Sunday, 20 February 2011

Punitha's Cardiff Review - Underhyped South Indian food.

*Update - Punitha's has now closed down*

As far as South Indian food in Cardiff goes, there's one place that seems to get all the hype - Mint and Mustard. As a result, I think it's a bit of a shame that the really pretty good Punitha's is very much overlooked. Granted the decor of the joint is slightly reminiscent of a bad 80s nightclub but this restaurant serves some of the most interesting Indian food I've ever eaten in Cardiff.

I've sampled quite a few of the dishes from the recently revamped menu over the past couple of years and have definitely come to the conclusion that you need to pick carefully. As far as the curry main dishes go, I tend to find that they can be a llittle stingy in terms of meat / paneer / fish content and I therefore tend to stick to the other  options. Saying that, a Paneer tikka massala (no longer on the menu) which I've eaten there before was one of the most interestingly smoky flavoured curries I've ever had.

Having whittled down my favourite menu options over time, my usual picks are as follows:

Zafrani Paneer: This starter actually recently replaced one of my previous favourites of Massala Paneer on the menu and I don't feel it quite lives up to its predecessor. However, as a starter it's a nice light way to start the meal. Lightly spiced pieces of paneer cooked in the tandoor combine perfectly with an onion salad and an immense coriander chutney.

Mutton Kothu Parotta, Egg Veechu Parotta and Cauliflower Manchurian

Mutton Kothu Parotta: Finely chopped pieces of parotta (layered flatbread), onion, tomato, chilli, curry leaf and mutton served with a curry sauce work together to make a really comforting plate of one of Tamil Nadhu's favourite streetfoods. The flavour of the lamb, parotta and curry leaf together is seriously special. Apparently you can walk down a street in Chennai and locate a Kothu Parotta seller by the sound of the metal spatulas chopping the dish into small pieces. I really can't rate this dish highly enough and it's one that I have weekly cravings for.  

Cauliflower Manchurian: An Indo-Chinese dish of lightly battered califlower florets served in a sweet yet spicy sauce. It really does taste a little bit Indian and a little bit Chinese.

Egg Veechu Parotta

Egg Veechu Parotta: This dish has doubled in price on the menu recently (grumble) as it now comes served with Sambar (a curry sauce) but I still have to order one every time. It's basically a giant chewy eggy bread Does that sound appetising? Well all I can say is I find this dish more moreish than a bag of Smith's Bacon Fries

As a takeaway these four dishes come to about £16 quid so aren't exactly bargainous but this serves enough for the two of us (with a little left over for a cheeky breakfast). Eating in does cost more but they have recently added a cheaper Tiffin Corner Cafe next door to cater for the demand from regular drop-in customers.

Details: Punitha's, Albany Road, Telephone: 02920473055


  1. I agree to the above comment. Punitha's serve authentic and traditional south indian food compared to Mint and Mustard. In mint and mustard you will not be able to find the real south indian flavours rather it is western styled indian food.

    Punithas tiffin corner is very cheap and affordable comparing to their restaurant. I like their Kothu poratta and masala dosai ans i also like their weekend special Chicken Liver fry, it tastes realy good

  2. Thanks for your comment. I'll give the Chicken Liver fry a try. Sounds really interesting. Are there any other dishes you'd recommend?

  3. This looks really good. I love Mint and Mustard but I wouldn't say it is typically Southern Indian, it's more fusion I'd say. This looks great!


  4. Lovely food I agree - but don't you think it's a tad over-priced for what it is?

  5. @grahamf - I think the takeaway option is certainly better value (bigger portions and lower prices) than the restaurant. However, I'm yet to visit the Tiffin Corner. The prices there seem rather good value too.