Saturday, 21 January 2017

Ponnuswamy and So Sweet, Cardiff restaurant reviews


This blog post might seem a bit familiar. However, you’re having that sense of déjà vu for a reason.

The spot on City Road where Ponnuswamy is located has been the home to a number of South Indian restaurants over the years. And, I pretty much always order the same thing.

Madras in Wales was the first I reviewed back in 2013

Kumar’s was the next incarnation to come along in 2014. One of my favourite restaurants in the ‘Diff, it sadly closed its doors last October.

Thankfully, another South Indian restaurant has taken over the reins in the form of Ponnuswamy.

The décor is still exactly the same as Kumar’s. The menu seems almost identical. And, it’s still BYOB.


A pair of idli (£3.25) were spongy, soft vehicles for the accompanying chutneys and sauces. They included a spicy tomato number, a chickeny lentil stew and coriander and creamy coconut chutneys.


Cauliflower Manchurian (£3.95) was every bit as good as Kumar’s version – pan fried cauliflower, peppers and onions with just the right amount of bite were bathed in a soy and chilli heavy Indo-Chinese sauce. 


Lamb kothu parotta (£7) was also just as good as always. The comforting mix of shredded flatbread, tender lamb, tomatoes, onions, curry leaf and scrambled egg served with a bowl of curry sauce and raitha is still one of my all time favourite bits of comfort food. 


A dish of parotta (£7.40) and chicken curry was good but not quite at the level of the other dishes – a pair of parottas were crisp and slightly elastic but they didn’t achieve the buttery flakiness of the very best examples. A coconut-based chicken curry meanwhile was well spiced and studded with a decent amount of tender meat. 


Massala chai was creamy with a good hit of warming spice. 


Overall, I was impressed with Ponnuswamy. If I’m looking for a plate of cauliflower manchurian and lamb kothu parotta, it’s definitely going to be my go to destination. 

Despite being stuffed to the gills, we stopped off on the way back home at the recently opened So Good on City Road. This bakery and coffee shop specialises in baklava that they bake daily. 


They were all impeccably fresh and tasty (and a box of six came to a very good value £2.25). 


Highlights included hazelnut and pistachio varieties that were seriously crisp and not over-drenched in syrup. A pair of circular hazelnut and almond ones were also heroically good.


The Details:

Ponnuswamy
Address - 129 City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3BP
Telephone - 02920 094 094

So Sweet
Address - 211a City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3JD
Telephone - 07565 605654

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Pot, Cardiff French restaurant review


I’ve been umming and ahhing about whether I should re-review The Pot or not. 

You see, the main thing that's changed since my last visit is that they've relocated from Crwys Road to Whitchurch Road.

The menu is still packed with crowd-pleasing French comfort food. And the new restaurant space is still enjoyably quaint with a warm and friendly feel.


A bowl of mixed olives (devoured as we browsed the menu) hit the mark. But, the beer selection on offer was slightly underwhelming – I’m not sure Kronenburg 1664 or San Miguel have ever set anyone's pulse racing.


We ordered a few starters to share.

A baked camembert (£9) was a wintery delight. The gooey, slightly funky cheese was seasoned with a good drizzle of sweet honey and a sprig of fragrant thyme. Golden homemade breadsticks were perfect for dipping.


A lovely charcuterie selection comprised of smoked duck breast pieces, a chunky ham and bacon terrine, garlic spiked cream cheese, good salami and air-dried ham and disappointingly dry croutons. My only question mark was the price point – for £13.95 I’d have expected a more generous portion. 


The same couldn’t be said for the mains, which were bounteous in size.

A crisp and tender confit duck leg (£16.95) was served on top of a mountain of mixed bean cassoulet; the soft beans were flecked with smoked bacon pieces and coated in a rich tomato sauce with a little spike of chilli. 


Beef bourguignon (£14.95) was another lovely cold weather warmer – a big bowlful of yielding slow cooked beef pieces, mushrooms and onions were bathed in a comfortingly rich and meaty red wine sauce. It was served with a pot of smooth mashed potato. 


I’d argue that my main was the pick of the bunch. Perfectly pink lamb rump and cutlets (£19.95) were served with a slab of cheesy, crispy, soft tartiflette (the layers of potato still defined instead of turning into stodge). A glossy sauce, smooth carrot puree, cubes of black pudding and sautéed leeks completed the excellent plate of rustic food. 


A slab of bread and butter pudding (£5.75) looked heavy but was deceptively light. The soft, raisin-flecked pud was infused with a delicate hit of Cointreau and served with smooth custard. 


A crème brûlée (£5.25) was described by my friend across the table as the lightest he had ever encountered. 


We had a delicious dinner at The Pot and the serving team were super-friendly and efficient.

If you’re looking for lovely comfort food in a relaxed atmosphere then it’s still a safe bet.

The Details:

Address - The Pot, 55A Whitchurch Rd, Cardiff CF14 5NL
Web - http://www.thepotcafe.co.uk/
Telephone - 029 2061 1204