As you may or may not be aware, Montaz is a chain of Indian restaurants around the Cambridgeshire area. They have locations in St Ives, Brampton, Newmarket, Ely and Bourne. I have taken it on myself to try my best and review every single one and compare them to see which is best. I am also curious to see if they are the same across the board in quality and style.
I had been to the one in Ely Montaz before but many years ago, and I remember being very impressed with the place in my post "The Indian Ely Tour". A couple of months back I even managed to hit the St Ives Montaz to see if it was any good in comparison but sadly it didn't live up to what I remember to Ely's Montaz.
I decided to try the Ely Montaz one more time to refresh my memory as I hadn't been in quite some time. Here is my most recent review.
One thing I noticed about Montaz as from the outside it hasn't changed one bit. Still located next to its rival The Sylhet, the restaurant is a beautiful Tudor style building which could easily be mistaken for an old pub.
Upon entering the place looked exactly as you would expect by looking at it from the outside. That is no bad thing too. The place has beautiful wooden support beams and was dimly lit to give a very nice warm atmosphere. There was a fantastic looking bar in the front room and an electric fire place to make it seem that little bit extra cosy. The windows look out to the court yard in the back and the Hereward sports bar. Its quite nice to sit there and people watch, especially with the Ely cathedral over looking everything. Its quite a sight to behold when the cathedral is all lit up at night.
The service was very slow tonight. It took them quite a while to take our drink order and even when we finally made it, we had to wait quite a while. Finally another waiter came over to us after 10-15 minutes and asked us again for our order, not realising we had already made one. I must be honest, this didn't bother me much (though I was very hungry at this point). What bothered me was how awkward the waiters were. I am not overly sure why they were both like this but it made me feel the same.
Either way, eventually, the papadums came out with 4 side sauces. The papadums were nice and thick and came with a very finely chopped onion salad, a delicious and thick green yoghurt and a decent lime pickle. The mango chutney tasted great though it was a little too thick and dry, though I certainly prefer this to have it too runny! All the portions were generous.
Looking at the menu for our mains (while we munched on our papadums) we noticed that the menu had a decent selection of things which were all reasonably priced. In fact, I would say that Montaz was on the cheaper end of the scale. A standard curry was around £6.95-£7.95 and it only cost an extra £1 to get it tikka'd. King prawns were only an extra £2 and rice was only £2.25. I was very happy to see a good wine menu and Cobra beer on tap.
Since we have just come out of the christmas period, it had been about 6 weeks since my last curry from an Indian restaurant so I was foaming at the mouth try have my favourite dish - The chicken tikka vindaloo. Megan had a chicken tikka masala and we decided to split a mains of saag aloo. We also split a portion of onion rice.
The food took a while to come out but when it did we were pleased to see generous portions and everything looked fantastic!
Chicken tikka vindaloo
The end result was a thing of beauty.
Everything was top notch when the food arrived. All portions were generous and the vindaloo had a good kick to it (in fact I struggled! I think I am a little rusty!), I was a little dubious of the quality of the tikka'd chicken (though remember it only cost £1) but the chicken itself was succulent and tasty. The saag aloo portion was HUGE and we really struggled to eat it all between us...though some how we managed!
Both the vindaloo and chicken tikka masala were tasty and hit the standards we were expecting. I wouldnt say it competes in quality with some of the better Indians in Cambridge or London, but it was a good portion for a very competitive price and was all presented very well. There isn't much more to be said!
I can see it serves the community of Ely very well as there were a reasonable amount of people from all walks of life here. Montaz clearly gives all the other Indians in the Ely area a good run for their money.
Once we were finished with our food we were given a hot towel in tablet form. He poured over hot (luke warm) water and it expanded in to a hot towel. I wasn't able to get a photo of it at the time but there is an example of it on my previous review of our trip to The Tamarind in Teversham HERE. The hot towel was more of a cold wet wipe in the end, which was disappointing, but still a very amusing trick which never fails to create some sort of mild amusement, it was still very welcomed by me either way as I was sweating quite a bit after having my first vindaloo in nearly two months.
After that they asked us if we wanted desserts which we kindly declined as thanks to their massive portion sizes WE WERE STUFFED. We kindly asked for the bill which came to an expected competitive rate. We were given two chocolates with our bill.
In all, the Ely Montaz is certainly the stronger out of the 2/5 Montaz's I have tried. Its a very text book and traditional Indian restaurant which wont blow you away but still satisfy you while offering you very good value at the same time. If you take advantage of their Tuesday promotion of a starter, side, main and rice/naan for £10.95 you are laughing.
They now do delivery too which was often a problem for them competing with Sylhet and The Basmati in the in the past (though I think this costs £2 extra so watch out).
The main issue for me is the slow and slightly awkward staff were, I might put this down to a bad night or perhaps they were a little rushed off their feet being a Saturday night, but the place was not that busy. If you live in the Ely area they are certainly worth a look and definitely serve the city well, though if you are in the closer Cambridge area I think they will struggle to compete with other restaurants closer by.
Thanks for reading!