Something Else

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The Independent Culture
Trying to persuade would-be Romeos that a night out in a curry house can be a romantic experience sounds like a tall order. But throw in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, a private plane and dinner cooked by one of the world's top chefs and the task is made a lot easier.

I arrived at the restaurant, Le Raj, with my guest at 5pm to be greeted with a drink and a rundown of what was in store. 'Are sir and Madam ready to leave?' asked the chauffeur a short while later. 'Yes, I think we are,' I replied in my best I've-done-this-lots-of-times- before voice. The journey to Biggin Hill Airport takes 20 minutes but if, like me, you are a novice at Rolls Royce travel, transfer time can be reduced considerably with smug glances at passing cars and amusing yourself trying out all the buttons in the back.

The plane, a four-seater, was ready to take off when we rolled up, and we were airbound for our guided tour across London within five minutes. It came as a bit of a relief not to be fed, as is done on some flights, since the odd spot of turbulence can play havoc with your stomach. If you're given the option, leave that to the chauffeur, who will be waiting for you to land 50 minutes later with a bottle of champagne and some hors d'oeuvres.

The more impressive thing about the pounds 95 package, however, is the food back at the restaurant in Epsom. We had the most tender chital cutlets to start with - the fish freshly flown in - then sumptuous murg-e-shandan and ghost-e-jalali, both full of individual flavours. It came as no surprise to be told that one customer is now so hooked on the food that he had a takeaway delivered by plane to Leicester at a cost of pounds 700. Richard Simpson

The Raj, 211 Firtree Rd, Epsom, Surrey (0737 371371)