Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Curry Palace - Cottenham


I had the pleasure of being treated to a meal out by my friend at Curry Palace in Cottenham the other night.

I have often felt that the north of Cambridge has struggled to compete with the east (Tamrind, Sitar), the south (Kaz's, Rang Mohol and Zara) and the west (Lalbagh, Montaz) for decent restaurants. Offering nothing other than a few basic or mediocre Indians in the neighouring villages, which do the job but offering nothing too different or inspiring.

That is, until now.
I have always had the Curry Palace pegged as a very decent place to eat but until the other night I had forgotten the kind of quality they provide here.



The restaurant is much bigger than it looks from the front and in the back it is able to seat any amount of people required. Once you walk in you are presented with an incredibly beautiful bar which has a lovely water feature backdrop, similar to the one in Lalbagh in Bourne. This is not only a gimmick though as the restaurant has this as a common feature throughout the restaurant.

It should be noted that the restaurant has appalling wheel chair access which let the experience down for us a little. My friend, who just so happened to be a wheel chair user, had a terrible time trying to get in to the restaurants back door as there is a massive step and two very close doors in the entrance which makes access very difficult.

Once we were in, the staff were overly apologetic and were keen to make it up to us. We were given the menu and we took our drink orders. While waiting for our drinks and poppadoms we took in the decoration and admired the art work on the walls. The place looks great with the numerous water features which are bound to be the main focus of discussion, but they also had some beautiful canvas art on the walls too. 


Once our poppadoms arrived we decided to get stuck in. We were presented with four sides. Red onion chutney, mango chutney, onion salad and lime pickle, all in a large metal container which gave us excellent portion sizes.
Each one of them was more delicious than the last. I really couldnt get over how nice the lime pickle was in particular. The onion salad was perfectly chopped and the mango chutney was incredibly sweet, smooth and full of flavour. I asked the gentleman serving us about the sauces and he told us that they get theirs from an Indian wholesaler in London, where as many of the others get their from the Cash n Carry in Cambridge. Whether this is true or not, I dont know, who knows. What I do know is that they were the most delicious side sauces with poppadoms I have had in a long time.
The poppadoms were of a good size and average thickness too.
Bravo guys!


Once we had finished we took our orders. My friend went for a prawn korma and rice. I decided to go for a Curry Palace special called the Bengal flame, a lamb masala dish with rice. We decided to order some peshwari naan for good measure.  Looking at the menu prices were about standard for most Indian restaurants in the city, so was quite happy with that.

 Prawn Korma and rice.
Lamb bengal flame with rice.

The food didnt take long to come out and when it did it was well presented. My Bengal flame looked very similar to a jalfrezi in colour and texture, though it lacked some sauce which made it quite dry with the rice, but the lamb was very tender and had a very nice kick to it. I recommend eating this with bread next time rather than with rice as the meal was a little dry.

The rice was incredibly fluffy and done to perfection. No complains all round. The portion was respectable and didnt break the bank either.

My friends prawn korma was very well done. It certainly went down a treat and hardly anything was left on the plate. My friend said it was very good and had no complaints. I tried a bit of the sauce, and though I am not a huge korma fan, it did taste very good. Not too sweet either which is something I find in some places.


The peshwari naan was absolutely stuffed. I was so pleased with the size, texture and flavour. Once I tore open the bread there was so much of the sweet peshwari inside that it nearly came to the edges. 



I was very pleased to see that we were presented with traditional hot towels rather than those cheap microwaved ones you are usually palmed off with which are just warmed up wet wipes. Just what you needed after an incredibly spicy Bengal Flame!

Our bill came to roughly what we expected, no nasty surprises here. The waiter was very chatty and really made us feel welcome. The place has lots of open space, lots of beautiful art work and water feature decoration throughout. I really love this restaurant, especially the marvelous sides portions which came with the poppadoms.

The Curry Palace has won me over completely and utterly, and has won the crown for best Indian north of Cambridge. 

Keep up the good work!

4.5/5