AD PR Experience – Our meal at Rai Woburn was complimentary. I was not obliged to write a blog post but I couldn’t wait to share this incredible destination with you!
Milton Keynes has seen many new restaurants open throughout 2022. But none have wowed me quite like Rai Woburn. I rarely say upfront at the beginning of a restaurant review that I couldn’t fault anything with our experience at Rai. But that’s exactly how I feel. It far exceeded our expectations and it absolutely needs to be on your must-visit list.
If you are having doubts about visiting, I urge you to digest (pun intended) this review in full and then go and try it for yourself.
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Rai Woburn is an Indian restaurant that opened last month, set just back from the high street in Woburn, next door to Woburn Coffee House. It describes itself as serving authentic Indian cuisine and positions itself as delivering a fine dining experience.
You enter the restaurant with the bar in front of you. There is a cosy lounge to enjoy some of Rai’s many cocktails, wines and beers. As you go past the lounge, the space opens up to reveal a dining area with around 70 covers, plus an intimate, private dining room. The decor is a far cry from a typical British curry house and the walls are adorned with botanical jungle wallpaper.
You would be so wrong to compare this to any of the Indian restaurants in Milton Keynes, even those that claim to be ‘fine dining.’ Rai is on a different level. We lack a refined Indian restaurant in MK. After experiencing Aktar Islam’s Opheem in Birmingham back in 2020, it definitely showcased a gap in the market in our own City which Rai has happily filled.
I had a few messages on Instagram from critics who said it was too expensive and they didn’t think it would last. No, it is not cheap, and neither is it an everyday restaurant but the quality of the food and the experience as a whole more than justifies the price for me.
We ordered some drinks to start. I ordered one of the Rai Signature Cocktails called ‘Tipsy at the Bar’ (£10). It featured Vodka, peach liquor and elderflower syrup. A refreshing, sweet way to start the evening. Dan had a Flying Buffalo Beer, a light, crisp 5% beer made using water from the Himalayas. It’s one of the only beers to still be made in India.
The food at Rai Woburn
And now onto the food, because we were in for such a treat. The chef has 25 years of experience, a Michelin Star and a stint with Gordon Ramsay under his belt! As we waited for it to arrive we could hear so many exclamations from other customers about how good their food was, so we really couldn’t wait!
We actually let the team at Rai choose our food. Ravi, the owner, chose some of their favourite dishes for us. It was refreshing to hear so many of the waiters tell us what food they enjoyed – too often waiters just don’t know the menu, but the team were well-versed in what the chef produced and had tried it all which is so important to me.
To start, the Avocado Bombay Bhel (£8). This is a take on Bhelpuri which is a popular street food snack in Mumbai. It’s crisp, tangy and fresh. Rai’s take featured puffed rice mixed with potato, onions, coriander, and avocado served with tamarind and green chutney. It was fresh, crunchy, tangy, sweet, and smooth with a back-of-the-throat kick. Stunning! This was Dan’s favourite dish.
Next, we had the Salt Pepper Tiger Prawns (£18). Often, I am disappointed with the size of the prawns on the plate but these were monstrous! One portion has three prawns but this is definitely better as a sharer. The prawns are lightly battered and cooked in Chef’s special sauce with cracked black pepper. They had a level of spice that just danced about your palette. The prawns themselves were tender and juicy.
And finally the Jeera Chicken Wings (£12). We probably wouldn’t order these next time, but I can see why they are a popular addition to the menu for many customers. The wings are cooked with cumin flavours and spices (hence Jeera which is Cumin). These had a pleasant kick and warming flavours of cumin. The meat just disintegrated when you put a fork through it. It was glorious.
Now for the main courses. Now, there were several curries on Rai’s menu that I would LOVE to try, but the team chose a Madras Lamb Tawa (£18) for us. Boneless tender lamb cubes cooked in a vibrant red thick gravy with chunks of onion, peppers and a kick of tanginess. The lamb – oh my goodness, the lamb – just fell apart. It was rich, and buttery with just enough spice to keep you on your toes. Just beautiful, and one of the best curries I’ve had the pleasure of eating.
The team also sang the praises of the Panch-Rattan Daal (£10) which has also become a favourite. This featured five different types of lentils in a rich ginger, garlic and tomato sauce. It was garlicky and smooth.
To accompany the mains, we had a Laccha Paratha (£5) and Saffron Basmati Pilau Rice (£6.50). A Lachha Paratha is a crispy flaky layered whole wheat flatbread made with a simple unleavened dough consisting of whole wheat flour, salt and water. Perfect for your curry and a bit lighter than a naan.
Believe it or not, we did have room for dessert and we were more than happy to take advice from the owners on what to choose. British people tend to be a bit wary of trying Indian desserts, so it’s rare you’ll find traditional desserts at an Indian restaurant, but Rai has a great selection.
We had Beetroot and Gajara Halwa (£8). This is their Chef’s signature dessert. It was a carrot pudding in wonton served with homemade rabari sauce. I can liken it to the texture and flavour of Baklava filling. It was nutty, sweet and sticky and thoroughly enjoyable. It wasn’t overly sweet, so if you prefer something a little more savoury to end your meal, this is it.
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As I am sure you can tell from this review, we absolutely loved Rai Woburn and can’t wait to go back. It was one of the best Indian meals we’ve ever had and is immediately up there with one of the best Indian restaurants in the area. Just 15 minutes from central Milton Keynes, this is well worth a visit.
For those interested in price, without drinks, our bill would have come to £92 for food. Not cheap, but not obscenely expensive like you might assume. It’s definitely somewhere special and I can’t wait to go back. And judging by how busy it was, they will certainly have repeat customers.
If you are looking for somewhere a bit different. more refined with a great atmosphere, then you could do worse than visit Rai Woburn.
Will Rai Woburn be on your list?
Find Rai Woburn at 22-23 Market Place, Woburn, Milton Keynes, MK17 9PZ. It’s open from 12pm every day except Tuesday. You can also order takeaway. To book a table and view the menu, visit www.raiwoburn.com.
You might also like:
- An exquisite afternoon tea at Woburn Coffee House
- The Chef’s Table at Cornwall Place Kitchen
- Returning to Paris House, Woburn
DISCLAIMER: This meal was complimentary in return for an honest review on my blog. This does not affect my opinion. Click here for my full disclosure policy.
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