Sunday 21 December 2008

Spice Quarter - Cardiff, 20/12/08

Travelling between Fratton and Cardiff on Worst Great Western’s Express Service is depressing. The carriages haven’t been cleaned inside or out for…since they rolled out of the yard all pristine and new roundabout 1996 (!?)…and there are only two. Two for a journey that takes in at least ten major cities and towns. Packed in like the proverbial sardine for a truly sluggish journey that seems to last half a lifetime is an experience I will never repeat, I’d sooner go via Guildford and Reading. Last weekend I did and despite two changes I arrived clean and content, in the same time, with no unscheduled stops for the residents of Bramley Hedge or Farthing Wood.

I thought I’d write another report on the Spice Quarter simply because I doubt there is a better Indian in Wales and I ate there again Saturday evening.

Such an opulent dining room, quiet, professional service and the food from the state of the art open kitchen! It has the same intensity and diversity of flavours the accomplished curry chef can achieve at home.

Three delicious Lamb patties with diced apricots were fatty, fruity and sweet, just right and not overpriced at £6. A Chicken Karai, Punjabi country fare, had such a robust, concentrated taste: tangy garlic, zingy coriander seeds in a rich tomato puree with beautifully charred green peppers and big, moist chunks of onion - wonderful! Accompaniments not quite so good but above par all the same, included pilau, buttery and plentiful, and, Jeera Aloo, floury potatoes, margarine and subtle hints of earthy cumin. Kev had, on my recommendation, the Saag, a wonderful blend of savoury spinach and fenugreek with a brilliant, lingering, bitter sweetness of cloves.

Despite huge portions, the cooking and presentation underline the fact the restaurant is really quite classy, a rare quality in the Cardiff area. If I lived here the place would seem rather like an Oasis in a culinary desert.


Willp2328score: 9/10 (still!)

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