On a baking hot and sunny June evening why would anyone want to eat hot and spicy food? Well, ask the diners at Cardiff’s Multi-award winning restaurant Mint & Mustard - because it was packed! Even more surprising it being mid-week.
Chef Anand George developed his culinary skills in Kerala, on the South-western tip of India, before training in the five star luxury hotels of Mumbai.
After moving to London in 2005 George further honed his art in leading Indian restaurants Zaika and La Porte des Indes and gained an enviable reputation as a master of Indian cuisine. This led to the opening of Mint & Mustard, Cardiff in December 2007.
Since its opening, Mint & Mustard has firmly established itself as one of the leading restaurants in South Wales. Chef George has had outstanding success; in 2008 he won both the House of Commons Tiffin Cup and the South Asian Chef of the Year. In 2009, Mint & Mustard became the first Indian restaurant to be named ‘Best Indian Restaurant’ and ‘Best Restaurant in South Wales’ at the South Wales Echo Food and Drink Awards. George is also judging the True Taste of Wales Awards and the UK Chef of The Year for 2009. We were left wondering how he finds the time!
The philosophy at Mint & Mustard is to re-define Indian cuisine, creating sumptuous modern dishes, based on the enduring traditional flavours and spices of Indian cuisine. This was evident from the delicious tasting menu cooked for us by George.
Beginning with a selection of delicacies including Bombay Chat, which is a popular vegetarian snack with yoghurt, mint and chutney. It is placed in the mouth whole as the delicate pastry melts in your mouth leaving the refreshing palate cleansing mint yoghurt behind. This was accompanied by a moist fillet of salmon marinated in honey and ginger and a tender piece of chicken marinated with curd cheese, yoghurt and mint. Despite the fact we had already polished off the basket of Pappadams and chutneys the starters all quickly vanished amid ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.
Next came the fish course – a delicate fillet of pan fried sea bass accompanied by spicy crushed potatoes with curry leaves and mustard seeds and a sauce of mango and coconut. The potato had quite a kick which strangely did not detract from the taste of the bass, but was quickly cooled by the smooth sauce.
The main course was a sharing event as plate after plate was put in front of us; lamb with spinach, duck curry, cow peas with butternut squash and runner beans with mustard and coconut. The spicing was delightful, just enough to be interesting, but not too much to make you reach for the water glass after each mouthful. Each dish was different yet they complemented each other and the meat was tender and succulent. Accompanied by plain rice and a variety of Naan bread we were all feeling very satisfied by the time the empty plates were cleared away.
But, we all still had room for dessert – none of your readymade pineapple and coconuts filled with ice cream at Mint & Mustard! Instead we were treated to a thick chunk of warm tandoori pineapple, a delicately scented crème brulee with cardamom and saffron and the specialty of the house – Chocomosa (a sweet, melted chocolate filled samosa) with caramelised banana and ice cream. Delicious! In fact this was the only point during the evening in which we were all quiet!
At just £27.00 per head for the tasting menu Mint & Mustard provides a good value quality dining experience. Coupled with friendly and unobtrusive service it really is a Cardiff must-visit restaurant.
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