The search for Cardiff’s best kebab is proving to be a lot more challenging than I first anticipated.
It’s not because there’s a dearth of decent doners or a scarcity of succulent shishes. In fact, it’s quite the opposite - City Road and its environs have turned out to be a kebab utopia.
Reviewed kebabs from Lilo’s and Mina’s and post-pub guzzles from KBS and Abo Ali have all been excellent. Now, Shaam Nights can been thrown into the mix too.
Shaam Nights, formerly Can Zaman, is a Syrian restaurant with stunning Middle Eastern inspired decor. Mosaic tiled walls and grand metal chandeliers take you to a place a long way from the hustle and bustle of City Road.
A lack of alcoholic beverages is more than compensated for by an excellent selection of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. Both a strawberry and banana smoothie (£3) and an apple juice (£2.50) were commendable stand-ins for lager.
We started with some top notch mixed mezze (£8). Smooth hummus, smoky and creamy moutabal and pomegranate syrup drizzled baba ghanoush were all mopped up with warm flatbread. Crisp falafel and juicy rice-stuffed vine leaves completed the dish.
The kebabs – Shish tawook (£8) and a mixed kebab (£10)
Meat – The shish tawook comprised of two skewers of plump, juicy and lightly marinated charcoal grilled chicken breast. The mixed kebab consisted of a skewer of the first-rate shish tawook, a skewer of tender lamb shish and an average lamb kufta which lacked crispness and moisture.
Bread – The only bread we saw was served with the starter - next time I’d order some more to go with the main. Whilst it was very good, I prefer the fluffy softness of Lilo’s bread.
Salad – A simple and fresh salad of lettuce, cucumber and tomato lightly dressed with oil and lemon.
Sauce – Thick, subtle flavoured garlic yoghurt and a punchy chilli sauce were superb.
Other – A huge mound of buttery rice filled any remaining gaps in my stomach.
The verdict – Shaam Nights serves an excellent kebab in opulent surroundings. The chicken breast and sauces are the best I’ve encountered so far on my quest. For me, it’s the bread which stops it from being on a par with Lilo’s.
Address - 116-118 City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3HR
Telephone - 0292 0482824