Mint and Mustard
Reviewed by Leah Roberts
When I heard that a Mint and Mustard was opening up in Penarth I couldn’t wait for an opportunity to pay a visit. My husband and I decided to go on a Thursday evening to see what the mid-week ambience was like.
Our table was booked for 7pm and we drove up Plassey Street, Penarth, keeping an eye out for the restaurant. It was easily spotted nestled amongst the terraced buildings looking inviting on the corner of the street. It looked cosy inside with the colour scheme to match the name and tables arranged so that you felt like you had some privacy but weren’t isolated.
We were greeted by a polite member of staff who gave us a choice of seats and offered to take our coats. We settled into our seats and he returned with a menu each and lit the candle on our table. There were about 12 people there when we arrived and although the restaurant itself isn’t huge, it comfortably seated us all with tables spare – I commented that it would be a great place to hold a works night out.
After leaving us for a few minutes, our waiter returned to take our drinks orders and promptly returned with our drinks. I opted for a gin and tonic which was served in a tall slim glass with ice and a slice of lemon, whereas my husband chose a bottle of cobra which was presented to him with a glass and poured for him at the table. We asked for a few minutes to browse the menu as everything sounded absolutely delicious. It’s always a worry with Indian cuisine that the menu is over complicated and is assumed that you know what each type of dish contains but I was happily surprised to see that the menu had great descriptions in easy to understand writing – no overly descriptive flowery adjectives, just simple wording that sounded absolutely delicious.
We opted for the tasting menu as we have both been fairly “boring” in the past ordering from Indian restaurants so we were excited to try a little bit of a few things. The starter arrived promptly and the waiter was kind enough to describe each item on our plates as well as advice how to eat them. The Bombay chaat was a small ball containing yoghurt and he recommended it be eaten in one go, the help was greatly appreciated! The crab was absolutely delicious, the portion of chicken tikka was just the right amount – tasty and the chicken was beautifully cooked, but my absolute favourite was the chaat. They were presented on a square plate with a selection of sauces which made you hungry just to look at.
Next came the fish course, we both admitted we would never have considered ordering a fish course so we were looking forward to trying it. Wow it was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth. The pan fried sea bass sat on a bed of mashed potato which was a beautiful consistency and tasty, and the tower was surrounded by a yummy mango and ginger sauce. I avoided too much sauce as I found it slightly spicy but adding just a small amount to the fish complimented it just perfectly.
The sorbet was served next to cleanse the palate and more drinks were offered. We were constantly cared for and the staff were extremely attentive without interfering too much, after all as parents to a young child we were looking forward to just catching up on non-baby life and not to be harassed! We both agreed that so far it was the perfect amount of food, we weren’t stuffed so looking forward to the main but had eaten enough to not be hungry.
The main arrived – just looking at the bowls of food being put on our table made me want to dive right in enthusiastically. Our waiter described each dish and recommended we start with the prawns as they were piping hot. The lamb just fell apart in your mouth, the chicken was spicy and full of flavour and the olan (butternut squash with cow peas in coconut) was moreish. They were served with basmati rice and a selection of naan breads. The whole main was enjoyable and again, the perfect amount of food. I do think that perhaps slightly more rice would have been better as there wasn’t enough compared to the three bowls of mains but we mopped up with the naan as there was plenty served to us. My favourite was the olan and its coconut based sauce, I recommend it highly! The naan breads were better than any we had ever had, they were fluffy and tasty – no grease or burnt edges that we are used to.
After our mains we were given a short time to digest then asked if we were ready for deserts. They arrived beautifully presented and vibrant with colour. It was advertised as a selection of chef’s desserts so our waiter described each one and we tucked in. The chocomosa was a real treat, a chocolate filled samosa that was warm complemented by almonds and a caramelised banana. The grilled pineapple wasn’t something I’d ever thought about before – warm pineapple – but it was so delicious! Something I’d definitely try again. Our favourite was the crème brulee which we thought tasted like Turkish delight, it was a vivid pink with a crunchy crust and the lightest fluffy cream base – yum!
We absolutely adored our meal, it was such a treat. The restaurant had a lovely atmosphere and the staff added to it, they were so polite, dressed smartly and helpful. It was clean, smart and beautifully decorated and was filled with the most delicious cooking scents. The service was second to none! We give this restaurant 5 out of 5 and we will definitely be returning!
For more information, to view menus or make a booking visit www.mintandmustard.com/penarth.