Sunday, December 14, 2014

As I was going to St Ives (Part 2)...PR Massala

As part of my journey through the Indian restaurants of St Ives. We decided to hit PR Massala after a recommendation from a friend who had lived in the town for quite a while. I had never heard of the place myself and neither had my father who was joining us tonight. It sounded like a bit of a hidden gem so naturally it appealed to us.


PR Massala is easily missed down a small alleyway just off the market by the main church. Even if you walked right past the restaurant you wouldnt be blamed for missing it. It doesn't look like a restaurant, especially an Indian. 
Despite its small size from the outside, the place is very big and can fit almost any amount of people you desire. The place is spacious and has its own bar at the entrance.


My father and I were taking our girlfriends out for a nice meal so it was a bit of a special occasion. No, scratch that, it was a MOMENTOUS occasion as we were also being joined by my son who was going for his first ever curry! 
A real proud father moment! 

The restaurant really gets in to the spirit of things with the Christmas decoration. Not only that but the more traditional Indian decorations were very tasteful too. The staff were very warm and friendly and were very chatty. They were particularly good with my boy and gave him a lot of attention.
I would recommend this place for families, which is an important thing to note as Indians aren't always perfect for kids in my opinion. The atmosphere and general feel of the restaurant was fantastic!


Looking at the menu we came to the conclusion that the place was respectfully priced in nearly every sense of the word. Quite a refreshing change as some Indian restaurants in the outer towns of Cambridge tend to be that little bit steeper. 

We ordered some papadums while we waited. The papadums were of reasonable thickness and flavour, which was fine. Where PR Massala let me down however was with the sauces. I got excited when they brought out the sides of mango chutney, lime pickle, onion salad and yoghurt in the large metal containers, but sadly they were only filled up about 1/4 way, so between the 5 of us they all ran out incredibly quickly.
Not only were the portions stingy, but the lime pickle was incredibly dry (a theme I started to see through the night), the yogurt was quite watery too. The mango chutney and the onion salad were fine, though nothing inspiring. A bit of a mixed bag really.

I decided to go for the Bombay Duck Massala which is a fairy hot dish which uses Banglashi's famous Naga chilli with chunks of duck in a fresh herb and spiced sauce. My girlfriend went for the lamb tandoori with salad, and my boy had egg rice, saag aloo and a Peshwari naan. 

Once we were done the staff were quick to clean up and bring out our mains. Everything looked incredibly well presented and very delicious. My Bombay duck massala was full of flavour and had a good kick to it. The duck was very nice though a little dry, nothing which bothered me that much as the meat tasted fine and the chunks were large and numerous, I would have liked to have seen a bit of sauce to help me with the rice I ordered, but overall I was quite satisfied!

 Bombay naga duck massala with egg rice and saag aloo. 

My girlfriends lamb tandoori was incredibly tough and dry which was a damn shame as it looked fantastic by the eye. I wouldnt recommend it to anyone as it was incredibly hard to cut and the work which went in to cutting it up nearly exhausted you! The saag aloo tasted great and had some good texture to it, so much so I stole some for my plate too!

 Lamb tandoori with saag aloo and salad.

 Egg rice portions looked small but were quite decent once they were on your plate. 


The peshwari naan was absolutely fantastic and a very generous size, it was stuffed full of peshwari and was very sweet and very succulent. Highly recommended!

Once we were finished opinions were quite divided on the food. The general consensus was that the food was good, though PR Massala seems to struggle with getting the texture right with their dishes. It might be worth noting for anyone coming here to make sure they ask for their dish in a particular way! 

Either way, my boy certainly loved the food there!

PR Massala has certainly impressed me more than Montaz across the road. It seems warmer, welcoming and with much more space for parties and large gatherings. 
There was a good selection on the menu and it was all reasonably priced. Its just a shame the food is very inconsistent, especially the meat and texture.
The staff are all very approachable, friendly and great with kids. They were one of the best things about the overall dining experience.
So far I would say that PR Massala is my favourite out of the two Indians restaurants in St Ives, both PR Massala and Montaz offer a nice establishment with a good selection of food but sadly that food doesn't quite keep up to the quality in Cambridge or London. PR Massala seems to tick every box but just struggles with the main reason we come here, the food. Until it gets that right it seems unfair to give it anyone over a 7/10.

 My next target for me is The Sultan across the river, lets see if it can take the crown! 


Thanks for reading!