Prana (97 Mill Road Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB1 2AW) was my third choice of Curry House this lunchtime. Having watched Marg eat Breakfast in a Posh French Restaurant sufficient time had passed to permit a visit to the Taj Tandoori (Cherry Hinton Rd.) near the Cambridge Travelodge. It was not open at noon as an unreliable source suggested. There was nothing for it but to walk to Mill Rd, where there is a cluster of outlets. The Golden Curry was open, but then we were confronted by a group of Chaps painting and decorating. They would be open at six I was told. Too late.
A few metres towards town the first venue encountered on the same side of the street was Prana. Two tables occupied the small area at the entrance, both were occupied by staff who quickly vacated them – The Chef and The Waiter. This is a Basement venue but I never did make it downstairs, next time.
A Menu for one was obtained, Marg’s turn to watch me eat. The Gosht Kata Masala stood out from the rest. It was described as being – thick medium with Onion, Fresh Ginger and …the Green Mushy Vegetable. Chapattis were on offer at £2.25, no chance. A Stuffed Paratha at £2.75 had to be better value.
The Waiter was over in due time to take the order. The was no problem in ditching the Ubiquitous Capsicum – Can I have extra Coriander instead? – I enquired.
Why at this stage do Restaurants not offer an Alternate Interesting Vegetable? I may have written this before, dozens of times.
A Chap who was obviously Mein Host came in and sat at the adjacent table. He acknowledged us formally as he entered, good touch. The first Customers of the Day. The Prana website suggests they are quite new in town. The décor was Fresh, the toilet immaculate.
After a decent time to suggest this dish had not just be scraped together, a rather impressive looking Curry was set before me, along with a modest sized Paratha. I had to give the thumbs up, this should do the job nicely.
The Masala was decidedly on the Thick side as hoped for, and certainly not excessive. This was a good distance from Soup. Onion was to the fore, large pieces, maybe I had been given more having narrowed the range. Pieces of Spring Onion were then revealed and a solitary cooked Tomato, enough variation. First thoughts were of the Vegetables dominating, the Lamb was in sufficient quantity but buried. With the generous topping of Fresh Coriander and the Large Onion slices there was a distinctive overall Flavour, one I recognised and put down the the Onion. The Crunch from the Coriander gave a near Gritty Texture at times making me think about Chettinad which is always a good thing. The Paratha had been filled with more Coriander, Onion and a little Red Capsicum. This complemented the Curry very well indeed. For lunch this was a perfect combination. One could not claim this to be in the very top league of say Bradford/Glasgow at their best, but given that this was a totally random choice of Venue, I had to admit to being impressed and surprised. Very enjoyable.
£15.60. This included the obligatory Sparkling Water.
The Calling Card was received with interest. Another Chap came out to see the Curry-Heute Website and marvelled at the sheer number of places visited never mind the quantity of Curry Consumed. Sadly, Mein Host had gone and so could not receive my congratulations. The Chap I considered to be The Chef wrote out a recommendation for me, his Brother’s Restaurant. If I ever find out where Essex is, I might give it a try.
In the meantime, eleven of The Chaps were waiting on Jesus Green with Herr Schellenberg’s Biers. It is the last day of the Cambridge Beer Festival.
A Recommendation from Prana
Undaal Indian Cuisine, Brantwood, Essex.
Passing Mill Road much later, The Golden Curry was indeed open for busniness, maybe next time.
Kobir, the Owner of Prana has been in touch. It was good to hear from him directly. The two Chaps I met were his Waiters. I am also invited to check out Maliks, part of the Family Chain. Well of course, Hector seeks Quality Curry. I feel a visit to Malik’s, Cookham, Berkshire is now on the agenda.