The Rajdoot

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“I care about taking care of my customers” he insisted. “You happy, I’m happy.” Our waiter, Mr. Brightside, wanted us to have the best dining experience of our lives and his enthusiasm was so over-whelming, it seemed, his knees got weak. He pulled up a chair, sat down, licked his thumb and index finger and flipped a page on his notebook.  “Okay, to begin. Tell me what you like”. His self-confidence was impressive. I trusted him implicitly to lead the three of us through this order. He guided us to dishes we never heard of, listening and assessing our individual tastes and appetites. It was exciting and collaborative. I still couldn’t tell you what we had as Mr. Brightside hand-selected everything we tried. He recommended a creamy curry sauce for me since I liked sweetness. He brought my boyfriend the hottest pepper extract they had (found perched on the shelving above the bar like forbidden fruit) since he said he could handle more heat.

The Pepto pink walls and trimming were reminiscent of a Florida beach house. That was, and remained, the only unappealing this about this whole place. In fact, in retrospect, I dare say it added to the quirkiness. We came for a late dinner and this was one of the only restaurants in London that could serve us a good meal at half past ten. It was scarcely populated. A couple, looking like the English equivalent of Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson, stayed quiet and to themselves. Another couple, however, walked in about half hour to midnight and her decently intoxicated state made it loud and clear that she was about to turn thirty at midnight. Just as her gin and tonic was placed in front of her, we raised our glasses and started the restaurant-wide sing-a-long of Happy Birthday. Mr. Brightside could not have been happier at this exchange of positive energy. His character lit this already shining gem of a restaurant even brighter. You come here for him as much as you come here for the food. Which, is amazing, by the way. Our chef had recently transplanted to London from Bombay and was “the best” Brightside assured us. Safe to say, we agreed. The food, the atmosphere, and our waiter were a perfect introduction to the diversity of culture London has to offer.

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