Simon’s top 5 Indian restaurants in St Ives.

I finally tickled my last box in St Ives after dining in at Dhaba last night, so thought it would be fun to do a top 5 Indian restaurant list.

Now, I know what it’s like when you do a top 5. People get bent out of shape because their favourite did not get rated as high as they wanted but this is just a little bit of fun and not to be taken too seriously. I have not visited some of these restaurants in years and I am having to go by old reviews, memories, and from what I’ve heard from other people in the Cambridge Curry Community. Generally speaking, St Ives does very well for Indian restaurants and most of them are very good, so it is really just a list of winners.

So, without further ado, here are my personal top 5 Indian restaurants in the town of St Ives!

5. The Sultan – London Road

The Sultan has been a family favourite for decades and we’ve had some great memories here over the years. Unfortunately, due to a very basic interior and slightly below average food, it falls short when compared to the very stiff competition in the town.

Full review here.

4. Montaz – Merryland

Montaz is quite popular in St Ives but my visits have been inconsistent. One night it will blow you away, the next will disappoint. Maybe I need to visit more frequently but I can only call it like I see it. Hopefully if I visit again it might drag itself further up the table but until then it’s 4th.

Full review here

3. PR Masala – Chapel Lane

PR Masala has a cult following and I completely understand why. It is consistent with its food and has marvelous customer service. It’s a beautiful restaurant too, which is very large when you get in, which means it can host large parties. Best of all, it’s competitively priced. It’s great to see both Cobra beer and a Kingfisher on tap also! The food is always good but it just never seems to stand out when compared to some of the others, like it’s missing that x factor.

Full review here

2. Dhaba – Bridge Street

I recently declared Dhaba my favourite Indian restaurant in St Ives in a previous review but after reading through my previous visits to other Indiana in St Ives, I decided to put it second to Zzohanna. Dhaba gets so much right. It’s modern, atmospheric, has some of the best lime pickle and yogurt, and does a mean vindaloo. It just missed a few very trivial things which made it lose out on 1st place (by the skin of its teeth). I still highly recommend it to anyone!

Full review here

1. Zzohanna – Bridge Street

It’s been a while since my last visit but Zzohanna made quite an big impression on me. I am not alone in thinking this too, with dozens of people also telling me that it is their stand out favourite in the town. The food is simply excellent. Portions are a little small but otherwise you get all the bells and whistles you have come to expect from an Indian restaurant which you might not get anywhere else, such as chocolates, a hot towel, and Kingfisher beer on tap.

Full review here

Here are my top five. What do you think? I’d love to hear your feedback below.

Dhaba – A new favourite in St Ives?

For a population of 16,000 people, St Ives does really well for Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants, with a total of 5 (excluding takeaways). Places like Ely and Huntingdon, which dwarf it in size only have two each, which gives you an idea of how lucky the town is.

After my visit to Dhaba tonight, I have now reviewed all five restaurants in St Ives and I have been incredibly impressed with what I have experienced at Dhaba. Could it be that the new kid on the block is giving its rivals a run for their money?

Walking down Bridge Street, it is an easy restaurant to spot, with a very distinctive neon blue glow which lights up the street. The neon blue continues into the interior as you enter, giving the restaurant a dark atmosphere which is great for a Saturday night, though unfortunately it makes photos for the purposes of this review very challenging.

It’s a very modern looking restaurant, with a stunning bar which is lit up by the neon lights. Even the walls are painted blue giving it a real distinctive theme.

We were seated at our table and given a menu. It was great to see kingfisher on tap which came to a reasonable £4.50.

We ordered some papdums while we went through the menu. They came out with three sides – mango chutney, onion salad, and yogurt. We had to order the lime pickle separately but they were more than willing to bring some out.

All the side sauces were absolutely excellent. Their yogurt was some of the best I have had in a while, as was their lime pickle. The mango chutney came across as a little processed but tasted great with a really nice texture. No complaints all round!

The menu had a modest selection but everything you would expect from a British Indian restaurant. They had their signature ‘chicken Dhaba’ under the specials menu. This is “a flavorful light curry with baby potato” and boasts to be one of the most famous dishes in the roadside kitchen of Punjab.

My son was delighted to see Makhani (butter chicken) on the menu, which is now his favourite dish, thanks to his visit to The Shilpa the other week. The neon lights makes this dish look more vivid than it actually was but it still had a very bold colour to it. This was a far cry from the Makhani he had at The Shilpa recently which was more of a pale yellow. This didn’t stop him from devouring the dish none the less but after trying it myself, I must admit, it tastes very different from what I remember. The Makhani came with a block of butter which melted into the sauce, which I have never seen before.

My dad had the lamb biryani which was beautifully presented in a pot pie and included a side curry. Again, the neon light does not do the photographs much justice and the side curry looks almost radioactive but it tasted fascistic.

My chicken vindaloo had a beautiful colour and a delicious deep flavour. It had a really nice warm spice to it which slowly built up over the meal. I didn’t go for tikka’d chicken but it was nice and tender none the less. This was the nicest curry I think I have had in St Ives.

The bill came to about what was expected for three people. A service charge of 10% was automatically included but the staff were very polite and attentive throughout. We were given an After 8 mint but no hot towel was included.

The vindaloo was the real star of the show tonight. It is hard to find a restaurant which does one which ticks all the boxes. I also highly recommend the lamb biryani for anyone who is a fan.

Thanks for reading.

My visit to Oktoberfest @ The Filling Station

For those of you who aren’t already aware, The Filling Station has taken the Cambridgeshire craft beer scene by storm.

By offering sustainable, high quality, and locally made craft beer which you are able to take away and drink in your very own home (thanks to their state of the art dispensing technology) they have attracted people from all over the county.

It really is a unique experience for Cambridgeshire which has interested experienced craft beer fans as well as newbies like myself since it’s opening. For a more in-depth explanation on how the system works make sure to read our review here.

For anyone who knows me, I’ve been a huge fan of Germanic beer for a long time, spending many holidays across Germany sampling the best the country has to offer. I enjoy Oktoberfest so much I’m have even been to every Bavarian themed beer hall within the UK. So, imagine my delight when I heard that the Filling Station was doing an Oktoberfest event!

Courtesy of The Filling Station team

The Filling Station doesn’t have much space to work with (being a shipping container in a small car park) so I was curious to see how they were going to manage it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they used the long tables famously associated with Germanic beer halls which maximised the number of people who were able to join the event. I’ve always been a big fan of these tables as it encourages conversation and interaction between people sharing a large table, which the people visiting seemed to be embracing.

They were selling their usual beer cans and draft for people who still wanted to buy their usual but also offered a selection of Oktoberfest themed beers outside. These were sold from their pop up bar served by the staff team who were really getting into the Oktoberfest spirit by wearing authentic lederhosen.

I was delighted to see some themed hats for sale which I decided to grab as they were priced at a very reasonable £3.50. Massive respect here as these could have easily been sold for a tenner but clearly the team decided not to gouge and instead get people involved in the fun!

As you can see, we really pulled off the look

They also sold 1 litre steins for £10. I was gutted that I forgot mine as I had several sat at home. It just isn’t Oktoberfest without an obnoxiously large beer in your hand!

They had an arrangement with Eric’s Fish & Chip Shop next door to provide sauerkraut hot dogs with battered pickles and mustard mayo. This was a very clever idea to save space, as it’s just not the same without a sauerkraut sausage and providing one on site would have taken up more valuable space.

Courtesy of The Filling Station team

As you can see from the pictures kindly shared by the team at The Filling Station, good times were had by all. They managed to squeeze 40-50 people drinking happily within such a small space. It didn’t feel crowded either which is a credit to the way they arranged the event.

I’m really looking forward to next year and this time I won’t forget my stein!

For those of you who have not been to The Filling Station make sure to come to St Ives at the Morrisons round about and pay them a visit! If you like craft beer, international beer, or local beer, you won’t regret it.

Thanks for reading.

Floods Tavern – St Ives.

I’ve been a fan of Floods for years and I know it has a real cult following in the town. It’s a very straight forward old English pub with a marvelous beer garden which goes into the back of the river.

This may not be very important most of the year, with the British weather being very lackluster at the best of times but when you are having scorching hot summers like this year then there is no better place to be.

They’ve taken full advantage of their riverside views by installing an outdoor bar to save us all the pain of having to go back and forward to the bar inside.

Courtesy of Floods Facebook page.

The place was heaving during my most recent visit but they’ve done a great job installing enough seating for everyone. Come to think of it, I’ve never been stuck for a seat during any of my visits, so you can roll in confidently without having to stress about grabbing a table.

The beer selection here is pretty average but there were a few notable exceptions. I noticed The Shed Head which is an American Pale Ale which did not offend. This was slightly darker than other pale ales but was very welcome sitting by the river on a hot day.

Floods doesn’t have much to offer on the inside of the building and with their rather generic selection of beers I would struggle to get excited throughout the winter but on a day like this it was exactly what the doctor ordered. I could really see his being a great place to organise small events such as birthday parties.

My personal recommendation is to pop by J.Wadsworth and grab a cigar to enjoy by the river.

There is no doubt I’ll be back in the future.

Thanks for reading.

Seven Wives – St Ives

England were playing Germany in the women’s euro final, so naturally this called for a true live football experience.

My father lives in St Ives and he recommended going to the Seven Wives on Ramsey Road as it is a well known sports friendly pub.

The Seven Wives isn’t much to behold on the inside but walking into the back they had clearly invested a lot of money into the garden area. They have built a huge canopy across half of the garden with an outside bar, stage, and huge seating area. This makes it possible as the British weather is, as you know, unreliable.

The atmosphere here is fantastic which is perfect for live events. The beer selection was very basic with choices such as Estrella, San Miguel, and Red Stripe on tap. The beer didn’t taste great either and was clearly not looked after. I remember visiting Lot 25 in Willingham which sold Estrella and it was significantly better than the stuff here to the point it was almost like an entirely different drink. That said, it was noticely cheaper

We ordered some food while watching the game. The menu was incredibly basic and consisted of vegetarian burgers, beef burgers, and chicken burgers. There was a choice of cheesy chips and regular chips but that was about it. We were given an alarm reminiscent of my Pig-casso  visit a few months ago which alerted you when your food was ready. This was a fantastic idea as the pub was absolutely rammed.

The food was incredibly bleak but the evening was still fantastic. Everyone was getting on, the buzz was full of hype, and the children were nowhere to be found thanks to a bouncy castle. This is not a place for craft beer enthusiasts but clearly a pub for the people. Families, friends, and big events. There is nowhere like this in the town and it’s well worth a visit. Even the parking is great.

Thanks for reading

Holy Burger – St Ives

Tucked away in a St Ives industrial estate is Holy Burger.

This food van has been on my radar for a while now, yet has always managed to escape me for one reason or another. Today I thought I would take the plunge and finally see what it had to offer.

Holy Burger first caught my attention due to their social media page showing examples of utterly gargantuan sized burgers (even by slightly warped advertising standards). As burger joints often leave me feeling a little underwhelmed for the money, I was hopeful that I might finally find a place which satisfies my stomach or my wallet (or both).

Looking at the menu, I couldn’t help but laugh at their hilarious biblical names for all their burgers. The Baby Cheesus, The Holy Porker, and the Good Samaritan. These names all give little clues into what the burger contains but the menu gives a detailed description to help guide anyone who may get confused.

There was also a good selection of sides. Many other food vans offer a very limited choice, so this was good to see. Loaded Chips, Mozzarella, Onion Rings, Slaw, and Mac & Cheese, you name it.

Being my first time I wanted to try their signature dish, so I decided to go for the infamous Holy Burger.

As mentioned above, many burger places leave me feeling like I’ve not quite had a full meal, so I ordered some pulled pork chips to go with it…just in case.

This came to £18 in total. £10.50 for the burger and £7.50 for the pulled pork chips.

When the burger came out I realised what a fool I was ordering the pulled pork chips too! This thing was a monster! The photo really does not do it justice but it was one of the largest burgers I’ve had outside of a Hungry Horse restaurant.

What immediately hit me was the size of the bun. Many places fall flat by cramming in as much as they can without thinking about how it’s all going to be held together. This leaves the bun unable to cope with all the sauce and juice which leaves the entire thing disintegrating in your hand. This simply isn’t the case here, as you can see, the bun is perfectly sized to hold this beast together!

Their signature black garlic ketchup does not look very appealing but really gave the burger a rich and very sweet flavour.

The Praying Porky Chips were also huge. I started to notice a theme here. These were chips doused in cheese sauce, pulled pork, their signature BBQ sauce, topped with spring onions. Absolutely fantastic!

I was really impressed with how much pulled pork it came with. For £7.50, this was a meal in itself and I couldn’t finish it after the burger. Bravo, Holy Burger, you have defeated me!

I was thoroughly impressed with Holy Burger. The portions were fantastic, the food delicious, and a good selection on the menu which gives you a reason to keep coming back. This is currently my favourite burger van and I have a feeling being so close to work that I’ll be coming back again! 👍

…Though next time, I think I’ll stick to just the burger!

PR Massala – St Ives

My cousin was back from the Unite States and it was our first meeting since before the pandemic. It has been hard for her stuck in America as the Indian restaurants just don’t quite make the cut over there, so naturally the moment she arrived we decided to head straight into St Ives and grab a curry.

PR Massala for me is one of those restaurants which always does a good spread. It has always been consistent and good value. It’s a large restaurant too, meaning you rarely have to worry about large parties.  I always manage to come here at least once a year.

Check out our previous review here.

Photo taken from previous review

Upon entering we were warmly greeted and led to our table. As you can see from this picture above there is plenty of space, so we had our choice of table.


The menu was a good size and will have everything you’d want from a local Indian. It was also great to see the two classic Indian beers on tap. Cobra and Kingfisher.

We ordered papadums while we studied the menu. The onion salad was pretty crude and chunky which consisted of pretty much just onion but the mango chutney, yogurt and mango chutney were all good quality. Maybe my family eats a disproportionate amount of lime pickle but the portions were pretty small and we ran out quickly. We tried to wave someone down to get more but the restaurant being so big, the only person we could see was behind the bar, which felt like half a mile away


I was tempted to go for a mixed grill for a change but the moment we entered the restaurant the alluring smell the curry had gotten the best of me. So it had to be my usual favourite, the chicken tikka vindaloo, saag aloo, and mushroom rice. We ordered a keema and garlic naan for good measure.

My father had his usual  biriyani which he always really rates from PR Masala. This is not an area I am too experience with but if it gets the thumbs up from him then it is going to be to a standard I am willing to endorse.

My chicken tikka vindaloo was delicious and a visual treat on the eyes. Look at that lovely colour! You could see by the large chunks of chicken with the holes in that it had been tikka’d properly too. One little annoyance was that I requested it “extra hot” but was serviced it quite mild.  This might be a good restaurant for people looking to try the vindaloo for the first time but are worried it will be too hot.

The saag aloo was fantastic, as it always is here. It complimented the curry perfectly. The keema naan was not too exciting but was inoffensive.

The service here was prompt with the food but quite hard to get hold of anyone when you needed something extra. Personally, I think this was partly due to the size of the restaurant but the team should be catering for that. The food came out in good time none the less.

I can really see why PR Massala is popular. It always does a reliable decent curry with classic Indian beer on tap and with lots of open space. Everyone had a great meal and other than a few minor annoyances the meal out turned into a great night.

With so much competitive choice in the town, with Zzohanna being fantastic and the new Dhaba making good impressions on the foodie scene already (though I have only had a chance to have a quick takeaway), PR Massala is still holding its own and I have a feeling they will be here to stay.

If you are every in St Ives make sure to check them out!

Address: PR Massala, Chapel Ln, Saint Ives PE27 5DX

Thanks for reading!

The Filling Station – A new (sustainable) way of drinking craft beer! – St Ives.

The Filling Station in St Ives offers a sustainable Craft Beer experience

The Filling Station is a place which has been discussed a lot on the Craft Beer In Cambridge group. Located in St Ives, I had ear marked it as somewhere I wanted to visit based purely on the hype alone, but after realising it was a mere 3 minute walk from my work (instead of the centre of the town like I had previously assumed) I decided to head on down to pay myself a visit.

With sustainability being THE issue of our age, the team at The Filling Station aim to reduce waste by using glass growlers which can be filled up using state of the art dispensing technology and reused again and again to reduce packaging.

This is not only good for the environment by cutting out dozens of beer cans and glass bottles which may be ordinarily “recycled” (but more often than not get dumped in countries on the other side of the world) but also gives consumers fresh and easy access to draft beer in their homes.

Two 1 litre growlers which are refilled each time upon visiting.

This is a win for both the environment and the consumer, as no matter what anyone says, drinking from a can or bottle is never the same as drinking draft.

Beer from the tap offers an extra dimension to the smoothness and flavour which can never be matched. If you are going to be spending big money on craft beer then there is only one way to go.

This is just an opinion mind, but do not fear, if you do prefer bottles and cans then The Filling Station has you covered with several large fridges too.

Either way, it is an entirely unique experience not available anywhere else and something I was itching to try from the moment I heard about it.

The Filling Station is located across the road from Morrisons and next door to Costa Coffee in a converted shipping container, adding to the sustainability ethos. Everything is reused, including the shop itself, putting their money where their mouth is. This may sound crammed but is actually ample size and they do wonders with the space.

The shop has a selection of products to purchase, from glasses to t-shirts, as well as a choice of two different growlers to choose from. The 1 litre bottle and the 2 litre bottle were £9 and £13 respectively. I decided to purchase two 1 litre bottles to give myself some flexibility in what I order as they have an ever changing selection of craft beer (which makes it hard for me to commit to a favourite every time).

The Filling Station in St Ives has an ever changing selection of craft beer all sourced from local breweries

As you can see from the photo above, they usually have a selection of 10 craft beers available on draft. Each and every one is hand picked and made within the UK. Most are local, with some as local as Little Downham or Harston!

This really is the perfect place for someone like myself who is reasonably new to craft beer and wants to try numerous examples of what it has to offer. They do a great job of offering a wide selection with IPA’s DIPA’s, Pilsners, Cider, Stouts, and Pales. Take your pick!

Me, exploiting the free sample system.

The great thing is, the chaps working here are really passionate about the beer and are happy to talk your ear off about the in’s and outs, including their very welcome advice.

Free samples are also available which I was happy to take advantage of to make sure I knew what I was purchasing before committing to an entire litre.

After trying my samples and having a bit of a chin wag. I decided to go for a Hazy Pale style beer called Joosy by Unbarred. This is a lovely sessionable beer which is exactly what it says on the tin. This particular brewery is from Brighton which was probably one of the most travelled beers on the list.

My second choice was an unfiltered Pilsner lager from Pressure Drop Brewery in London called Great Heights. I couldn’t resist this being a big pilsner man.

Both were picked because it was a particularly sunny day (for a February) and I wanted to get into that summer mood as quickly as possible. I also grabbed myself a few extra cans for good measures including a stunning Pilsner by S43 which has since been devoured while writing this.

The staff here were excellent with Matt and Ben offering superb customer service and advice. You can tell they are not only passionate about what they do but love every second of it. I am already looking forward to my trip back to top up my growlers!


Update: It was inevitable. My two growlers were going to be emptied eventually. So, I washed them out, got in my car, and headed back to the Filling Station!

I was absolutely blown away by Joosy by Unbarred which is now one of my favourite all time beers!

Drinking draft at home really is a glorious experience and having that flexibility to do it so easily is changing the game for people like myself!

Craft beer on tap is, in my opinion, the only way to have a beer designed to be the best it can be. You are doing yourself a disservice by spending a hefty sum on high end beers then not offering it the respect it deserves by drinking it from a can.

The great thing about The Filling Station is that they are always changing the selection of 10 beers on draft. The bad thing is…they are always changing their beers on draft. I went back to top up my now favourite summer beer (Joosy) and it was gone. The team here were quick to point out that they have this on draft often but it did mean I had to buy something else. Judging by how good the previous two were, I know I’m in safe hands with whatever I buy as I whole heartedly trust the teams recommendations.

They still had a lot of beer in the fridge so I was still able to find Joosy in a can but after being spoiled by draft beer I’m now starting to turn my nose up at it.

I made sure to stamp my Filling Station card which entitles me to a free litre of beer on my tenth purchase. This is a fantastic idea as it not only keeps you coming back to encourage the sustainably of reusing your glass bottles but also means that the growlers pay for themselves down the line. This was my second visit and I am already up to 4/10. Not long now!

I was pleased to see that since my last visit that they had added a small beer garden outside which meant I could enjoy my most recent purchases in the sun ☀️ this adds a nice little addition to the experience as it is no longer a craft beer style petrol station that you turn up, fill up, then go, but instead can spend a little time there and enjoy yourself.

This blog post will be updated over the coming weeks and months as I go through this cycle of ordering beer in my new Filling Station growlers and drinking them at home. Make sure to check back and see how I get on! So far, so good!

Vadi Kitchen – St Ives.

My dad was kind enough to treat us to lunch on a rainy Sunday afternoon in St Ives, so we decided to pop into Vadi Kitchen – a place which we have both had our eye on for some time.

Vadi Kitchen has been getting a lot of hype on the Cambridge Foodies Facebook group lately and almost unanimous praise for its Turkish cuisine. I have walked past it many of times and often wondered what it was like, so I was glad to finally find out!

The place is very clean and spacious with a very modern feel to it. The open plan kitchen and bustling staff behind the grill really give it an authentic experience which adds excitement and atmosphere to the meal.

The menu was large with a good selection to chose from. My boy decided to go for the Lamb Sarma Beyti and I went for the Mixed Kebab. My father had the Lamb Beyti.

Everything seemed to be reasonably priced, though when it comes to meat you often want something reassuringly expensive. I think the balance is probably fair.

It was disappointing to see no draft beer on tap but they had bottles of Efes. It was apparently “draft” beer in a bottle but didn’t taste any different from the usual bottled beer. Either way, it is a lovely, smooth, and tasted great. I was glad that the bottles were a decent size too with none of that “330ml bottles for the same price of a pint” rubbish most restaurants try and get away with.

We got a complimentary basket of bread with side sauces and olives while we waited. All very nice and a guarantee that you are going to be full at the end of the meal no matter what you order.

Our food came out in good time and it was nice to be able to see the open kitchen prepare our food. There has always been something reassuring about being able to see the kitchen and know that it’s clean but also to see how much work goes into preparing the food too.

The Lamb Sarma Beyti was absolutely fantastic and was devoured within a few minutes by my son.

My mixed kebab was also very nice. It was served with two different types of rice, a small pepper and a tomato. It would have been nice to have more pepper but otherwise the food was faultless. I think they got the portions here exactly right and was just enough to satisfy filling me up without making me feel too bloated. The lamb was particularly nice and quite tender (which is hard to get right when you are cooking it on a grill).

My dads Lamb Beyti also looked fantastic. Much more succulent and less dry than out other dishes. Certainly a better addition to go with the rice than my dry kebab. Something to keep in mind if you do not like dry food.

We were also given a large bowl of salad which really helped bulk out the meals. There was a selection of cabbage, mixed salad, green salad, and carrots which mixed in perfectly and complimented all our dishes really well.

Vadi Kitchen gets everything right there. I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience from the open grill and kitchen to the food. The place is modern and open yet still have tables divided by glass barriers for people still anxious about COVID. This is a great place to take the family and smart enough for business or special occasions. I recommend getting a table near the grill like we did so you can really make the most of the bustling atmosphere.

Vadi Kitchen is just another example of how St Ives is flying high as one of the essential foodie hubs of Cambridgeshire!

I highly recommend!

Zzohanna – St Ives

I finally ticked the last box in St Ives!

I must say, I’ve enjoyed every Indian in St Ives over the years but Zzohanna was easily my favourite. The service was friendly, fast, and attentive. Everything we’ve come to expect from an Indian was provided here. Hot towels, chocolates, Indian beer (Kingfisher). The selection on the menu was decent with a mixture of traditional Indian cuisine and the usual spicy slop in a bucket we all know and love.

The beer was £4.20, which is more than I’d like to pay of course, but is the sad reality of modern beer prices.

The papadums were excellent. The side sauces were quite small portions but were all great quality, especially the lime pickle. Quality over quantity was a pattern I was quick to notice throughout the night at Zzohanna’s.

The chicken tikka vindaloo tasted superb. It was even pretty hot. The mushroom rice was also excellent. There was nothing to complain about all round.

My sister said that the lamb in her biriyani was falling to pieces. My wife’s king prawn Rogan Josh tasted great too. There weren’t any complaints about the taste of the food from anyone, which is a rarity with my gang. Everything was done to an excellent standard. That said, we felt like our portions were on the small side.

Don’t get me wrong, you wont be left feeling hungry but you certainly knew you were getting more at other places. Going back to my original point, this is a place which focuses on quality over quantity.

I must say, Zzohanna is probably my favourite Indian in St Ives at the moment.

Great work!