As part of my St Ives tour, I decided to hit the local favourite, The Sultan.
Located just off the London Road bridge near the centre of town, The Sultan has a very popular reputation in the area and is a place I have looked back at fondly from my visit some 5 years ago. That being said, my memory is pretty rusty, so a quick visit to refresh my memory was just what I needed to give a clear review.
The place is hardly glamorous, but by no means cheap either. They have gone for an unorthodox yellow colour scheme (Gold maybe?) with some marble pillars which seem to give it a different look from what most of us are used too.
They have a TV in the top corner and some old style lamps for display purposes. They do light up but I am sad to say they are not fire, but electric.
As you can see the restaurant was more than capable of holding us all and would be able to cater for any number of people you are looking for.
Looking at the menu, I wouldn’t say there was a wealth of choice to choose from. They had all the basics and classics, like you would expect. I would think most people will come here and find what they are looking for but don’t expect anything too experimental.
The menu was well presented and was very easy to understand. Prices were about average, on par with PR Masala
down the road, so it was competitive with the competition.
Papadums and side sauces.
We decided to order some papadums (as you do!) while we thought about what we wanted for our mains. We were pleasantly surprised to see that they brought out the 4 main sides you come to expect nowadays. Mango chutney, yoghurt, lime pickle and onion salad.
They were brought out in nice ceramic pots and were very generous with their portions. Everything looked great!
The sauces probably weren’t up to normal standard, which was disappointing. The mango chutney was a little watery and the lime pickle lacked its sour sharpness but nothing was horrible.
Chicken tikka masala and chicken tikka vindaloo.
Naturally I went for the chicken tikka vindaloo, onion rice and some saag aloo – my favourite dish!
Everything came out in good time and nobody had any complications with our order, which was impressive considering how many people there were.
The onion rice tasted great and had a good flavour and texture to it, as was the saag aloo, I was impressed. However, the chicken tikka vindaloo was disappointing.
First of all, my chicken was not tikka’d, at all. The curry tasted like it had been rushed also, which might explain why it all came out in good time. I could tell this as the vegetables in the curry were crunchy and the vindaloo didn’t have its famous smoky taste. It was a little watery too. There was no kick to it, my usual trade mark hiccups were non existent, which is a sure way of telling if the curry is hot enough.
Like with Montaz
in the town centre, they had done so much right here but messed up with the main course. Which is the worst thing to do during a dining experience!
That being said, it didn’t spoil our evening. The staff here was very friendly, helpful and attentive. The company was great and we had lots of laughs. The surroundings and food were decent enough and it was a very good time.
I didn’t get to try out the desserts as I was embarrassed with a birthday cake! Happy birthday to me!
When we were finished they brought us out the bill, served in a green leather book with some chocolates. No hot towels I am afraid, not that they were needed with the mild curry.
The bill came to about what you would expect from an average Indian restaurant in St Ives.
Conclusion: This text book, no thrills Indian restaurant is a warm and welcoming place. Everything was reasonably priced and I can see how it serves the locals well. There was great customer service and any average Indian diner should be able to find everything they are looking for during their visit.
Most of their portions are generous and presented well. It’s just a shame that they don’t seem to quite get everything right, especially their main courses. None the less, my family and I enjoyed ourselves and people left feeling fond of The Sultan and look forward to coming back.
I would have liked to see a few Indian beers on tap and preferred to wait an extra few minutes for a curry with more attention paid to it.
The Sultan just scrapes a 7 out of 10 for me, mainly because I had so much fun here and I cannot seem to find a reason why it wouldn’t score less or more than PR Masala around the corner which got the same score.
Thanks for reading!
Published by Simon Tompkins
Dad, The Curry King, Cambridge Foodie, Be Social Cambridge, Velvet Magazine.
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