Friday, January 30, 2015

5000 views!

Wey hey! 

We have hit 5000 views. 

Not too shabby for a local blog made 6 months ago. 

The most popular post are The King Of Mill Road and The Indian Ely Tour.

We have had 1200 views from the USA strangely and 300 views from France.  Not to mention quite a few dozen views from Indonesia, India and Russia. 

Since the birth of the blog we have witnessed the 4th birthday of the Cambridge Curry Crew and we are we are looking forward to the 5th birthday in April! 

Not to mention we have our 20th event coming soon for anyone interested in joining us at The Tamarind in Cambridge!

Curry love!






Saturday, January 24, 2015

Disabled access around Cambridge!

After dining out with a friend at a few of the local Indian restaurants in Cambridge as of late, it has become apparent to me that the disabled access in a lot of our favourite tandoori's is actually quite appalling.
Its something a lot of us simply do not think about, myself included, until I went out for dinner with a good friend of mine who happens to be a wheel chair user. It really made me realise how challenging life can be when after things as simple as a good curry.

I shall spare you the details of some of the troubles we have had trying to access some of our local places but to put it bluntly, half the establishments we have tried to access have been out right unaccessable.

That is a whole world of fine cuisine out of reach for some people in our society. 

Now I like to think myself as a fair man, I understand that it is not only Indian restaurants which struggle with these kinds of things, but being The Cambridge Curry Crew blog, we have to focus on what we know, which is Indian restaurants.
So please do not feel like we are singling Indian restaurants out here. I am fully aware that many establishments around Cambridge simply do not meet the requirements of wheel chair users, whether it be other types of restaurants, pubs or even some office buildings. I will be doing a project with my friend soon on wheel chair access around Cambridge which will cover all types of establishments and will be coming real soon.
Watch this space!

It is quite a challenge for some places in our fine city, being such a historic place. Many of the buildings in which some of our favourite tandoori's now reside were built many years ago before wheelchairs were common place in society and were very rarely considered in the construction of a building. A lot of Indian restaurants around the city are old pubs which simply cannot cater for disabled toilets, ramps or the space needed to comfortably get around.
So, this will NOT be a grilling, or a "name and shame" campaign, but simply a guide for people with special needs, such as wheel chair users, to reference and use to save themselves the trouble of being turned away at the door through no fault of their own.
We have really struggled to decide where to dine in the past as we have had no way of knowing what access is like until we actually get there and have sometimes had to simply turn around and go somewhere else after travelling across Cambridge. I am sure we aren't alone in this so this is why I feel this article is going to be important. 





My friend and I are "going to visit more places and suffer, so you don't have too". 

We are going to look at several things in this review. It is going to be updated every time I go back to an old place, or visit a new place. I will not be reviewing places by memory as places may have changed without my knowledge and I don't want to give out false or inaccurate information. I will also be adding wheel chair access and facilities to new reviews from now on. If anyone has anything to add or an experience to share then feel free to get in to contact with me through the Cambridge Curry Crew Facebook group.



Statements from restaurants around Cambridge:
Several people representing Indian restaurants around Cambridge have already been in contact with me and wanted to state that they have wheel chair access and can cater for people.

India House in Newnham has stated:
"We have wheel chair access to our establishment; Stephen Hawkin has been visiting since 1993".

The Rang Mohol in Sawston too has stated that they have disabled toilets AND wheel chair access.

The chaps from the Saffron Brasserie have also stated that they do have good wheel chair access but sadly no disabled toilet. This is a real shame but I would also like to add that this restaurant is quite big on the inside and has a lot of space internally to get a wheel chair around which is positive. 

Our Experiences:

Our experience of The Curry Palace in Cottenham, was quite a difficult experience. We were unable to enter through the front door as there is two very stubborn steps and two doors very close together, which make it impossible to get in through a wheel chair. We were able to get in through the back door but with no ramp in sight we had to go over the frame of the door and down a step, then through another door which had another frame of the door again.
We ended up chipping off some of the door frame paint work during our struggle. Quite an undignified experience in all.Once we were in we had no access to disabled toilets.
This is no critique of the service or cuisine however as the food was sublime and the waiters did everything in their power to help us. I do feel that disabled access could be achieved here for a small investment.

Tamarind in Teversham has a very decent wheel chair access, with a decent ramp and a nice big entrance door to enter. Not only that but it has a lot of space in side to move around in a wheel chair. It might be a struggle for someone without support to open the front door alone once up the ramp but usually it is opened for you, disabled or not, by the polite staff there, so this is not such an issue. The issue we did have however was that the place was unable to provide a disabled toilet. This is something I feel they cannot do much about considering the lay out of the building.



We were unable to get in to the Indian Ocean in Histon because of the two very close double doors at the entrance which made it nearly impossible to access. My friend gave up almost immediately.



Prana, down Mill Road, is a basement restaurant which has several flights of stairs to its main dining area, which makes it impossible for wheel chair access. It also has steps going quite steep up its entrance too, with no sign of a ramp.
It should be stated however that Prana is getting a large extension at the back on ground level so access to this restaurant could be possible in the future. Watch this space.

NavadhanyaWheel chair access looked difficult from the entrance with a couple of stubborn steps.
 After quizzing them about their facilities they showed me a side door which chairs can use as its on ground level. Upon further investigation I noticed that the door was blocked by a Mercedes outside, which was parked on a gravel drive, with bits of concrete along the way, making it incredibly hard for access (not to mention a lot of fuss to go with it, including moving a table which was next to the door). 
To their credit though, they did have disabled toilets, though the restaurant really doesn't seem to have much space for moving around. I can see people on manual wheel chairs moving around fine but I feel that anyone operating an electric wheel chair might find themselves knocking tables over and catching chairs to get around, especially on their way to the toilets in the corner. This can be slightly forgiven as the place is quite small and there is only so much you can do. If I was a wheel chair user I would think about this and consider your needs before coming here. They staff are incredibly polite and easy to talk to here, I am sure any of them would be more than happy to talk to you on the phone before coming.

Rang Mohol - The Rang Mohol in Sawston has to have some of the best wheel chair access I have witnessed in any Indian restaurant. Not only are they equipped with their own free parking at the back but they entrance does not even need a ramp as it is all ground level. The doors are big and are usually opened for you and there is lots of space to move around in a chair once you are in. There are plenty of tables which are suited for a chair and their disabled toilets are absolutely fantastic and well looked after. I couldn't recommend this enough!

The Maharajah on Castle Street is completely unaccessable for people in wheel chairs. It has two massive steps without a ramp and has no disabled toilets. Not only that but it has very little space to move around once you get in and has a double door on entry which makes it hard even if you managed to get in. 


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More to follow
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Updated frequently. If anyone wants to add to their experiences here please contract me through The Cambridge Curry Crew Facebook page.

Thanks for reading.

Simon and Jim!