After growing up in Waterbeach most of my life, it is safe to say that I have been to The Slap Up Tandoori (now Bollywood Spice) many many times. In fact I have been coming here for over 10 years now. It was the place responsible for my Indian food renaissance back when I was 19 and became a permanent fixture in my life ever since.
The place has had its ups and downs over the years, quality ranging from sensational to damn right awful. It has never been an overly attractive place from the outside either but despite all that it has always had a special place in my heart.
It nearly broke me to give it an average 3/5 during our review last year. We loved the fact that it had a lick of paint, some blinding interior decorating and a new name but sadly the food and service was average all round. We saw so much potential in it, if it could just nail those few problems then it would easily be one of the best in town, but sadly it fell at the last and most important hurdles.
We headed to Bollywood Spice at about 17:15 as we were feeling quite peckish and couldn't wait till opening time. My friend has special needs and uses a wheelchair so sometimes we like to get there early anyway as it can take a bit of time getting out the car. Not only that but certain places feel that disabled access simply isn't important for them so we are often turned away at the door (Indian Ocean in Histon) so we feel coming early is sometimes important just in case we have to go somewhere else.
Parking here is great. It is just off the A10 and only 15 minutes from Cambridge. All parking is free here and there is lots of space for any type of vehicle.
Upon arriving you could see that the place still looked as good as it did last year. They have even added a beautiful garden which added some nice greenery. We looked at the side entrance for disabled access but sadly there was a step. Luckily for us the front door is a flat floor so it was easy enough to just roll in. They could see us outside looking in so let us come in despite being 15 minutes before opening time.
Who's that handsome bugger in the reflection?
Once we were in we were blown away by the modern interior decorating. It was clear they were still trying to keep with that Bollywood theme. They had some beautiful ornaments and an Indian music channel on the TV which was quite nice as I love watching TV from other countries.
We were seen to immediately and seated at a good sized table. We were handed some very handsome looking menus and we ordered some poppadoms while we waited. We could see they had a reasonable selection of food from curries, specials, biriyanis and grill/tikka.
The poppadoms were well presented with three side sauces. Mango chutney, red onions and a mixed salad. I had to order the lime pickle separate but it was hardly a bother for them. The sauces were presented in very stylish white china pots and were of reasonable sized portions. The mango chutney was of good quality, as was the mixed salad (though it was cut in the blocks which make putting it on the poppdoms a little messy). At first glance I didn't like the red onion as it looked far too watery, but after trying some I was seriously mistaken. It was very watery but it was full of so much flavour! I was very happy over all and we enjoyed making a right mess while eating it!
We ordered our main meals.
I was in that mood again, so went for the chicken tikka vindaloo with pilau rice. My friend went for a prawn korma with chips. We had the chef starting his job 15 minutes early. So it was much appreciated!
The staff are very chatty and friendly. Certainly less shy as they were the last time we were here. They were helpful and nothing was too much of a bother!
Smiles all around!
One issue we found for any wheelchair users who are thinking of coming to the restaurant, they have this annoying blind/stand in front of the men's toilets. Despite it looking very modern and helps pull the look of the restaurant together, it does mean that it is near impossible for a wheelchair user to get through to the men's toilets. So my friend had the undignified experience of having to use the ladies. This was not such a problem as the place was nearly empty but at busier times this is something a wheelchair user might need to consider before coming.
Chicken Tikka Vindaloo
Prawn Korma and chips.
The food all came out quite quickly and it was presented well. The curries themselves were excellent sized portions and looked and smelled incredible. The chips were something to be desired but the rice was very nice, though it could have done with being a little bigger.
My chicken tikka vindaloo tasted sublime. It was rich, smoky and full of flavour. It had a good kick to it with the spice too. I even got my trade mark hiccups that I get every time I have a hot dish, so that was a good sign. I remember the chicken being very mediocre last year at Bollywood Spice but this time they had NAILED IT! The chicken was so tender, it was full of flavour and it looked like it had actually been tikka'd rather than just had a hole poked through it like some other establishments. So I was VERY pleased. I chowed down the LOT very quickly.
I wish I had another RIGHT NOW!
My friends korma was nice too, very nice in fact. It was very sweet and had a marvellous texture to it. Even the prawns, which were very small, had a bold taste to them and they were very meaty for their size. I do not order an korma often myself but it was one of the best I have had in my time. It was better than the one we had at Curry Palace in Cottenham a few months back, and that in itself was a very nice dish too.
So in all we were blown away.
Once we had finished be both agreed we were very happy with our meals. The staff cleaned out messy table and brought us out a hot towel. Once we had freshened up (which was well needed after a vindaloo!) we were given the bill and some chocolates. We were pleased to see that our bill came to £27! We didn't order very much, but we normally order roughly the same every single time when dining together and most meals come to over £30. So by that idea alone, we can say that Bollywood Spice is good value too!
I really don't know what to say. The over all experience has been nearly perfect. The place has come on leaps and bounds over the years and I am so pleased to see this being an establishment so close to my heart.
The place is clean, modern and vibrant. The service was fantastic and they were very friendly and approachable, nothing was too much trouble for them. The food has come a long way too as that was some of the nicest chicken I have had in a while and the vindaloo too was fantastic. All for a competitive price!
My friend and I both agreed that there was very little to fault.
Access and parking is free, being just off the A10 and there is no trouble for wheelchair users to get in or out of the building.
I just wish they had a disabled toilet as this place would be getting the full marks today, but because of that, and that alone, they shall be receiving a very handsome 9/10!
Thanks for reading!