Back in the days of Cafe Naz (The Cambridge Curry Centre) I used to love swinging by here on a Sunday morning after a heavy night out and vigorously consuming one of their all-you-can-eat buffets.
When the restaurant closed I was absolutely gutted, as one of my favourite weekend traditions was now gone forever. Especially since nowhere else in the city seemed to be doing buffets anymore.
Many years have passed since then and the venue is finally back open under new management. The good people at the popular Norwich Indian restaurant Namaste Village have decided to branch out into Cambridge and offer a very similar buffet as the one under Cafe Naz.
Namaste Village specialises in vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Being a hardened carnivore, I was interested to see whether this restaurant could satisfy my hunger without that essential ingredient or whether this was a place which was only going to be able to cater for their initial target audience.
Eager to revive my nostalgic memories of my Sunday morning buffets from the past, I decided that I was going to investigate and see what it was all about, so I was one of the first in the door for its grand opening.
The interior is still a little rudimentary as it’s just opened but they have still managed to decorate it well. The bar looks stunning and there is some traditional art work on the walls. The place filled up fast with many families looking to take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffet which offers diverse choices for fussy children.
The menu gave you an idea of what was on offer. As expected, the menu is all vegetarian and vegan dishes. It also included dessert options. The buffet was set at a fixed price of £15. I overheard someone mention that children were £5 but I was unable to confirm this.
I was not able to get a good shot of the buffet but there was a good selection of food from daals, chili Gobi, masala dosas, and kormas.
My first plate was a selection of Samosas, Pakodas (mixed vegetable fritters), and a soft lentil fritter called, Dahi Wada. All very nice but the Samosa was the one which stood out for me. Delicious!
The Makhani Daal was absolutely fantastic. So creamy and went well with everything, including the rice. This was one of my favourite dishes of the meal!
On my second trip, I helped myself to a Masala Dosa. This is a rice and lentil crepe served with spicy mashed potatoes in the middle. This is one of my favourite Indian dishes so I was very pleased to see it. They were served in much smaller slices from what I’m used to but that’s no bad thing. It made things significantly easier to manage and since it’s all-you-can-eat there was no need to worry about portion sizes.
You’ll notice I slavered everything in more black daal. I really couldn’t get enough of this. It was some of the best I’ve had in a long time!
During my last trip to the buffet, I helped myself to some Rainbow Salad (mixed vegetables with salad), crackers, and Chilli Gobi.
The Chilli Gobi was another fantastic dish which really jumped off the plate for me. The dish is stir fried cauliflower with peppers and spring onion, served in their house special sauce. It reminds me very much of a Chinese dish but with its own spicy Indian take…and it really works!
Once I was finished I paid my bill. All very reasonable for £15. The staff were very friendly and were proud to show off their interior art work. I left feeling very full and very satisfied.
I’m really pleased to see Namaste Village open up in Cambridge as there is not a great selection of choice for vegetarians in the city. It’s also great to see one of my favourite buildings back serving Indian food again, especially since The Maharajah is currently closed making Castle Street a little empty when it comes to Indian restaurants.
Make sure to pay them a visit as they are offering quality and value in one delicious package!
Address: 45 Castle St, Cambridge CB3 0AH