Prana, launch of new menu and gin bar – Cambridge (UK)

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.

Prana Indian Restaurant Cambridge gin bar

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).

Prana Indian Restaurant Cambridge gin and tonic

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.

Prana Indian Restaurant Cambridge Mill Road menu

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.

Prana Indian Restaurant Cambridge samosa chaat

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Mint Leaf Restaurant & Bar – Haymarket, London (UK)

I have to thank Trafalgar Transformed for introducing me to fine Indian dining at Mint Leaf Restaurant & Bar in Haymarket. To celebrate the run of family comedy-drama East Is East at Trafalgar Studios, they ran a Twitter competition on photo fails. The prize was 4 tickets to the play as well as dinner at Mint Leaf Restaurant & Bar. This was my winning entry:

fail

Needless to say I was thrilled because I love the theatre and of course, I love food! In fact, food writer Zoe Perrett discusses precisely this combination on her blog specialising in Indian cuisine, Culinary Adventures of The Spice Scribe. Her post on food and the East Is East cast is a great read: An East Is East Feast – Talking Food with the Play’s Cracking Cast.

Collage Mint Leaf

After we enjoyed the brilliant performance of East Is East, we headed to Mint Leaf Restaurant & Bar with our stomachs rumbling in anticipation. As we arrived slightly before the restaurant opened for dinner at 5pm, we waited at the bar where the extensive cocktail menu was too good to pass up!

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