My good buddy Jim and I decided to head back to the Curry Palace in Cottenham recently after quite a long break since our last visit. This is one of my favourite Indian restaurants in Cambridgeshire as it always offers the text book Indian restaurant experience and executes everything so well.
Our previous review in 2014 scored well so we were looking forward to seeing if they still have it.
The restaurant still has the stunning bar with a lovely waterfall back drop, similar to what can be found at the Lalbagh in Bourne. Its a theme which echoes throughout the restaurant with all sorts of water features lingering around. It gives a very mellow and relaxing feel to the place and is a charming novelty.
The place is quite spacious too, especially now they have had an extension out the back which adds another 20 seats at least. They have upgraded the toilets as well which is a pleasant surprise. Though I was very sad to see that despite all this money which was clearly spent on extensions and upgrades, they still hadn't bothered to purchase a ramp for wheelchair users or a disabled toilet.
Upon arriving we were seated at our usual table. We were quite taken by the very warm and vibrant art work along the walls which seems to add a very nice contrast to the water features around the restaurant. The neon lights on the ceiling created a dim yet atmospheric feel in the establishment...A very nice touch indeed.
We were handed a brand new and very modern looking menu which seems to list the same cuisine as before but with some nice little extras.
The first thing we noticed was that there was a fantastic new allergy list on their menu making everything very clear and easy to understand. After the recent allergy scare at an Indian restaurant in the news recently this kind of thing is very welcome indeed!
The other nice surprise was that the menu had been modernised (as well as a new extension and toilets in the back), yet this was not used as an excuse to hike the prices. A curry still being £6.95 and a tikka'd version being £7.95. All other priced on the menu looked about right too.
There is also a fantastic selection of classic dishes, chef recommendations and house specials. There should be something for everyone here and nobody should be leaving disappointed.
While we studied the menu we ordered some papadums. This is always the part where I get very excited as the Curry Palace has always done a mean papadum, mainly because their side sauces. Today was no exception either as the quality was just as good as I remember. Their lime pickle was absolutely perfect. It was fresh, succulent and had a nice sharp kick to it, like it should. The mango chutney was thick and sweet and the onion salad was chopped perfectly. Make sure you give it a try!
Curry Palace - Home to some of the best side sauces to papadums in the county!
We decided to order our mains after a lot of studying on the menu. We really struggled to decide what I have as there was such a healthy selection of things to choose from. We decided to go for a chicken tikka vindaloo and a king prawn masala. Yeah yeah, I am hardly adventurous!
King prawn masala
Chicken tikka vindaloo
Our mains came out in very good time and were both presented excellently, especially the vindaloo, as you can see from the picture. The king prawn masala was particularly impressive as there were a generous amount of prawns, each one had a lot of meat on them too! The masala may have cost around a tenner but you got a lot for your money.
Good work lads!
The chicken in the vindaloo was tikka'd really well as you can see the red stains around the chicken when you cut in to it. I swear a lot of places I order a chicken tikka will just poke some hole sin it to make it look like it has been tikka'd and then charge the extra £1. Not here though. The food tasted absolutely brilliant and the curry had a real good kick to it too! A first class vindaloo!
Once we were done the staff were quick to take our plates away and offer us a dessert menu. We politely declined and asked for our bill. They came out with some classic hot towels (no warm wet wipes here!) and some very smart Curry Palace themed chocolates with our bill.
The bill came to a very competitive price reminds me of how good value Indian restaurants are compared to chinese and thai which often come to 50% that.
We left feeling like we had a damn good meal for a very good price. At the end of the day, that is exactly what you come out for!
Conclusion: The Curry Palace has a very cosy yet modern feel to it thanks to the water features and neon lights dotted around the establishment, yet still manages to keep its traditional vibe. The food is great quality and provides decent value, with a very generous selection on the menu to boot. The staff were polite, efficient and quick. You get all the bells and whistles you have come to expect with Indian restaurants now days (which sadly seem to be in the decline elsewhere). I couldn't recommend Curry Palace enough to anyone who loves the traditional British Indian restaurant we all know and love...unless you are a wheelchair user that is!
Wheelchair access 5/10