Mint and Mustard was set up in 2008 and classes itself as a restaurant, which “redefines” traditional Indian cuisine.
This is a bold statement for any restaurant, let alone one in Cardiff.
The location of a restaurant is important and even essential to the experience of fine dining and Mint and Mustard is no exception.
The front of the restaurant
The restaurant is located on Whitchurch Road, which is not a poor area in Cardiff, but neither is it in a prosperous or expensive area. The restaurant is a modest and fairly small building, with the interior decor resembling a middle of the row takeaway.
I decided to order the Nadan Kozhi curry, with the Kesaria Pilav rice.
I was expecting a disc of rice and finely cut strips of chicken, drizzled with a colourful and perfectly measured amount of sauce, yet I was given what looked like a fairly bog-standard curry, the sort you would order after a night out. Panic.
The chicken was perfectly cooked. It was flavoursome, tender, with an interesting range of Indian spices and the sauce complemented it very well. I was surprised, but nevertheless, impressed.
I wanted to know more about the restaurant, so I asked the restaurant manager, Prashant Shankar, what sort of atmosphere he wanted to create in the restaurant. He replied: “a friendly atmosphere, but at the same time one that’s casual.”
This description seemed to fit with the restaurant, but to be honest, it could fit with most restaurants in the world. I asked another question.
What made you choose this location? “We want it to be relaxed and out of the way of the hustle and bustle of the city, said Mr Shankar. Fair enough.
I kept getting responses such as this, which was fine, but it didn’t really convince me. Mr Shankar also insisted on telling me about the numerous awards Mint and Mustard had won, which are undoubtedly impressive, but I have eaten there first hand so I didn’t need to know about the various accolades. I can look them up on the internet when I get back if I want to.
The food was brilliant and I cannot fault the expertise of the chef (who is trained in one of India’s top culinary schools, The Oberoi Vanyavilas), but I wouldn’t go as far as saying it has “redefined Indian cuisine.”
The food was tasty, but it lacked the first-class creativity, which would really promote it to the top of Cardiff’s restaurant scene. It seems as though the management are more concerned with the awards they get, than the food they serve.
The food was fairly pricey, but for the quality of food you are getting, it was reasonable. I suppose. For instance, a group of students who came into the restaurant as I was waiting for my curry, looked at the menu and immediately left.
It is more of a place to treat yourself to, on occasion, rather than a place to go after a few drinks with the lads. I recommend it, but don’t expect to be eating in Cardiff’s new, top restaurant. You will be disappointed.
Money Spent: £14.25