Last Sunday, I was kindly invited to lunch at the Purple Poppadom in Canton, Cardiff with a guest for a sneak peek of the restaurant’s new street food concept, Pop Up 4 Lunch, which officially launched on 20th May.
As a Cardiff-based food blogger, I’m quite ashamed to say that I’ve never been to Purple Poppadom before. Offering gourmet Indian cuisine, the Michelin Guide and Good Food Guide-listed restaurant has bagged a string of awards for its food and it seems popular with other local food bloggers who I follow.
Situated on Cowbridge Road East, above the Meat Market and newly opened French restaurant Chez Francis (from Francis Dupuy, the restaurauteur behind Pier 64 and Le Gallois), Purple Poppadom doesn’t look like your average award-winning Indian restaurant from the outside. The entrance is easy to miss, in a small doorway which leads to stairs to the restaurant above.
In creating the menu for Pop Up 4 Lunch, Chef Anand George and his team have scoured the Indian street food scene and spent time developing the most authentic dishes they could find.
The menu includes a variety of street food snacks as ‘starters’, thali platters and Bombay Frankie Rolls for main courses, a selection of delicious desserts and a range of both hot and cold drinks, including a traditional yoghurt lassi.
All of the options on the menu are so mouthwateringly tempting, we decided to share each dish we ordered so that we could each get to sample more of what Pop Up 4 Lunch has to offer.
We began with the Venison Pao, originating from the bustling street food stalls of Lucknow; minced venison gently cooked with spices and served with a fried egg, topped with a traditional home-baked Pao bun (£5.95).
The venison was rich and meaty, complemented by the delicate spices in the dish. I wouldn’t have thought to pair it with egg, but the combination worked a treat. The Pao bun was incredibly soft and fresh, and tasted lovely with the runny egg yolk. I would order the Venison Pao again without a second thought.
We also ordered the Lamb Pattice to start, consisting of two balls of ground lamb mixed with spices and rolled in breadcrumbs (£3.95). Meaty and aromatic, these were carefully fixed to the plate with a tangy orange paste and garnished with a fresh side salad. They tasted lovely – we could’ve done with two each!
Moving on to our main courses, we shared a Keralan beef Bombay Frankie Roll (£4.95). But what is a Bombay Frankie Roll? A ‘Frankie’ is crafted from wholemeal flat bread, coated with egg omelette and stuffed with tasty ingredients, Purple Poppadom’s signature green chutney, pickled cucumber and red onion.
The Keralan beef Frankie roll was packed with tender slow-cooked beef marinated with spices and herbs, flavoured with coconut for the authentic Keralan finishing touch. It was spicy, but the heat was far from overpowering. These would be great for a lunch time treat.
We then enjoyed a thali platter each – I went for prawn (£8.95), whereas my guest opted for chicken (£7.95. A true street food offering, the thali platters are a great choice for a main course because they include tapas-sized portions of different foods, presenting a balanced insight into the flavours, textures and tastes of traditional Indian cuisine.
Each platter includes a curry, a dome of basmati rice, a small side salad, a bowl of spicy cauliflower, a chapati bread and a lamb pattice.
I really enjoyed my thali platter. The prawn was incredibly succulent and the curry sauce was out of this world – it tasted like a traditional tikka masala, but it had an interesting kick to it. I just wish there were more prawns in it!
To round off our meals, we each ordered the Chocomosa Anand from the dessert menu; the chef’s signature dessert of a light pastry parcel filled with chocolate ganache, served with homemade vanilla ice cream (£3.75).
The Chocomosa was held firmly in place on the plate by a banana slice topped with caramel. It was deliciously crispy and the hot chocolate ganache tasted beautiful paired with the creamy vanilla ice cream, served in a dainty tilted bowl.
After my first visit to Purple Poppadom, I can now see exactly what I’ve been missing out on – truly authentic, yet innovative Indian cuisine, served with passion in contemporary surroundings. I am already looking forward to the next time I Pop Up 4 Lunch at the Purple Poppadom again – or dinner for that matter!
185a Cowbridge Road East
(029) 2022 0026
I was invited to Purple Poppadom as a guest and our food and drinks were provided complimentary; however, I was not obliged to write a positive review.