Indian Ocean has entered the high-end Indian food market!
The Indian Ocean has always been a fine restaurant, which has served the local community well. It has unfortunately never particularly stood out with such stiff competition in the area (such as Curry Palace) but it has never given me a bad meal either.
However, it reopened last year with a complete refurbishment and a few new additions to the menu, which has transformed it from top to bottom. The place is completely unrecognisable!
First of all, the interior decorating is no longer as basic as you may remember from the old days, with the rather cheap looking plastic pillars between booths now gone. The restaurant has been transformed into a modern, tasteful, and rather classy looking establishment which sets the tone for the rest of the experience to follow.
It’s also worth noting that the wheelchair access has now significantly improved on what it was before. Wheelchair users who were previously denied access by the awkward double door situation at the front will now be able to get into the restaurant.
The menu is large with a selection of speciality and classic dishes. Nobody here will be left feeling like there is nothing for them. One thing I immediately noticed is that the prices are higher than they were before (And a Cobra beer now is a shocking £5.50!).
That said, the menu looked great. You could tell from the description that they are trying to offer far more than the usual Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant. This is a complete reinvention of its previous self.
The papadums were great! The sauces were all excellent too. I was particularly fond of the lime pickle, which was some of the best I’ve had in a while and something I find many other restaurants get wrong. They onion salad was shredded perfectly too. How many times have we had an onion salad which is just lumps of chunky white onion and a slither of cucumber? Not here!
We tried some stuffed paneer which was absolutely excellent. I’ve not had a huge amount of experience with this dish and just fancied something different, but it’s safe to say that it’s the best I’ve tried. What I love most about this was the presentation. The first bite is with the eye.
My boy went for the lamb masalla. This is a high end take on the classic dish we all know and love. This came to over £11, so I was expecting a lot…and I certainly was not disappointed!
The sauce was so sweet without it being sickly. It is an incredible balance but they managed it. The portions of lamb were generous and not fatty at all. The lamb is always a good way of telling the quality of a restaurant in my opinion and the Indian Ocean got this absolutely right.
I went for the rack of lamb chops. This was a staggering £17 for a mains but I thought it would be a good test. The food was presented excellently and the lamb was so tender and bursting with flavour. The quality was exceptional but it came with only 3 rather average sized chops. This really didn’t feel like an entire meal and even with the tiny side of saag aloo (which was an excellent edition by the way) it just felt too small to justify.
I finished the dish feeling a little unsatisfied. Perhaps an extra chop could have made this feel like it was good value for money? This is very much in the price range of Navadhanya and other high end Indian restaurants in Cambridge, so keep this in mind if you manage to visit.
I’d really like to see Indian Ocean offer a set menu piece for £25-30 like other high end restaurants, so they are able to guarantee a good meal and perhaps give the customer a more rounded journey through their menu.
I am happy to pay for quality and the food here is clearly that. My main concern on price made me almost too frightened to explore the menu, so this would also be a great opportunity to try numerous things, as there is clearly so much to experience.
I can see exactly why the Indian Ocean has gone this way with their menu and moved up to the high end experience. Competition in the area for a standard Indian restaurant is stiff with Willingham, Cottenham, and now Mo Malik’s offering very good rivalry in this department. This gives the Indian Ocean a chance to pop and offer something different to the northern villages of Cambridge…and the team at Indian Ocean have absolutely knock it out of the park in that respect!
I am also pleased to see a high end Indian restaurant within a reasonable travelling distance from the fens too. As long as you are aware of the cost and changes upon entering, you will have a fantastic dining experience.
Address: Unit 4 High St, Histon, Cambridge CB24 9JE.
Phone: 01223 232 466/01223 232 520.