Monday, 27 May 2013

Sugar and Spice - Purple Poppadom, Cardiff Review

Purple Poppadom, located in the Canton area of Cardiff stands distinctly apart from other Indian restaurants in the area, describing itself as serving 'nouvelle Indian cuisine', which should give you a good idea of what to expect. Hidden away unassumingly above a parade of shops on Cowbridge Road East, the restaurant is housed in a dining room that isn't afraid to take a purple theme and run with it!

Pleased by the choices on a thoughtful drinks menu, which included a very good Snowdonia pale ale and a broad wine selection, these were well accompanied by poppadoms and interesting chutneys (beetroot, mint and lemon) to nibble.

Snowdonia Pale Ale from Purple Moose brewery
Snowdonia Pale Ale from Purple Moose brewery
Indian food is notoriously challenging to present beautifully. Fundamentally meat/vegetables in sauce doesn't lend itself well to twiddly fine dining presentation so you get the feeling that creativity has been let loose on the starters. Most options come in threes with cutesy descriptions (Lamb in a Thrice anyone?). Multiple components, processes and expensive ingredients abound all designed to show the diner that the team can deliver more than your standard curry house.

The Streets of Mumbai at Purple Poppadom Cardiff Indian Restaurant
The Streets of Mumbai
'The Streets of Mumbai' £5.95 (deep breath) Aloo Tikki – potato cake served on a bed of spiced chickpeas, Bombay Chat – pop-in-the mouth semolina pastry snack filled with yoghurt and homemade chutney, topped with gram flour vermicelli, Tangy puffed rice salad with tamarind chutney.

This for me was a case of style over substance. The plate looked absolutely stunning but was lacking in terms of texture. The Aloo Tikki could have been amazing but was drenched in yoghurt, making it sloppy. This then wasn't enough contrast against the Bombay Chat which was filled with the same yoghurt. The puffed rice tower was tasty but the texture of stale rice crispies didn't quite do it for me.

A trio of 'Chicken Connoisseur' £5.95 fared much better. Beautifully moist chicken and interesting contrasting, complimentary flavours, the fun was in deciding on a favourite.

Chicken Connoiseur at Purple Poppadom Cardiff Indian Restaurant
Chicken Connoisseur
The mains were both fantastic, both heavy with spice and lip tingling chilli and clearly a cut above our usual takeaway fare.

The Murgh Chatpata Kolaphur £10.95 boneless chicken with a thick tangy onion, tomato, fenugreek leaves and lemon juice, was very satisfying mopped up with an excellent saffron pilau rice, £3.95 although the chicken was disappointingly a little overcooked.
Murgh Chatpata Kolaphur at The Purple Poppadom Cardiff
Murgh Chatpata Kolaphur 
Saffron Pilau Rice
Saffron Pilau Rice
A Kashmiri Roganjosh £11.95 had the kind of heat that sneaks up on you and makes your nose run, the smooth, rich sauce punctuated with soft, tender chunks of slow cooked lamb. Utterly delicious.
Kashmiri Roganjosh Purple Poppadom Cardiff restaurant
Kashmiri Roganjosh
Tandoori Roti
Tandoori Roti
Faultless? No, there were elements that didn't quite work for me, but this is definitely Indian food elevated, and some very skilled and creative cooking indeed.

Purple Poppadom
185a Cowbridge Road East, Canton, Cardiff
029 2022 0026

Twitter: @purple_poppadom 

Purple Poppadom on Urbanspoon
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