We decided to take a break from the usual traditions of the Easter weekend and have a curry instead of another boring roast dinner. So my dad, Jack and I headed to a place which was well over due for a visit – The Basmati in Ely.
I always order my take away from the Basmati as they are incredibly punctual and quite consistent with their food. Not only that but they are on Just Eat and during the week have 20% off orders over £18, so there are some good bargains and set menu deals to be had too, what’s not to like?
Yet for some reason I have never managed to actually visit the place despite cycling or driving past it numerous times during my shenanigans around Ely, so I was really looking forward to this!
From the outside the restaurant is hardly a sight to behold and can be easily missed on the busy street outside. Upon entering you hardly get blown away by its interior decorating either, but overall the place has nothing offensive about it. It’s just a very basic and all round Indian restaurant, which is a theme which I soon find out becomes a constant during my experience here.
That being said, they had some nice ornaments in here which looked quite nice. This is just your text book, basic and all round Indian restaurant, and that is no bad thing!
We were warmly greeted by a gentleman who was in plain street clothing. I always find this strange as waiters in Indian restaurants are always so formally presented. He was incredibly chatty and friendly though!
We had our pick of the tables as the place was empty. We sat next to the window which overlooked the street onto the park near the river, which was quite nice.
We were served incredibly quickly so we ordered some poppadoms while we looked at the menu. We found the food to be very competitive and reasonably priced. There was a respectable selection of cuisine on the menu too.
Once we were done we decided to go for our usual dishes. I had the chicken tikka vindaloo with rice and a peshwari naan. My father had the lamb biriyani and my son had the aloo chaat with rice. The gentleman took our orders and left us to our poppadoms.
The poppadoms were presented in a basket with 5 side sauces, yes 5!
We were given lime pickle, mango chutney, yoghurt, onion salad and orange pepper. All decent enough in their own right, though nothing blew us away. The portions were small but there was still enough to serve us through the 4 poppadoms, so no real complaints all around really.
Once we were finished we made an incredible mess, though I like to try and pin the blame on my 4 year old son!
It didn’t take long for our main meals to be brought out after our poppadoms were collected. The rice was served in a metal bowl with a lid on it. The rest was all on white plates and bowls.
My chicken tikka vindaloo was fantastic. The meat was above average and tikka’d well. It was also the vindaloo equivalent of molten lava – Just how it should be!
By the time I had finished my mouth was on fire and I had even gotten the hiccups. Too many places make a tame vindaloo because too many people order them and send them back for being too hot! (crazy, huh?). I am glad The Basmati does things right here and doesn’t ruin peoples dishes because of others!
Chicken tikka vindaloo.
The peshwari naan was quite good. It was served on a plate and cut into four quarters. There was an average amount of peshwari inside which suited us fine. Jack especially enjoyed it, though again, nothing blew us away.
My father really enjoyed his lamb biriyani. He said the meat was very good especially and I could see just by looking at it that the texture and flavour was all there. It was presented with a salad consisting of cucumber, tomato and lettuce. High marks all around with this dish!
Rice for the Biriyani
Jack had the aloo chaat. A tomato sauce based potato dish. Something I was not only convinced he would like, though within seconds of getting it on his plate he had woofed it down. So it looks like there were no complaints from him. I tried a bit myself as the dish was excellent. The potatoes were cooked in the sauce completely through and it had a very bold flavour and an excellent texture. Its not something I would order myself but is certainly something I would recommend to vegetarians or for people who do not like things too hot and spicy.
Jacks Aloo Chaat.
So, overall everyone enjoyed their meal. There were no complaints all around and The Basmati seemed to get everything right. We asked for our bill and we paid. It was not my turn to pay so I didn’t get to see the bill, but by looking at the menu you could tell the place was reasonably priced.
When they brought out our bill we were given a glass plate with numerous sweeties. Mints, sucky sweets and some jelly beans. Naturally we demolished the lot, though I was quite sad to notice we were not given any hot towels, which was particularly annoying as my vindaloo was blinding hot!
Conclusion: The Basmati seems to do everything well. You will not get the style and glamour of Le Spice and you wont get the little extras like hot towels and chocolates like at Montaz, but you get a good all round experience here. They do a good meal, for a good price, and with a friendly service. As long as you do not mind being in a place which looks fairly dated, which in my experience, most people don’t.
I am a big fan of their take away services here as they always tend to get to my house within 30-45 minutes of ordering on Just Eat and have some sensational deals during the week. I can see why this place is very popular with the locals and its winning me over too!
Thanks for reading!