"We're the best Indian in Ely!"

Le Spice owner Amin Haque's words might come across as bold but, having been a much-loved fixture of Forehill since 2009, he has the track record to back it up.

Ely Standard: Le Spice has recently had a makeover.Le Spice has recently had a makeover. (Image: Le Spice)

And that's not just because of how tasty and flavourful the restaurant and takeaway's Indian cuisine is (though it certainly helps) but the fact that the local community have remained supportive right from the early days up to the Covid-19 pandemic, during which Le Spice ran as a takeaway.

"We should have moved here a long time ago," he reflects, going on to highlight its "friendly community". 

Ely Standard: Le Spice is extremely popular among locals.Le Spice is extremely popular among locals. (Image: Le Spice)

Amin, who started his career as a restaurant owner in 1995, previously owned the Balti House in March for 20 years as well as a second restaurant in Wisbech. 

He then took on a Thai restaurant on Forehill, which is now a popular Turkish restaurant, that is on the opposite side of the road to Le Spice.

Ely Standard: The team at Le Spice have been hard at work giving the restaurant a new look.The team at Le Spice have been hard at work giving the restaurant a new look. (Image: Le Spice)

Reflecting on the past 15 years of running Le Spice, he added that he has noticed what local residents want: "quality food that's reasonably priced".

And that's exactly what he and the team - including "a very qualified chef who has been here 14 years" - deliver through their vast menu.

Ely Standard: Le Spice has been a staple for 14 years, and has undergone big changes in that time.Le Spice has been a staple for 14 years, and has undergone big changes in that time. (Image: Le Spice)

Fusing traditional elements with new, modern, ideas, the dishes are all temptingly presented and packed with taste sensations.

For the first course, a mixed platter starter allows a taste of everything: alongside a lamb and chicken tikka, samosa and onion bhajee, the stuffed pepper with cheese, onion, sweetcorn and peas proves an unusual yet equally delicious choice.

The spice-infused chicken pakora, meanwhile, is soft, juicy and tender. 

As for the main course options - which range from baltis to masalas and kormas, mostly served in copper bowls that add to the feeling of authenticity - they are full of sweet flavours.

Just reading what goes in to the Manchurian chicken and lamb will have you reaching for the phone to book a table: each marinated then chargrilled in a special sauce with garam masala and a blend of aromatic spices, garlic and ginger, with tomatoes and green peppers, garnished with fresh coriander.

While there is an equally wide range of desserts on offer, Amin said he is also working on expanding the menu "to add something different" which would incorporate a taster platter (with vegan and non-vegan options). 

But that's not all: the building's interior and exterior recently underwent a renovation, giving the restaurant a more modern feel. 

"Ely Construction carried out the work while we stayed open," Amin said, praising the company for doing "a wonderful job".  

With all this in mind, it's clear that Le Spice is going nowhere anywhere anytime soon.