Saturday, 11 April 2015

Chai Street, Cardiff Indian restaurant review

Southern Indian food is one of Cardiff’s strongest suits. Purple Poppadom, Mint & Mustard, Kumar’s, Spice Berry, Chaiholics and The Duchess of Delhi all predominantly serve south Indian cuisine that ranges from the good to the outstanding.

Mint & Mustard were the pioneers back in 2007 and now they’ve resurrected Chai Street, their cheap-eat concept which used to live next door to the mothership on Whitchurch Road.

The relocation to Canton seems like an obvious move - the restaurants no longer stealing business of each other.

The décor is a charming mix of Bollywood posters, vibrant colours and reclaimed wood.

The menu meanwhile focuses on street food snacks, kati rolls and their famous thalis.

A mango lassi was ultra-thick, ice cold and fragrant (£2.95).

Pav bhaji (£4.95) wasn’t much on the eye but was moreish as heck. A toasted roll was served with minced potato in a spicy and buttery tomato-based gravy. If you’d told me it was keema I’d have believed you, such was its depth of flavour. However at £4.95, the price seemed a bit steep. 

A trio of samosas (£3.75) were crisp, grease-free and loaded with filling – spicy minced lamb, milder minced chicken and oozy cheese. A side salad or some chutney wouldn’t have gone amiss though.

For mains, pretty much everyone ordered the Chai special thali (£9.95). The portion size was decent but not bounteous.

A crunchy onion bhaji, shards of poppadom served with a mouth-puckering lemon pickle, fluffy rice, creamy raitha and a thin & crisp naan all put in an appearance. 

And then there was the quartet of cracking curries – the pick of the bunch was a mega meaty and deep-spiced lamb curry. A milder chicken curry, dry potato curry and velvety dhal were also excellent. 

Onto dessert and gulab jamun (£3.25) were sweet and syrupy but disappointingly soggy – they were accompanied by an exceptionally creamy vanilla ice cream.

Carrot halwa was much better (£3.25) – a soft, sweet and moist combination of grated carrots, whole milk, dried fruit and nuts. 

Chai Street is a great addition to Cardiff’s curry cohort. With a few tweaks to the portions and prices the recommendation would be unequivocal.

The Details:

Address - 153 Cowbridge Road East, Canton, Cardiff CF11 9AH
Telephone - 02920 22 88 88 (note, Chai Street don't take reservations)

Chai Street on Urbanspoon

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