Saturday, 24 December 2016

Chai Street, City Centre, Cardiff Indian restaurant review

There’s still a shortage of good independent restaurants in Cardiff City Centre, so the arrival of anything decent is to be welcomed with open arms.

One of the latest openings is Chai Street Indian street kitchen, a sister restaurant to the existing Canton branch and a little sibling to the excellent Mint & Mustard

We visited on a bitterly cold weeknight. The restaurant’s bright colours, bunting, wall art and reclaimed wood panelling were a sunny relief from the bleakness outside.

A mango lassi (£2.95) was cool and refreshing but could have taken a bigger hit of fragrant fruit.

Chai St Indian Pale Ale (£3.25), the house brew sourced from Brecon Brewery, was delicious. Easy drinking with just a light hint of hop, it was a good foil for the spicy food to come. 

A trio of idli (£5.25) were pillowy soft fermented lentil rice cakes. Mildly flavoured with a slight tang, they were a frigging lovely match with the accompanying sambal that was dotted with green beans, okra and aubergine. 

Tawa fish (£4.25) saw a beautifully flaky fillet coated in a golden spice crust that hummed with ginger, chilli and garlic.

Onto mains and the standout was a stonkingly good paratha wrap. The crisp and flaky flatbread was stuffed with shreds of yielding deeply spiced lamb and a few leaves. At £4.50 this has to be a contender for one of the best sub-five pound lunches in Cardiff. 

A lamb thali (£9.95) was very good but lacked a bit in portion size. Tender lamb was bathed in a comforting sauce spiced with curry leaf and cinnamon. But, there were only 3 pieces of meat. It was joined by a lovely selection of tender potatoes tempered with mustard seed, mild lentil daal, super creamy raitha flecked with cucumber and mint, crisp poppadum shards, soft naan, fluffy rice and lip-puckering lime pickle. 

A pot of lamb biryani (£7.50) was a little corker. The fluffy, buttery, lemony, cardamom twanged rice nestled pieces of tender lamb (it too could have done with a few more bits of meat) and was served with more of that lovely raitha. 

Desserts were both killer.

A couple of scoops of creamy ice cream (£2.75) had a massive thwack of coconut. 

Warm carrot halwa (£3.50) was a lush bowl of comfort food. The soft carrots and crisp cashew nuts soaked in sweetened milk were reminiscent of a super moist carrot cake.

Chai Street is far more than a decent independent addition to the City Centre, it’s an excellent one.

Disclosure -  I was invited to Chai Street, all food and drink was complimentary.

The Details:

Address - Chai Street, 15 High Street, Cardiff CF10 1AX
Telephone - 02920 399 399

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