Monday 22 October 2007

Spice Quarter - Cardiff

Funny how the Spice Quarter gets over looked by the national food press. Cardiff locals know its good, very good. Perhaps its because the PLACE is surrounded by corporate chains, Nandos etc in an open courtyard aka the brewery quarter. A drop kick from the Millenium Stadium though, so great pre/post Rugby match venue. Up the ornamental stairwell and into a dining salon of deep maroons, stately browns, expensive hardwood, lit by colourful eastern lanterns, ruby red, octerine, sequin blue. You can perch at the bar, watch chefs recruited from 5 star hotels in Delhi wielding large succulent cubes of paneer on skewers, scorching meat in the clay oven, dicing chillies.

SERVICE is fine, head waiter looks like manservant Queen Victoria came to depend on during her convalescent years at Osborne Palace. Women in saris, some Thai girls from downstairs sister restaurant the Thai Edge (also ex cellent). PRICES have risen a little (enough food and drink 30 squids evenings) but with a lunch set at 6.95 for 3 courses, including Indian deserts, kheer rice pud, gulab jamans, halwa and large portions its hard not to feel you’re getting value for money. Especially as the cooking is delicious, executed with a certain amount of culinary flare.

Chicken Malai Tikka, meaty hunks of char grilled Chicken in a tangy cheesy coating strong with warming acerbity of cloves began a meal with 2 sisters well. However, the curries were superb. Each sauce a smooth blend, nuanced and incredibly flavoursome. Unrivalled Rogan Gosht, a peppery maroon gravy of fruity tomato and a suggestion of ground almond given a lovely lift by kashmiri red chilli. A brilliant Lamb Saag. Superlative preparation of spinach, fenugreek and coriander. In accompaniment, Navratan Korma perfectly trod fine line being savoury and slightly sweet. Mix Veg, beans, carrots, peas in pureed yoghurt with creamy cashew nuts.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve eaten here, won’t be the last. I can vouch the FOOD is excellent, close to perfection though that would be impossible – so hard to please!!

Willp2328 score: 9/10

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