Presently best known as the UK’s first authentic Chai house, Chaiholics has recently opened in the evenings as an Indian styled bistro. It’s not the largest of eateries but don’t let that fool you – thanks to an adroit selection of street food and curries prepared from scratch daily by one of the best Indian chefs in Britain this is a real culinary treat.
Owner Ray Sandhu and chef Pramod Nair (whose CV includes 5* Indian hotels and cooking for royalty) are keeping it simple with a limited number of dishes that can be prepared individually to a very high standard. Our starter of okra fries proved the point – so simple but brilliantly done. A light, crisp batter with a sumptuous spice kick that stopped short of overwhelming the delicate flavour of okra.
The theme continued with our mains. The pan fried Assam sea bass is in principle a straight-forward dish. A limited number are bought fresh each day to ensure the fish is at its best, then covered in freshly ground and roasted spices before being flash fried to perfection – crisp skin, delicate flakey flesh and a lovely spice kick. Indian Railway lamb curry is testament to Pramod’s experience in India’s 5* hotels, where it’s a stalwart on menus. It’s not your typical fiery curry but melt in the mouth slow-cooked lamb in a full flavoured rich gravy with a chilli boost where the garlic, cashew and coconut flavours still shine.
With the mango cheesecake dessert we saw a more experimental side to Chaiholics’ food. It had little resemblance to a conventional cheesecake – soft set mascarpone and pureed mango covered in a generous dusting of chocolate and crushed cardomon. An imaginative burst of flavours that served to both delight tastebuds and cleanse and refresh the palette. A fine way to end a cracking meal.
Unit 6 The Globe Centre
Cardiff CF24 3PJ
Tel: 029 2049 5975