Saturday, 29 July 2017

Mangla's Spice of Life, Cardiff Indian vegetarian and vegan restaurant review

One day in the near future I’m pretty sure we’ll have mostly vegan diets due to the unsustainability of meat and dairy production and the earth's swelling population.

On that day, when a mixed doner costs a thousand quid, I’ll eat Indian food on a daily basis.

Indian cuisine serves up by far the best vegetarian and vegan food with its meat-like aubergine and okra curries, kaleidoscope of interesting spices and moreish deep-fried goodies.

Mangla’s Spice of Life in the burgeoning Victoria Park area of Cardiff serves exactly the kind of home-style Indian food that I’m talking about.

Hailing originally from the Gujarat, the restaurant’s namesake and owner, Mangla Dodiya, has run the Pembroke Mini Market for the last twenty years. It’s always been her dream to open her own restaurant and earlier this year it became a reality.

There’s a homely vibe to the place with its mishmash of tables and chairs, rainforest of potted plants and Mangla in the open kitchen running the show.

As a group of four, we ordered pretty much everything on the menu.

Complimentary poppadoms were served with sumbhara, a combination of carrot, cabbage and green chillies that was delicately spiced with turmeric, mustard seed and fenugreek. It was a welcome change to the usual mango chutney and lime pickle.

A bevy of deep-fried treats were generously portioned and well-spiced. They were served with a sweet and spicy tomato chutney (£1) and yoghurt dip (£1).

Golden onion bhajis (£4);

grease-free samosas filled with potato, carrot, peas and sweetcorn (£4);

mixed vegetable pakora (£4) made with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrot and potato;

and potato vada (£4), comprising of thin slices of battered potato, were all delicious.

A selection of curries were far lighter and fresh tasting than you’d find in a typical curry house.

Peas and spinach paneer (£7) was my pick of the bunch. The soft cheese was served in a delicately creamy tomato sauce.

Moong dal (£6) was fragranced with cumin and mustard seed amongst other spices.

Channa saak (£6) saw chickpeas and soft potatoes in another flavoursome gravy.

Finally, ringan potato muttar saak (£7) was a curry of soft aubergines, peas and potatoes.

Breads hit the mark too - soft roti (£1.50), bubbly and slightly crisp puri (£1.50), deeply spiced thepla (£1.90). A paratha (£1.50) was the weakest link as it lacked the flaky butteriness of the best examples.

Fluffy basmati rice (£2.50) completed the feast.

Mangla’s Spice of Life is a well-priced and tasty labour of love. For a taste of home-cooked Indian cooking, I’d recommend a visit.

The Details:

Address - Mangla's Spice of Life, 587 Cowbridge Rd E, Cardiff CF5 1BE
Web -
Telephone - 029 2132 4183

Mangla's Spice of Life Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. pelican ladycake3 August 2017 at 16:29

    That looks incredible. I'm new to Cardiff and know NOTHING about the eating choices yet so very pleased to find your reviews. Thanks.

    1. @Pelican ladycake - glad my blog is of use. Welcome to Cardiff and happy eating!