I've been trying to sample a true representation of Cardiff celeb Chef Anand George’s food for yonks. The food he served at Poppupadom, Cardiff’s first pop-up restaurant was a disappointment; most likely due to the unfamiliar kitchen. Equally the delicious food served at Mint & Mustard, the restaurant where he was formerly head chef, gave an indication of his abilities but vitally was not cooked by the man himself. This is why I was so eager to sample the food at Purple Poppadom. Would Chef George’s food, cooked in his own kitchen and with his own team live up to the billing?
Purple Poppadom is very good. The flavour, concept and presentation of the dishes is bang on and the dining room with its little bar area is pretty funky.
I’ll get the minor quibbles out the way first so I can get onto the good stuff.
As far as the food is concerned the only bum note came from a rather odd powdery textured nutmeg ice-cream accompanying one of the desserts. My only other issue with Purple Poppadom is their poncy menu descriptions. They give the impression of style over substance and sell the place short. According to the menu the concept behind Purple Poppadom is nouvelle Indian cuisine. I understand the implication that the food is a lighter, fresher, contemporary take on Indian food. But surely the phrase "nouvelle cuisine" is as dated as Noel Edmonds’ hairstyle? The mullety descriptions extend to the names of some dishes. Anyone for Prawns in the Pink? Maybe Lamb in a Thrice then? How about a “side-by-side” presentation of crème brulees?
The positives of Purple Poppadom are many and overwhelm the minor criticisms. The food is largely brilliant and the service was friendly and professional.
The Starters rather cleverly showcase two or more cooking styles of similar ingredients.
My Fresh from the Dairy (£4.95) included a deliciously charred & subtly spiced piece of paneer, a lovely samosa of Welsh Tintern cheese and spiced cashew nuts, and a well balanced goats cheese, beetroot and spinach salad.
Mrs G’s starter of Scallops side-by-side (£6.95) was equally delicious. Poached scallops were served in the shell with a moreish coconut milk sauce gently seasoned with garlic and ginger. A spice crusted scallop served with a red grape and ginger dressing was pretty neat too.
Mrs G’s Nawabi Chicken (£13.95) was the standout dish of the mains. Beautifully presented, the dish included an astonishingly moist and well seasoned piece of tandoori chicken. The dish also came with an adorable boneless spiced chicken thigh, and a rather clever mint sorbet.
My Lamb Varattiyathu was a generous lamb-fest (£10.95). Oodles of melt in the mouth lamb was served in an intense gravy heavily flavoured with curry leaf. This was better than Mint & Mustard’s version.
A third main of Chilli coconut King prawns (£13.95) was rammed with ginormous crustaceans served in a plate-lickingly good sauce of coconut, kaffir lime, mustard seed and curry leaf. The sides too bear mention. Supremely fluffy coconut rice had just the right level of coconut, the pilau rice was good enough to eat on its own and a peshwari naan was filled to the edges with sweet coconutty goodness.
We sampled most of the desserts on offer and they didn’t let the side down.
The signature dessert, the Chocomosa (£5.50) is definitely a dessert for the sweet tooth. Sweet, intensely chocolatey, oozing ganache is enrobed in a crisp samosa casing.
Tandoori pineapple (£5.00) meanwhile was subtly charred to intensify its flavour; a perfect palette cleanser to end the meal.
The perfectly textured "side-by-side presentation" of crèmes brulees (£5.00) included a delicious rose petal number which was reminiscent of Turkish delight (one of my favourite treats). Less successful was the delicious but slightly too subtle green tea brulee.
Purple Poppadom is a little more expensive than a run of the mill curry house. However it’s easily worth the extra bucks to sample Chef George’s creative take on Indian food.
Purple Poppadom, 185 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF11 9AJ
Tel: 029 2022 0026
Tel: 029 2022 0026