Wednesday, 11 May 2011

GourmetGorro in Brief - Jinuk Indian Restaurant, Canton, Cardiff Review - A korma in chef's special clothing

The bright lights of Jinuk - "Restaurant of the Year 2003"
Update - Jinuk has now closed and has been replaced by Purple Poppadom

This latest post is more of a fable than a review. It’s not that I’m going to neglect to mention the quality of the food on offer at Jinuk, the light and contemporary feel of the décor or even the friendly and efficient service which accompanied our meal. However, there is a more important message: Beware the Korma in Chef’s special clothing. 

It was a couple of weeks back when a group of friends and I happened to find ourselves looking for a curry to eat at 11pm on a Sunday evening. We’d spent the rest of the day eating a gargantuan Dim Sum lunch at The Happy Gathering and drinking in The Cricketers and The Cayo. Remarkably, by the time 10pm had come around, lunch had begun to settle and we were ready to eat curry. So off we went to The Cinnamon Tree. Unfortunately, this was the meal that never was and so I have a different story to tell. We were turned away with the shake of a head and the offer of a takeaway. So plan B it was: The Jinuk. 

It's a bright and spacious dining area with a contemporary feel.

Located on Cowbridge Road East, the exterior of Jinuk belies the bright, spacious and contemporary restaurant located at the top of a flight of stairs.  We were seated quickly, menus were brought and I began the deliberation process. I was in the mood for my usual dual protein curry combination: chicken and lamb served in one dish. However, something else caught my eye, another dish which offered two types of protein in one. There it was, under the Tandoori and Marinated section, The Cocktail Bahar; the dish that promised to offer chicken and homemade paneer in one dish. It sounded amazing …….

Starters were brought swiftly and included a delicious Shami Kebab – well spiced lamb wrapped in a light omelette, and an enjoyable Lamb Tikka. 

Lamb kebab and egg...a truly classic flavour combination

An enjoyable lamb tikka
My appetite suitably whetted, the sense of anticipation for my main dish was beginning to rise. Out was brought a procession of dishes of a reassuringly familiar shade of brown. Last to come was the main event…The Cocktail Bahar….and it had an unnervingly familiar yellowy colour to it. A moment of realisation hit me. Shit. I’d ordered a korma. I thought back to the description of my dish on the menu: Chicken and homemade curd paneer cooked in a thick and creamy sauce. Damn my selective attention. I’d been suckered in by the by the first part of the description and failed to pay due care and attention to the second part of the sentence.  It tasted pleasant enough, and brought flooding back memories of when I used to order a korma or a passanda when I was eight and hadn’t yet progressed onto the ‘spicy’ chicken tikka massala. However, I tried my friends’ mains and had a glimpse of what I was missing out on.

The standout dish was a Begun Bahar which comprised of Chicken and aubergines in a well spiced sauce of minced meat, green chilli and coriander amongst other things. This is what I should have ordered but it was not to be.
Oh looks like a Korma and it tastes like a's a Cocktail Bahar
A reassuringly brown and spicy Begun Bahar

A good mushroom pilau

A good keema naan

I wanted to order this for dessert but unfortunately it was off the menu

I enjoyed my meal at the Jinuk and would definitely consider a return visit if in the area (after trying the other places on my long to do list in the Canton/Pontcanna area.) However, I know for next time to look more carefully beyond the surface….Beware the korma in chef’s special clothing.

The details: Jinuk, 185a Cowbridge Road East, Canton, CF11 9AJ, Telephone: 029 2038 7778

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