Nair's CV is an immediate badge of quality for this restaurant’s refined take on Southern Indian cooking.
In fact, many of Salkaara’s dishes will be familiar to fans of Mint & Mustard and Purple Poppadom, from their crispy soft shell crab, through to their sea bass with raw mango sauce, chocomosa and tandoori pineapple. But they’re a quid or so cheaper here.
The spicing was excellent on everything we ate - multi-layered with bucketloads of flavour.
A superb mango lassi (£3) was big on tropical fruit with a yoghurt tang and a richness balancing hint of salt.
Dainty pieces of tender lamb tikka (£5.95) were coated in a big flavoured spice crust with red peppers, chilli and a good lick of char from the tandoor.
Soft and creamy paneer tikka (£5.25) was marinated with a good twang of yoghurt and thrum of green chilli.
Mrs G’s tandoori chicken (£11.95) was one of the finest examples of the dish I’ve ever eaten. Served on the bone, the bird was gorgeously tender, crisp-crusted in places and coated in an almost buttery and smokey marinade. A pot of rich and tangy tomato based curry sauce was a nice bonus.
Coorgi gawti yerchi (£11.95) was a first rate showcase of Welsh lamb. Fall apart tender pieces of flavour-packed meat were served in a coconut-based sauce heady with the tang of tamarind, fragrance of curry leaf and warmth of chilli.
Sides were just as interesting.
A light thoran (£4.50) saw stir fried shreds of beetroot mixed with a liberal quantity of grated coconut and mustard seed.
Meaty pieces of okra (£4.50) with good bite were coated in a sauce of soft sweet onions with tomato and a good thwack of ginger.
A lovely naan bread (£2.50) was dotted with pieces of soft and sweet fig and coriander. Arguably it could have been a bit more pillowy but it was still a commendable mop for all the curry sauce.
Buttery and impeccably fluffy pilau rice (£3.75) was delicately fragranced with saffron and flecked with cumin seeds.
We had an excellent meal at Salkaara and judging by how full the restaurant was on the Friday night we visited, they’ve already developed a loyal following. With cooking of this quality, Salkaara can comfortably hold its own amongst Cardiff’s most celebrated Indian restaurants.
Address - Salkaara, 125 Station Rd, Llandaff North, Cardiff CF14 2FE
Web - http://www.salkaara.co.uk/
Telephone - 02920 567 100