Hason Raja

84, Southampton Row, Holborn, London. WC1B 4BB  

020 7242 3377

www.hasonraja.co.uk

Nearest Tube Holborn or Russell Square - Central Line or Piccadilly Line.

Happy Hour - 5pm to 7pm.

For just £4.95 per person, get a selection of canapés, served on a platter. Great for that after work treat!

Hours: 12 to11.30, last orders 11.00.

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