Moving away from the bright culinary lights of London is never easy for a food lover. Recently, I have officially returned to my hometown – Cardiff, in South Wales – for career/family reasons and it’s taken a little while for my foodie side to adjust. From my experience, the capital’s vast array of restaurants, bars, cafes, food markets and events is simply not matched in any other British city. But Cardiff does have a lot to offer, and it definitely has a growing food scene. New places to try seem to be popping up on a daily basis lately.
And so, starting with this post, I thought I would share my experiences of some of the places I’ve visited since I’ve moved back… And what better place to start than a good curry?
A few days ago, my boyfriend and I decided to take an impromptu midweek trip to an Indian restaurant we’d been meaning to try for a while – The Purple Poppadom, in Canton. We’re already big fans of its sister restaurant, the Mint and Mustard, and had heard from a few people that they actually preferred the newer addition. It even got a thumbs up from well-known food writer Jay Rayner. So we decided to give it a go.
The menu certainly does not offer your average British-Indian fare. There’s no chicken korma in sight and it has a tasting menu – 6 courses of spicy delights, such as crispy soft shell crab dusted with curry leaves and garlic and crispy pulled oxtail meat stir fried with coconut, along with matching wines with each course. But, with work looming the next day, we went for a starter, a main and a couple of beers.
We nibbled on some poppadoms with home-made raita, lime pickle and mango chutney while we waited for our starters. This was scallops for me – three tender, lightly spiced scallops with cauliflower three ways: puree, fritters and shavings. A tried-and-tested combination which didn’t disappoint. I then went for the sea bass. A generous portion – three pieces of flaky white fish on a bed of curry leaf infused mashed potatoes and surrounded by a sea of mango, ginger and coconut sauce. What more can you want in a main? The boy meanwhile – being ever the meat-lover – went for chicken marinated in three different spice combinations, followed by slow-cooked lamb with onion, fennel and saffron, with fluffy, steamed rice on the side.
Desserts are not usually an Indian restaurant’s strong point, but the choices looked very tempting – green tea and rose petal creme brûlée or tandoori pineapple, to name a couple. Had we not been jam-packed, we definitely would have gone for a third course. The portions are large at the Purple Poppadom, but it’s also reasonable. Perhaps a little pricier than your average Indian – the starters around £7 and mains about £14. But it’s definitely worth it – especially if you’re looking for something a bit different. Next time, the tasting menu.The Purple Poppadom
185a Cowbridge Road
Cardiff CF11 9AJ
+44 (0)29 2022 0026
Follow Carys on Twitter at @carys_notley
Images courtesy of The Purple Poppadom