Saturday, 27 August 2016

Chai, Roath, Cardiff Indian restaurant review

Is this the end of summer? It certainly feels like it’s beginning to stutter and splutter its way into Autumn with the increasing frequency I’m now wearing a rain coat.

A couple of weeks ago, when the sun was still shining we took the opportunity to dine al fresco in Chai's new courtyard area.

It was actually the first time I’d been back to this Roath based tea house since they’ve gained a reputation for the southern Indian food they serve. In this time they've also rebranded from their former name Chaiholics.

In keeping with the chai theme, Chai's cocktails all contain tea. And on a Monday to Thursday they’re two for a tenner.

Sweet peach and warming ginger tea, peach slices and a big glug of spiced rum went into a lovely Chaiholics rum special.

A chaijito meanwhile was an interesting take on a mojito made with assam tea. Mrs G enjoyed it but she didn’t think the still tea was an improvement over sparkling soda.

Later I drank a lovely non-alcoholic original iced tea (£2.55) made with ice cold assam and a perfect amount of sugar and lemon.

Poppadoms (£2) were excellent. Perfectly crisp and grease free, they were served with a trio of lovely chutneys - a vivid purple mild beetroot variety, a spicy mango and a cooling mint.

Kerala Fried Chicken (£4.95) wasn’t quite as expected. Other versions I’ve eaten have all involved crispy chicken, hence the KFC pun. However, this was still a decent starter - succulent chicken pieces were served in a powerfully spiced thick sauce with a blob of beautifully fragrant mango sauce on the side.

Chilli paneer fry (£4.95) was also pretty good. The soft cheese pieces were served in a classic Indo-Chinese soy and chilli based sauce with crisp onion and pepper pieces and a dusting of toasted sesame seeds. The paneer would have benefited from a spot of crisping and colour.

Mains took things up a notch.

An Indian railway lamb curry (£11.95) contained heaps of supremely tender meat bathed in a mildly spiced sauce. It could have been improved even further with a bigger wallop of ginger and chilli.

Mrs G’s kovalam fish curry (£12.95) was absolutely bang on. Meaty and tender swordfish steaks were served in a beautifully fragrant coconut sauce with a good tang of tamarind.

Steamed rice (£2.60) was perfectly fluffy.

And a pair of soft chapatis (£2.60) were great mops for all that gravy.

For dessert, a cardamom chai brulee (£3.95) saw creamy fragrant custard with a crisp sugar top. However, the middle of the sugar was slightly over-burnt meaning it had taken on a bitter note.

Despite a few flaws, we had a lovely meal at Chai. I can definitely see myself having another cocktail or two in their courtyard on a sunny evening.

The Details:

*Update - 16/06/2018 - Chai is now closed*

Address - Chai, Unit 6, The Globe Centre, Wellfield Road, Cardiff, CF24 3PJ
Web -
Telephone - 029 20 495 975

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