The Sultan – St Ives (2019)

I was lucky enough to be treated to a meal at The Sultan in St Ives tonight.
This is a real family favourite, where we’ve been eating for decades. I’ve not been able to go for a while since moving to the Ely area, so I was glad to be able to pop by and visit and see how it is getting on.

The place is very much an old school Indian restaurant for many reasons.
First, the place hasn’t changed in years. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however. There isn’t anything wrong with the establishment but it could do with modernisation and interior decorating. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

The menu was also very basic but still filled with all the gems we know and love. The price was competitive but unfortunately they didn’t have any beer on tap which meant ordering the bottles. This doesn’t bother me as much as it might others.

The papadums came out with the sides. We got a very generous portion of yoghurt. The mango chutney was pretty dull and the onion salad was just onion poorly chopped, but at least the yogurt and lime pickle were average. 🤷‍♂️

The service was very good here. The staff were polite, attentive and approachable. The food we ordered came out in good time too, and looked easy on the eye.

The chicken tikka masala clearly had food colourings but it tastes nice. The rice wasn’t overly impressive either but was also inoffensive.

My chicken vindaloo was ordered extra extra hot and came out exactly that. I was really happy to have a curry which was fiery and hard to tame. A lot of places would still bring a vindaloo out mild even if it is ordered extra hot, so credit here!
My boys chicken curry and my dad’s biryani were both well recieved too.
For an old school Indian we were disappointed not to get the hot towel. I suppose it’s getting harder and harder to keep the prices the same without compromising something. It’s unfortunate that the one Indian which decided to cut the hot towel was the one which actually managed to do a hot curry 😂🤣.
We left feeling full and satisfied with a very warm goodbye film several of the staff.

This place is very much an old school Indian. It’s cheap, hasn’t been modernised in years, and does a hot curry. This place doesn’t try to be something it isn’t and comes straight out of the 1980/1990’s Indian restaurant stereotype.

St Ives has a great night life for its size, so I can really see this place being popular with the Saturday night piss heads. There aren’t many of these Indians left around these days, as everywhere tries to push towards gourmet.

I can’t help but feel like one day this will be a bit of a relic from the past which is visited by foodie hipsters to feel nostalgic about their first Indian with their dad many decades ago. But I’m sure it serves the town of St Ives well, especially as it’s survived the test of time for many many years now.

If you live in the area it’s worth a visit. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks of the place. Though if you are coming from Cambridge or further, I’d give it a miss.

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