Here's a little info about me... I love Indian cuisine. This means I'm extra lucky to live near Leicester where we have some of the most fabulous restaurants covering cuisines from all over India and thankfully because my mum and dad are fans too I've been visiting them since I was a little one. My dad is also from Birmingham which many call the curry capitol of the UK, so with his influence and nearly 30 years of dining I think I've developed a good knowledge of what great UK created Indian food is. Therefore when something new comes along or when a restaurant I already know of keeps getting better and better it's a very exciting thing. One such place is the fabulous Chutney Ivy of Halford Street, Leicester.

I love this part of town which is known as the Cultural Quarter - the Curve Theatre is located here as are some wonderful cocktail bars, makers workshops and creative business spaces so it only makes sense that an innovative restaurant like Chutney Ivy be positioned there too.

The restaurant itself is a nice airy space with high ceilings and lots of greenery - more modern than your traditional Indian restaurant but still with a sense of opulence to it. As well as the main restaurant area there is a seating area that can be separated off by a grand curtain into a more private space or left open to the bustle of the restaurant and there is also a private space downstairs that can be hired for functions and parties. In fact on the night of my attendance there was a whisky tasting event in full swing that pairing the peaty drink with different Indian dishes - a stroke of genius! There's a gin night coming up soon too apparently that I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for.

The restaurant has a great drink selection which makes this type of event even more perfect a match. I had mentioned earlier in the day that I am a huge fan of cardamom and love it in a cocktail and so the barman mixed me a special version of their Chai Martini that had the cardamom amped up a few levels and I have to say it was deliciously creamy and rich with a beautiful delicate, aromatic spice.

Speaking of mixology and blending the traditional with more unusual flavours, the restaurant has recently started offering an 'Indian Tapas' menu that's perfect for the pre-theatre crowd and I've also heard rumours of an Indian Afternoon Tea which also sounds very exciting - sign me up for that!

I was very kindly invited along with three other bloggers to have a meal featuring dishes from the restaurant's new menu and a wonderful evening was had by all. We started our meal each selecting a starter but were also treated to a few additional treats to try.

I chose the Jingha Rowshne which was a dish of huge king prawns marinated in olive oil, garlic butter and chillies and then cooked in cream, spring onions and fresh coriander and let me tell you it was an absolute dream. They really were the biggest prawns I've seen on a restaurant menu and were cooked to perfection, with the beautiful creamy sauce tempering the chilli and complimenting the delicate flavour of the prawns perfectly. 

The additional bites we tried were all just fabulous too, especially the spiced potato cakes that had been lightly fried, Aloo Palaak ki Tikki. We also sampled the Maachi Amritsari chunks of white fillets of fish coated in a spiced batter and deep fried and a delicious new concoction of spiced and grilled chunks of paneer atop a little buttery piece of paratha and topped with a sun dried tomato - unusual but very yummy!

For my main course I chose the Salmon Tikka Massala which was three generous chunks of Scottish pink salmon seared in the Tandoor before being simmered in a creamy, tomato based sauce with dill and a myriad of roasted spices. I was a little worried that the two cooking methods may result in the fish being overcooked but thankfully this was not at all the case, with the moist salmon flaking beautifully and working with the sauce rather than being overpowered by the spices.

My fellow diners enjoyed dishes featuring the giant prawns, chicken, lamb and more cooked and spiced in a variety of ways - one good thing to note if you aren't a big chilli fan like me is that you can adjust the spice level of any dish, a sure sign that your meal is freshly prepared for you and to your individual taste.

Alongside the main dishes we tried a variety of rices of which my favourite was the Jeera Peas Pilau with green peas, onion and coriander. My paratha was also lovely and buttery and perfect for sauce dipping, as were the selection of naans that also graced our table.

We finished the meal with desserts and coffee and I had my favourite Indian pudding - Kulfi. This is a creamy and fragrant frozen dessert often referred to as Indian ice cream and it's the perfect cooling end to a spicey meal in my opinion.

All in all this was a fabulous meal and I am very pleased that I can keep recommending Chutney Ivy as one of the best restaurants in Leicester - I highly recommend you check it out if you're in town and don't miss the prawns if you're a seafood fan like me!

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*This meal was complimentary in exchange for a review, but all opinions are entirely honest and my own.
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