Saturday, 2 March 2013

KatiWok, pan-Asian street food cafe, Cathays review

Whilst driving along Crwys Road a couple of weeks ago, the Day-Glo colours and unusual name of a new shop front caught my eye. I didn’t quite catch its name, but a week later a friend recommended a visit to what I realised must be the same place – KatiWok.

KatiWok is a new pan-Asian street food diner and takeaway which specialises in Kati rolls (an Indian street food from Kolkata reminiscent of a kebab roll) and Wok-fried noodles. KatiWok’s vivid exterior closely mirrors the interior’s bubble gum banquettes and kaleidoscopic walls covered with Bollywood magazine clippings. It’s pretty funky, and a little reminiscent of a 50's diner on LSD.

In fact, KatiWok could quite comfortably be categorised as a fast food joint; their menu is brief and keenly priced, orders are placed at a counter, and their food is served in disposable containers. Lastly, and a little irksomely, food is brought out as and when it’s ready. This meant that Mrs G and I’s dishes were served 5 minutes after one friend whilst other members of the group had to twiddle their thumbs for a further 5 minutes. If it wasn’t for my pre-lunch packet of pork crunch from Home Bargains, the holdup would have been torture.

Fortunately, it was worth the wait.

Mrs G and I both ordered meal deals (any kati roll, side or dessert and a soft drink £7.99). To drink I had a diet coke whilst Mrs G upgraded to an excellent mango milkshake for an extra quid.

My side of Nepalese fried dumplings were scrumptious. Four crisp, grease-free dumplings contained a moist minced chicken and onion filling. They were delicious dipped in a squeeze of chilli sauce.

Mrs G’s lamb samosas were also good. Crisp pastry enrobed a generous filling of spiced minced lamb. This time, a squeezy bottle of mint raitha provided the perfect foil.

Whilst other members of our group ordered noodle boxes, which were described as enjoyable and ungreasy, for me it was all about the kati rolls.

My Karachi shami kebab consisted of a warm, buttery, layered flatbread filled with spiced minced mutton and lentils. A healthy dose of red onion and coriander added freshness whilst a couple of squeezes of the chilli sauce and mint raitha added further contrast.

Mrs G’s chicken Mumbai tikka roll was similarly enjoyable, except this time in the place of lamb were mildly spiced strips of tender chicken.

A tasty yet low key dessert of coconut pudding cake (£2 launch offer / normally £2.99) was accompanied by a milky, sweet and aromatic mug of chai tea (£1.50).

Only a couple of weeks ago I was welcoming a new informal and exotic eatery to Roath. Sorry to sound like a broken record but Kati Wok is also another solid addition to Roath’s dining scene. Hang on, Mrs G has just told me that Crwys Road is actually in Cathays...

The details:

Address - 53 Crwys Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4ND
Telephone - 02920 376222
Katiwok on Urbanspoon


  1. Just been down there and whilst food was cracking, it took an absolute age to arrive even though it doesn't look particularly busy. Nice and laid back atmosphere.

    1. @JL - Interesting you had an issue with the service too. Glad you thought the food was lush. I've really got a hankering for another kati roll.

    2. Went to katiwok recently...again! The food is too good! Afghan Kati rolls are to die for! So are the meat samosas and chicken dumpling soup!

      My only gripe (if you can call it one) is they don't advertise or tell you just how fresh and homemade all their food is! In alot of restaurants the salad is limp or items taste like they are bought in mass produced from a wholesaler...the red onion sliced in my Kati rolls have always been crisp and the flat breads taste like they were just rolled and baked.

      I've eaten there a few times. The service in terms of time wasn't great the first time I went if you compare it to McDonalds etc but it's much faster than most restsurants I've been too and if you consider everything is made to order fresh and brought out as soon as it's made (not left to dry out until evrything is ready like most places) you can't really complain. Have to say I have been 4 times, the first in January soon after they opened and service has gotten quicker since then but like I said it's not McDonalds! Thank god!

      On a final note I would also say it's great to go to a place where the staff are friendly and actually seem to care if you enjoyed your meal.

      Keep it up guys - Cardiff needs more restaurants like this!

  2. Going to have to try. I live about ten minutes away and I keep thinking, 'Nah, I'm almost home, I'll eat there.' Maybe it's time...

    1. @Mr.P - Definitely worth checking out. I think the Kati rolls are really good. Love your blog by the way!