Early 2020 probably wasn't one of the best times to open a new restaurant.
Pretty soon after Des Pardes opened their shutters on Albany Road they had to close them again due to lockdown.
This Pakistani restaurant, located on the former site of Canaima, reopened in the middle of June for takeaway. Hopefully they now have the chance to build up a loyal customer base to help them through this most challenging of times. Based on what we tried, they’re a more than welcome addition to Roath.
Their menu has pleasing similarities to East London favourites of mine such as Tayyabs and Lahore Kebab House - groaning platters of big-spiced bbq meats and masala fish, curries on the bone and weekend specials all feature.
A Des Pardes tawa for two was an absolute beast of a spread. It would have been cracking value for £19.99 but with a 15% collection discount it was only £16.99.
The main event saw a heaving dish of fluffy rice and slightly soggy chips topped with tender mild-spiced tandoori chicken on the bone, juicy and nicely char-licked chicken boti and succulent lamb seekh with a big whallop of chilli. It was a delicious dish which I’m sure would be even better served in the restaurant.
A fragrant biryani filled the room with its aroma of cardamom, garlic and cinnamon. The multicoloured grains of rice were flecked with pieces of spice-twanged chicken.
A pair of naans were enjoyably squishy with crispy charred bits around the edges.
Chutneys all brought flavour to the party - a mouth-puckering lime, a tangy and spicy plum chutney (alboukhara), sweet mango and fragrant creamy mint.
Tender channa (chickpeas) were bathed in a well-spiced sauce with an almost meaty complexity.
A complimentary bonus bowl of halwa, a semolina-based dessert studded with sultanas, was comfortingly sweet if a little bland.
On another occasion, I ordered from their nashta (breakfast) menu which is served on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 4pm (update - apparently you can order it anytime). Once again, I had a massive spread and it came to only £12.32 with collection discount.
The unquestionable star of the show was a fall apart tender nehari (£7.99). Overnight cooked lamb on the bone was bathed in a huge flavoured thick, meaty and spicy gravy. This is the type of dish that warrants multiple repeat orders.
Little pots of astringent lime pickle, fresh ginger, and green chilli provided welcome freshness and balance.
A well-spiced onion, tomato and chilli-flecked golden omelette (£4) was lovely combined with a soft naan (£1). With the optional addition of cheese or keema, consider it a potential McMuffin killer.
Lastly, a fragrant and tangy fruit-packed mango lassi (£1.50) provided a much needed balm for all that spice.
We really enjoyed both our great value meals from Des Pardes - breakfast, lunch and dinner they offer options to sate you spice cravings any time of day.
Address - 131c Albany Road, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3NS
Web - https://despardes.co.uk/
Telephone - 02920 490094