It’s been over 3 years since Prana relaunched after an extensive refurbishment (I wrote about it here). Since then, this upscale Indian restaurant on Mill Road has taken its place among Cambridge’s best eating establishments and even won a few prestigious awards along the way. It’s no secret Paulo and I have been regular customers – the food has always been flavoursome and prepared with quality ingredients.
The food and drink scene in Cambridge, particularly on Mill Road, has been evolving and expanding. Prana’s bar now offers over 40 gins, making them the biggest Indian restaurant gin bar in Cambridge. There are gins from all over the world as well as local ones. The front of the restaurant facing Mill Road is the area for walk-ins to enjoy a G&T or two. It’s not necessary to dine in to try the gin bar (snacks are available) but we decided to have our G&Ts with our dinner (Silent Pool for Paulo, Brockmans for me). There is a choice between Fever-Tree and Schweppes tonics (we’re team Fever-Tree).
Owner Kobir Ahmed kindly invited us to try Prana’s new menu, which has been streamlined, thereby putting less pressure on the kitchen, generating less food waste and simplifying the previously overwhelming choice. Most of the favourites are still on the menu and these dishes continue to be several notches above the bog standard curry houses. The new menu features five additional dishes, some exclusive to Prana, which have replaced a few of the traditional ones that made the old menu so extensive.
Curiosity got the better of us so we ordered all three of the new starters. They were packed with clean, vibrant flavours as Prana continue to use their own spice blends rather than curry powder. The Samosa Chaat (vegan) was a feast for the eyes as well as the palate with its spicy heat that wasn’t too overpowering. It was beautifully presented, consisting of crushed chickpeas and potato, topped with a vegetable samosa and drizzled with sweet and tangy sauce, all on a bed of fresh salad leaves with pomegranate seeds and a sprinkling of Bombay mix from fellow Mill Road trader Al-Amin.
Alvi’s Special featured their now legendary Nazakat (delicately spiced chicken skewered and grilled in the tandoor), accompanied by a scoop of yogurt topped with a green sauce made with finely chopped coriander blended with spices and white wine vinegar. I loved the combination of flavours in this starter and the yogurt had a cooling effect for the spicy heat of the previous dish. Perfect!
The Gunpowder Courgettes (vegan) packed a punch with potato and peas tossed in Prana’s own spice blend (named gunpowder) and stuffed in a sliced courgette. It was so delicious, next time we might order this starter as a side to share, but then again their amazing Sesame Courgettes side dish is still on the menu. Either way, courgette fans like me are covered!
I had the Tandoori Lamb Chops (skewered lamb chops grilled in the tandoor), one of their new main courses. They arrived at the table sizzling!
The spice rub on the lamb chops was so tasty, I found myself dabbing my butter naan over the bones to soak up the flavour. The naan is excellent at Prana and they even have a vegan one, which I have tried in the past but give me that buttery goodness anytime.
Another new main course on the menu is the Sea Bass Mooli (sea bass fillet served on delicately flavoured coconut sauce, topped with a mooli chutney). However, Paulo decided to stick to his tried-and-true favourite, Murgh Jalfraizi (chicken strips in hot spices with shallots, capsicum, fresh chilli, fresh herbs and coriander). The dish is already the hottest on the menu but Paulo wanted it super spicy and it was no problem to adjust this for him. Kobir even brought out the spice mixture so he could have a taste.
The Murgh Jalfraizi had a wonderful smoky flavour and it was evident that Prana have continued to use their quality chicken supplier. Paulo mopped up the succulent sauce with his garlic naan.
We shared a bowl of Pulao Rice, made with high quality Tilda basmati rice, which complemented both our lamb and chicken dishes.
After that spicy dish, Paulo ordered a cooling vanilla ice cream served in a champagne glass. We also shared our favourite desserts at Prana, both are the chef’s specialities: Firni (a creamy rice pudding with slices of fresh coconut, flavoured with saffron and cardamom) and Cinnamon Pear (aromatic slices of pear simmered in syrup of whole cinnamon, served with dairy fresh cream). It’s so nice to have homemade desserts of this calibre on an Indian menu.
With the Mill Road Bridge closed to vehicles for the summer and affecting trade, it’s more important than ever to support our Mill Road independents. It’s a great time to try Prana’s fabulous new menu and gin bar.
I was invited by Prana Indian Restaurant. Although the food and drinks were complimentary, all views are my own. I did not receive compensation for my review.
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