Reviewed by Eleanor Ayres
Atithi is an absolute gem of a modern Indian restaurant, located in Cambridge’s popular Mill Road. The food is tasty, interesting and a little different from your standard Indian takeaway fare – although a steady stream of Deliveroo drivers proved that takeaway here is pretty popular.
We started with the Beetroot Tikki (deep fried spiced beetroot with lentil, ginger, apple chutney) and Safrani Chicken (chicken fillets, cream cheese, saffron and mace). The chicken was succulent and tasty and the beetroot tikki was amazing: a bit like a giant falafel, it was satisfyingly spicy and contrasted nicely with the apple chutney.
For the main course, I had the Madras Fish (grilled sea bass chilli and carom seeds served with Aloo Gobi masala) and my husband had the Railway Canteen Curry (lamb curry finished with classic South Indian spices and potatoes). The sea bass was beautifully presented on a small heap of aloo gobi masala, and the whole thing was absolutely delicious. The railway canteen curry was also excellent: well-flavoured with very tender pieces of lamb. We ordered sides of pulao rice, although we actually received steamed rice – the only blip in the otherwise-exemplary service – but we didn’t even mention it, given how much we were enjoying everything.
Also on the side we had Paneer Jalfrezi (diced paneer, Punjabi spices and mixed peppers), which was a bit of an afterthought and surprisingly delicious – it also comes as a full-size vegetarian main course option. We tried two types of naan bread – the garlic and coriander, which was very garlicky (in a good way), and the date and coconut. Both were thin and hot, and the date and coconut naan was a real revelation – sweet and savoury, combining perfectly with the main meal.
We don’t often have dessert in Indian restaurants but could not resist the Gajar Ka Halwa (homemade heritage carrot fudge with mango kulfi) and Gulab Jamun (homemade deep fried dumpling, rose flavoured, cardamom). The Gajar Ka Halwa was described as carrot fudge, served with mango kulfi, though it was actually more like a warm blob of carrot cake. It was a bit too carroty for me, but my husband loved it. The mango kulfi was as good any I’ve ever had, with a good strong mango taste. I enjoyed the Gulab Jamun, described as deep-fried dumplings with rose and cardamom: they were warm and delectably sweet.
The restaurant has a very well stocked bar, with a nice selection of drinks, though we boringly stuck with a couple of Cobra beers and a Diet Coke (unfortunately a little flat). The seating in the window was a bit unusual – the table and banquette were on a platform and the other seat was a high stool, which meant we were sitting a bit unevenly – but we were given a choice of table and didn’t feel the need to move.
The staff were very attentive, and the atmosphere pleasant. We went on a Sunday night so the restaurant was fairly quiet and perhaps a bit more subdued than at other times. A second dining section towards the back and a large garden area means that the capacity is bigger than it looks at first glance. Having the loos in the middle of the restaurant is a little unusual, but they were very clean and modern, and well-equipped with disabled access and baby-changing facilities.
Our meal at Atithi was genuinely one of the nicest Indian meals I have ever eaten, and if I lived in town it would be my first choice for takeaway every time. I hope to go back soon.
For more information, to view the menu or to make a booking visit www.atithi.co.uk.
Atithi, 52 Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 2AS | 01223 662102