Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Indian Ely Tour!

I have recently moved to the beautiful city of Ely. I love it here and it has only taken me a few days to clock all the Indians the city has to offer.
It was just as well I moved really, as I was starting to run out of new places in Cambridge to try, so I have been having some great fun getting acquainted with some new establishments! 

Here is a quick take of my experiences so far. Full reviews coming soon.

Basmati Indian Cuisine: Take away x2


I have just tried the Basmati Indian Cuisine in Ely. A pretty mild chicken tikka vindaloo but it tastes sublime, they get the flavours and texture just right. They do a fantastic tandoori special too. The saag aloo was perfect and we even got free delivery and 20% off through Just Eat, so the value is unbeatable in the city.
Delivery took exactly an hour.

If you love flavour, value and a fast service then these are your guys. If you don't mind it being a little mild. I would recommend asking for it hot over the phone as Just Eat doesn't seem to give you this option.

Take away 1st time- 4/5

Update: We decided to have another take away. We didn't get the 20% Just Eat discount as that seems to only apply during the week, but we did manage to order a set menu which gave us 2 main meals, 2 rice portions, a side portion, a bottle of wine, 2 slices of cake and a chicken tikka dish, for £23!

This is a place really is good value!

Sadly though, the curry we received was nowhere near the same quality as before. The sauce tasted nothing like a typical vindaloo should and it was incredibly mild again. It seems the chef consistency isn't too reliable.
The delivery was fast, though they did forget our cake so we had to phone them up and get them to send it over again, which they were more than happy to do.
The chicken tikka dish was delicious and the texture was fantastic. The wine was nothing special but still good value for £5.

I really cannot say if I recommend this place or not, despite the locals seeming to love it. Its too inconsistent. 

Take away 2nd time- 2/5.

UPDATE 2: I have lived in Ely for nearly a year now and I am finding myself using the Basmati and my go to take away restaurant. They are punctual, good value, and you will be pleased to know the consistency has gotten much better. They have a great set menu options which are very flexible with what you buy and even come with a great value house wine for £5 and a slice of cake. Not to be sniffed at! 

4/5 and a perfect every day Indian restaurant for the locals!


Montaz: Eat In


Montaz in Ely scored very highly. 

The poppadoms were lovely, the dips were generous and the sauces not only tasted great but there was a great selection. The restaurant itself has a "ye olde" England feel to it with what I presume is a Tudor style house, with its low ceilings and wooden beams. The owners have added nice touches of India to it too, so It feels like the best of England and India combined, which in a way reminds me of the true story of the journey of Indian cuisine in the UK. It is almost symbolic.

Service was very good, they couldn't do enough for us and they were always checking to see if everything was ok. The portions of the meal were larger than in most other places, though this is reflected in the higher than average prices, so it levels out at about average for me. 

There was a lovely view from the back window of a small historic square being overlooked by the cathedral, which was a really nice touch. 


Currently Montaz is my favourite place to dine in Ely though I am saddened to say that they do not do delivery.

What excites me most is that there are several more Montaz sister restaurants around the county in St Ives, Newmarket and Bourne. I am really looking forward to giving them all a try!

4/5 - They get everything right but lack that essential delivery service.


Sylhet: Take Away and Eat In


A very fast and friendly service from the Sylhet Tandoori in Ely tonight. My food was ready within 30 mins and the staff were incredibly warm and chatty. 
Sadly the food didn't meet the same standards though with the vindaloo having incredibly dry and flavourless chicken. It was very mild too, even though it was requested hot on order. Everything you don't want from a vindaloo.
The saag aloo was delicious and very generous with the spinach. Even though this was mixed with the curry I still didn't have any left over for the next day which implies small/average portions.
The poppadoms were slightly above average but were sadly accompanied by a horrible lime pickle and mango chutney, even though the onion mix was very generous and quite tasty itself.
Currently the Sylhet is sitting in the shadow of its next door neighbour, the Montaz, which still remains (in my opinion) the no1 Indian in the city of Ely so far!

I will revisit soon as I feel this place deserves a second chance, especially since it is an award winning establishment.

2/5


La Spice: Eat In


 A beautifully presented Indian with friendly and overly helpful service combined with a great atmosphere. This place comes across as incredibly modern which feels like it could be aimed at a more trendy audience. 
Sadly let down by small portions and poor quality chicken despite the sauce being quite nice. This is something I find a lot in a few of the Cambridge Indians, they scrimp out on the chicken quality because they think they can cover it with the spicy sauce. I might put this down to the Monday night chef and revisit soon but currently the food is lacking. 

The prices were slightly above average but nothing too expensive. 

The incredibly friendly service and great atmosphere are keeping this up there as one of my most hopeful Indians in the city. They just need to work on that chef work. 

3/5 for the time being. 

Update: I have been back a few times now and though the food quality has improved slightly, it seems to have hit a general glass ceiling of quality. The food is good, but by no means inspiring. I would say the food here is consistent so you know that you will always get a good meal here, just do not expect to be blown away by anything. I still love the decoration, interior and style of this place, the atmosphere is unparalleled in the city. 

3/5 - could easily he so much more though!




Ely is a great city and has many decent places to eat. Indian restaurants is no exception. They have several to chose from and each one is quite different in its own way.

I would be cautious if you are from Cambridge or London though, as it seems to be a little bit more expensive around here. I am not too sure why but it might be something to do with the lack of competition in the area. I wouldn't worry too much as its only a few pounds difference on each meal. 

Summar: All the establishments differ in quality and it seems that though Montaz for me was the dominant one for dining in. Sadly that is all it offers, with no delivery option.
After talking to a lot of the locals it seems that Basmati is the general favourite around here and it certainly has become my regular go to restaurant too, for take away's. It just gets the balance of value, quality and service just right. 
Not only that but La Spice showed great potential, and adds a touch of class to the Indian restaurant scene in Ely. If it can sort out its cuisine then it has the character and customer service to be one of the better places not only in Ely but in the county.

I am impressed so far but my business in Ely isn't finished yet!

Conclusion: I have been living here for nearly a year now and I am finding myself ordering my food from the Basmati quite often, mainly because of its decent quality, which seems to have gotten a little more consistent the more I have used it. Not only that but because of its fantastic value, free delivery and promotions!  They just get the balance right.
That being said, if I ever go out for a meal I am still sticking with Montaz at the moment, its just a shame it doesn't do delivery.  Even though I have given the Sylet and Le Spice another go, they seem to fail to grab me. Sylet seems to do very average food and Le Spice is a very beautiful, modern and a polite place but lack good meat quality in every dish I have had there.