Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: Indian

Happy Birthday Purple Poppadom! Celebrating With A New Menu

Nothing excites me like a good restaurant that changes it’s menu regularly and when it is the Purple Poppadom, there are extra squeals of delight. In honour of Purple Poppadom’s first birthday and to celebrate five successful years for Chef Anand George in Cardiff, the 501 game Taster Menu has been launched.

I love this time of year despite the cold because I just love game and all the dining possibilities it brings so I was very pleased to see that the Purple Poppadom were incorporating it into a menu. I gave rave reviews to their previous taster menus so I went along with high expectations.

Purple Poppadom lovers you’ll be pleased to know that this menu didn’t disappoint. The tasters included, rabbit, pheasant, goat, wild boar as well as a fish course and a selection of desserts. As usual the service was impeccable and the place was jammed packed with diners, even though it was a Wednesday night.

We started the evening off with the Lapin a Deux. A beautifully presented rabbit starter consisting of minced rabbit cooked in the tandoor and cubes of rabbit in a polti bag. The minced rabbit was delicately spiced so that the flavours didn’t overpower the meat but my favourite was the polti bag which is a flaky pastry parcel filled with cubes of tender spicy rabbit. I always enjoy the Purple Poppadom starters and this was no exception. As usual my photos do not do the food justice.

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The Halibut Vert fish course was next and as usual was perfectly cooked. The tender Halibut marinated in coriander and mint was so tender and juicy and the spiced cake of halibut was one of the nicest fish cakes I have ever had.

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I wouldn’t usually bore you with details of a pallet cleanser but the Granny Smith Apple and Chilli Sorbet was so good I would have been happy with it as dessert. If I could buy some to take home and put in the freezer I would.

Moving onto the middle course, the Ffesant Choux Fleur. My favourite course and my favourite French word for a vegetable all rolled into one! This course featured some unusual flavour combinations but they worked very well. The coriander and garlic crusted pheasant was served with cauliflower puree and pickled beetroot. Presented in a deep dish, once cut into, the pheasant was emersed in the puree. The combination of the warm cauliflower and cold beetroot made for some interesting textures and complimented the meat.

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The main course which was preceded by a passion fruit and ginger sorbet, consisted of two curries, a Thoran, steamed rice and two Indian breads. The first curry, the Chevre Royal was my favourite. The goat was unbelievably tender. Purple Poppadom have great skill when it comes to cooking meat. It is always executed perfectly and on this occasion, the goat was melt in the mouth good which I don’t always find with goat.

The Sanglier de Kerala was also lovely and went very well with the Thoran which is also a South Indian dish. The meat again was very tender (Wild Boar on this occasion) and the mild sweet flavours matched those of the delicious Thoran and the breads.

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Sad to bring the evening to a close but feeling full, we embarked on a trio of dessert. For me this was the weakest course but by no means poor. We had the signature chocolate samosa with caramelised banana which I always enjoy, a Christmas pudding cheesecake and an orange, coconut and Penedryn whiskey cake. Everything was nice but I don’t think it lived up to the desserts on the previous two taster menus. In fact, the Rose Hip Brulee on the original Taster Menu was one of the best desserts I have ever tasted so to live up to that was a tall order.

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I can honestly say that the Purple Poppadom is one of my all time favourite restaurants. When I recommend it to people they often start talking about other Indian restaurants they enjoy but I cannot stress enough that this is not your typical Indian restaurant and should not be compared as such. It is in a far superior league and the menu is so far removed from a curry house. Anand George calls his food Nouvelle Indian Cuisine and I think this is a good description. It is fresh, original, high quality food using Indian flavours.

If you haven’t visited yet, you NEED to! You won’t be disappointed. The Taster menu is £45 per person which may sound expensive but it is definitely worth the price and is the best way to experience what is on offer. The A La Carte is also fantastic though.

My Last Mouthful was: The Ffesant Choux Fleur

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Purple Poppadom- Still a Firm Favourite

If you’ve read my previous review or follow me on Twitter you will probably be aware of my love for Purple Poppadom. I think chef Anand George is a genius with his interpretation of Indian Nouvelle cuisine, turning Indian food into fine dining with a touch of fusion.

You can imagine then, that I was more than happy to sample the new Deep Blue Taster Menu when I was invited recently. Purple Poppadom’s menus change with the season and Deep Blue is their summer offering featuring a range of fantastic fish dishes.

The menu is extensive and I wanted to try everything so I love the idea of a Taster Menu. With this menu, we had the option to pair it with beer which was a great idea. A different beer came with each course and they really did compliment the food perfectly.

Our first course was a trio of starters; Salmon Mel (Salmon marinated with mustard, honey and cooked in tandoor), Golden Green (Cubes of mango and avocado with lamb lettuce and baby spinach with a passion fruit and chilli dressing) and Tune Pillow (Delicately spiced pattice of tuna, encased in crispy breadcrumbs).

The Salmon was amazing! It was beautifully cooked in a sweet sauce and worked very well with the other two starters on the plate. The Tuna Pillow was crunchy on the outside and sot on the inside, housing some delicate flavours. The sweet mango salad was also excellent. All of this was accompanied by Brooklyn Lager from the USA.

Moving onto the middle course, we were presented with Spirit Of The Sea (Swordfish loin marinated with coriander, mint and spices, grilled in tandoor, accompanied by a South Indian style risotto and a chilli garlic oil) paired with a Beer Lao bringing back memories of my travels through Laos.

This was a lovely dish. The swordfish was meaty but still beautifully tender, soft and moist. The coriander flavours were wonderful and worked well with the subtle tasting risotto which was beautifully soft and creamy with a welcome crunch of onion. This was my favourite course.


After a deliciously refreshing Green Apple and Chilli Sorbet, we were presented with Petits Filets and Kalamari (Pan fried Kerala style marinated sardine fillets on salad leaves, tomato and mustard dressing served with golden crispy battered squid) paired with a Cwrw Celt Welsh beer.

This was a light refreshing dish with a perfectly cooked sardine with a nice crispy skin. For me, this was the weakest dish but still perfectly lovely. The salad and the dressing had more of a mediterranean flavour than an Indian feel to me. However, the Calamari was cooked perfectly. Often like a rubber band, this was nothing of the sort. Tender, and beautiful, cooked in the most delicious batter! I’m not sure it really belonged with the sardine dish though.

For the main, we had The Halibut Islands (Tender white halibut supreme) which came with a choice of sauce. We chose Alleppey Sauce, a blend of raw mango and ginger. Ginger and Mango are favourites of mine so I knew this was going to be good. Again, the fish was cooked to perfection and the meaty fish was complimented by the sharp mango and heat from the ginger. It was delicious and the colours were beautiful.

The main was accompanied by a fresh and crunchy Stir Fry Vert (Asparagus, baby corn, mangetout, french beans, cashew nut and coconut tempered with mustard and curry leaves) and basmati rice. The beer for this course was an Erdinger Weiss which really brought out the fruity flavours of the curry. My only niggle here is that it would have been nice to have some naan bread with this course as there was plenty of sauce.

Finally, we were presented with a very eye-catching selection of desserts. Tandoori Pineapple, chef’s signature dish; a Chocolate Filled Poppadom on a Caramalised Banana and a Mango Brulee. The previous menu included a Rose Brulee which was one of my all time favourite desserts so I was interested to try the Mango version. It was delicious and definitely the stand out dessert for me but nothing is going to touch the rose one in my opinion.

The Chocolate Poppadom was very nice and the flavours worked well with the banana and the Tandoori Pineapple had a very unusual flavour but I’m not sure it was really for me. Overall though, I was impressed with dessert, they are always very innovative.

The thing that always strikes me with food at the Purple Poppadom is the outstanding presentation. Everything is beautifully designed and every plate looks the same. Each little Taster was exactly the same size and shape on both mine and Mr V’s plates throughout the night and everything was cooked to perfection.

The Taste Menu is £39.95 per person or £47.95 with beer. For the quality and volume of food included, I think this is a fair price and in my opinion, the Taster menu is definitely worth doing because you get to try so much. However, if the Taster Menu’s not for you, there are plenty of other options and they even do Take Away.

Aside from the food, the experience is heightened by the staff  who are clearly very proud of the success they are having. Manager Ramon is a fabulous host and makes everyone feel very welcome. We dined on a Friday night at 7pm and it was already full to bursting. I can understand why and if you haven’t been yet, why the hell not????

My Last Mouthful was: Spirit of the Sea

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Cardamom Indian Restaurant- Once upon-a-time there was a fine dining restaurant…

I seem to have been invited to a string of Indian restaurants over the past few weeks of which I will be reviewing in turn. The first in line is Cardamom Indian Restaurant in Canton’s Victoria Park.

Having never been to Cardamom before, I was intrigued after reading the description on their website:

‘…the award-winning Indian restaurant, in the heart of Cardiff, continues to be instrumental in changing perceptions of the subcontinent’s cuisine. With its amazing service and prices there is no better that the Cardamom when it comes to Indian cuisine in Cardiff. The restaurant offers a sophisticated fine dining experience with effortlessly charming staff, discrete service and tantalising food that few can compete with.’

Reading this I got very excited. How had I overlooked this one? To top things off, it is named after one of my all-time favourite ingredients.

We visited Cardamom on a Wednesday evening which is a relatively quiet night in even the best restaurants. However, we were pleased to see that we would not be dining alone as there were four other parties already seated when we arrived. Staff were very welcoming and efficient in showing us to our seats. Before we had even looked at the menu our drinks orders were placed.

Taking in our surroundings, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The decor was a bit tired with veneer peeling off the tables and some faint curry stains. The painted walls looked as though they could have used a touch up but there were echoes of superior quality with classy spotlights and high backed chairs. The bar area was also very attractive but all in all, it just looked like it needed some TLC and didn’t scream ‘fine dining’ as described, although it was clear that it had once upon-a-time.

The menu was very substantial and offered some interesting dishes. For starters I chose an unusual Chicken and Pasta Balti and Mr V went for the Mas Biran (a fillet of fish rubbed with spicy paste and fresh dill, sizzled in mustard oil). My pasta dish worked surprisingly well. I was asked whether I would like it mild, medium or hot and I was pleased that it was hot like I had ordered. So often ‘hot’ seems to mean ‘a little above mild for the delicate Westerner’.

Although nice, my starter did seem rather out-of-place on the menu that boasts authentic dishes. As Cardamom is a more traditional establishment than a fusion restaurant it seemed like a strange addition. Mr V’s fish was very good. It was nicely cooked with a subtle flavour. Our starters came with some deliciously tasty mint and tamarind sauces which were both homemade.

For our mains we chose Lamb Anawaka (lamb tikka with ground spices, tomatoes and green peppers) and Snapper Fish Masala. The stand out dish of the night was the lamb. It was cooked beautifully and had real depth of flavour served with chunky mushrooms and peppers.

The tender snapper was well cooked but the sauce was a touch bland and very oily. The accompanying garlic naan was very good.

Presentation wise, the dishes were that of a standard Indian restaurant rather than a fine dining establishment. Our starters were on plain white plates that were adorned with colourless salad and a slice of lemon. It didn’t reflect fine dining but then again, neither did the prices which were more than reasonable. Our starters only cost £4.50 each and our mains were well priced too.

Moving onto dessert, I was pleased to see quite an extensive menu including a number of home-made dishes. We ordered a coconut samosa and a pastishapta which was a pancake filled with a coconut filling.

The desserts were definitely value for money as they were very substantial. However, the pancake filling was very dry not as sweet as I would expect a dessert to be. It came with cream but that did seem like a strange accompaniment.

All in all, we had very mixed feelings about Cardamom. It has won lots of awards and have some confident statements on their website so expectations were high and it just didn’t hit the mark. An article in the Guardian in 2005 spoke of well dressed crowds and a ‘chic eatery’ but this isn’t the impression we got. Much of the good press highlighted on their website and the awards were several years ago and it seems that Cardamom has lost its way a little.

As an Indian restaurant, it is very good but it is not what I would describe as ‘fine dining’ and this is what Cardamom claims to be. It may seem that I am being harsh but I review restaurants on what they profess to be and Cardamom claim to offer ‘a fine dining experience’. Had this not been the case and I would have awarded a green spoon for quality of food but if they are marketing themselves as fine dining, they just fall short.

My Last Mouthful was: Lamb Anawaka

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For more reviews of local food, competitions and news please take a look at the website- yourlastmouthful.com

Kasturi – The bring your own Indian Restaurant

Feeling a little worst for wear last Monday following the weekend, I felt the need to indulge in a giant curry. We immediately headed for our usual haunt and then changed our minds realising that we are supposed to be trying as many new places as we can. I looked in my copy of Chaat! magazine and found a list of places in the area. We chose Kasturi as it is relatively new and I have noticed some really good deals advertised outside when I have driven past.

There were quite a lot of people in there for a Monday night which was a good sign and staff were welcoming and showed us to our seats. The restaurant was minimal and stylish with big faux leather seats and nicely laid tables. We were immediately given a menu and asked for our drink orders. We were surprised when we tried to order beer and they didn’t serve alcohol but what we didn’t realise was that you are actually allowed to bring your own which is brilliant and a real saver for the old purse.

The menu was quite extensive and a little bit more exciting than your standard Indian restaurant. As we were feeling greedy we went for the meal deal. It seemed excessive but the 5 course deal of starter, main, rice, naan and side dish was only £9.95 and it would have cost that for a curry, naan and rice from the main menu. After some debate I was able to swap my naan for papadams because I had already ordered them which I thought was very accommodating.

The food was nice. The starters were good but nothing too unusual. My Chilli Panner was tasty and there were other things on the menu that I would still like to try. On the menu, the mains included the usual favourites but there was a ‘chef’s recommendations’ section that had some more unusual dishes. I chose a Kashmiri Masala which was a mild fruity curry. I really enjoyed it, it was very sweet which made it quite unusual and it was reminiscent of currys I’d had while in West Bengal. Ben’s Pistachino curry was also very nice. The Spinach Bhaji side dish left a little to be desired but the mushroom one was good. Our meal deal excluded sea food dishes but they looked like a better option that I will consider next time.

Overall, I really liked this place. If you’re looking for a good hearty filling curry there are so many places to go in Cardiff but I think I will come back to this one. The menu offered a few unusual choices that I’d like to come back and try and the fact that you can bring your own alcohol is a real bonus.

My last Mouthful was:Kashmiri Masala

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