Are they the best Indian food in Cambridgeshire?
Aromatic, flavoursome and filling, the signs of truly great Indian cuisine and words you can find plastered across the various TripAdvisor reviews for this well-revered restaurant.
At the time of review, they are rated 4.5 Stars on TA with over 339 reviews.
Do The Banyan Tree in Westgate, Peterborough live up to their reputation?
Find out Below!
Upon entry, we walked to the bar and were greeted by a lovely gentleman who offered us a seat, prepared us a couple of drinks and gave us a preview of the menu.
Once seated, we had a few moments to go over the menu and were even offered some advice as to what is recommended and sides / rice that would suit a particular dish.
This was very handy especially as my partner is not very good with spice, so it was lovely to have an expert on the dishes to advise us.
Overall they were all very friendly, helpful, superbly attentive, no qualms about praising the staff at all.
Decor & Cleanliness
The Banyan Tree has a quaint traditional styling inside, mixed with a more modern twist in certain areas (such as the LED backlit designs in the middle room).
Appealing but not distracting design, all packed inside a wonderful historic building.
The rooms are laid out well, not too packed so you feel like you are in a sardine tin, yet close enough to the staff so that you can always grab someone’s attention if needed.
Round the corner from the dining tables is the bar, which is well stocked and definitely in a more modern style, in keeping with the rest of the section.
In regards to cleanliness, tables were kept clean, wiped down prior to seating, after each course and upon leaving.
The rest of the establishment was just as orderly, from the bar to the bathroom, all sparkling and fresh.
Food & Drinks
“So tender it melts in your mouth…”
The menu is extensive without feeling too bloated, you will find a lot of classic dishes, along with a few that you may not find elsewhere.
It is focused on traditional Indian cooking, and the server was quite proud of the nature of their food, explaining a couple of the dishes that he hasn’t seen sold elsewhere.
There is a plethora of starters, sides, mains, breads, and rice dishes, whether you are into Seafood, Lamb, Chicken or even Vegetarian food, there is something for everyone I am sure.
Jessica had the following:
Lamb Samosa — Finely minced lamb laced with spices and wrapped in a fine pastry envelope.
Pretty sure most of you out there have tried a Samosa at some point, so it is no surprise to most that we would have to give them a try.
These were well crafted, crunchy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside, just the right consistency.
The blend of spices, vegetables and minced lamb was heavenly.
Lamb Korma — Diced lamb cooked in a creamy mild sauce.
Oh what can I say, I haven’t heard the end of how gorgeous this particular main was, Jessica fell in love after the first mouthful.
Although, I cannot deny the stunning flavour of this dish, the sauce was rich, creamy and ever so light.
It had a sweetness that was extremely Moorish, it ranks up there with the best, that is for sure. Could of quite easily had that main too!
Lasooni Naan — Naan bread with a sprinkling of finely chopped garlic.
The Naan came out sparkling, I gather from whatever it was cooked in, it looked very appetising.
I managed to sneak a bit when Jessica wasn’t looking, it was warm, silky and had just a hint of garlic. I thought perhaps the garlic would be rather overpowering, but it was finely chopped and dispersed across the bread, meaning you never got too much of it in one bite.
Sada Chawal — Fine Basmati boiled rice.
Wasn’t much to say about this one, fluffy, light, not stodgy at all, just what you would hope from a fine restaurant. Certainly no complaints, brilliantly prepared and presented.
While I had:
Tamater Sorba — Plum tomato soup tempered with curry leaves and cumin.
This was not just your typical tomato soup, this was lovingly crafted and you could taste it.
There was a spicy hint from the curry leaves that just left your taste-buds tingling (although Jessica might say otherwise).
It was creamy, full of flavour and quite possibly the best tomato soup I have ever had in a restaurant, and I don’t say that readily!
Lamb Rogan Josh — Tender pieces of lamb, slowed cooked in a spicy gravy of yoghurt and fennel.
As a lover of gentle spice, this hit the spot for me. There was just enough kick from the spicy gravy to awaken my senses without taking them over.
It was soft on the palate with exemplary bits of lamb that were so tender it melts in your mouth.
Roomali Roti — Finely baked Tawa bread folded like a handkerchief.
I had no idea what this was when I ordered it, as it sounded interesting on the menu and I felt like trying something new.
When it came out it looked like a tidy bit of bread folded into a rectangle, but what was hidden beneath were the delicate layers of Tawa bread it was constructed from.
Layer after layer of whisper thin Tawa, crafted into a finely made sheet.
This was a stunning side to use with a dip, you could just tear through the bread and mop up any residual juices from the dips or mains.
Would recommend this for those who have not tried it before!
Lemon Jeera Rice — Basmati rice with cumin seeds and lemon.
Originally I was planning on choosing the tried and true Pilau rice that I am sure many of you favour as the ‘standard’ rice for Indian dishes.
However this Lemon Jeera Rice was recommended by the server, I have to admit he knew what he was talking about.
The slight zing from the Lemon shone through the fluffy rice, it helped cut through the spicy flavours of the mains and brought extra dimensionality to the dishes.
We were then suggested these dishes:
Poppadoms with Mint, Lime pickle and Mango Chutney dips.
These were a great start to the meal, crunchy, light and went beautifully with each of the dips (although we weren’t a fan of the very tangy Lime Pickle dip).
Murg Purluft — Delicately spiced chicken, layered with Shahi Jeera & fresh coriander.
The chicken was tender, fantastically skewered and grilled. The spices used were just enough to awaken your palate without overpowering it, with the subtle coriander kicking in at the end.
Barra Kebab — Lamb chops grilled in the Tandoor and flavoured with a tangy red chilli marinade.
These lamb chops arrived neatly shuffled on the plate, with a delightful display of carrots and various other vegetables cut into pleasant shapes, such as the carrot flowers.
The chops did not have much meat on them, although what was there was delicious.
However if I had ordered these alone as a starter, I would of felt quite robbed, as the price versus the amount of meat we actually got is fairly overpriced.
(This could have just been the certain chops we received, but basing it on this experience alone, I wouldn’t order them again if I was hungry.)
All that said, it was an excellent mix of spices, along with succulent meat that we did manage to get.
Mysore Chilli Chicken — Julienne of chicken tossed in a coconut and chilli massala with onion, capsicum and tomatoes with whole red chillies and mustard seeds.
This was rightfully classed as a medium spice dish, Jessica did manage to try some and said she liked it even though she couldn’t have handled a full dish, which is an accomplishment in itself.
The chicken was extraordinarily soft, full of gentle spices and red chilli flavour that explodes in your mouth.
It wasn’t my favourite dish, but it was something I would definitely try again.
Dal Makhani — Green lentils prepared and cooked in a mild and creamy sauce.
While I typically avoid vegetarian dishes (not for any particular reason other than I like a good bit of meat!), I have to admit that it was surprisingly tasty.
The green lentils mixed with the creamy sauce was delightful, a light and healthy meal I am sure would not disappoint any hearty Vegetarians out there.
After the meal was all done and dusted we both felt EXTREMELY full, The Banyan Tree CERTAINLY do not skimp on the portion sizes.
The only criticisms I can think of, are that there could have been a touch more rice per dish and perhaps an extra chop on the Barra Kebab.
Other than those small quibbles, if you are on the lookout for an Indian Restaurant that deals in delicious and aromatic cuisine, you should definitely check them out!