Home > Restaurant reviews > The Cinnamon Tree, Pontcanna

The Cinnamon Tree, Pontcanna

Words by James McLaren

Time was when Indian restaurants were all chintzy decoration, gaudy baubles and tigers. No more; many have gone for a more sedate ambience, with minimalistic décor fitting menus that are less chicken tikka masala and more Tharav Sofyani.

The Cinnamon Tree in Cardiff’s Pontcanna area fits nicely into this latter bracket. Its demure presentation certainly goes well with its tasteful menu of modern subcontinental dishes. The staff are always friendly, and always as immaculately turned out as their Mercedes cars outside. They’re doing well, it seems, and on tonight’s experience, that’s no surprise.

My partner goes for the Chicken Chat – chicken pieces in a thick, spicy sauce – while I plump for the King Prawn Malabari. Both dishes are beautifully presented and the succulent king prawns in their crispy breadcrumb jackets are just the ticket with the warming chutney dip. Oh, and a glass of Cobra. Well; it’d be rude not to.

For mains it is quite a healthy affair. My partner’s Calcutta turkey steak comes with spicy mushroom bhuna, salad and absolutely lovely spicy Bengali potato wedges. Crispy, salty, creamy potatoes go wonderfully with the turkey. I have a Goan sea bass fillet, cooked in spiced coconut milk, served on a bed of crushed potatoes with caramelised onions, roasted mustard seeds and coriander. Wow, it’s a party in my mouth and no-one’s vomiting. It’s pretty hot, a medium apparently, but luckily I can still taste everything. Beautifully-cooked fish and a delicious coconut and spice combination.

I am very grateful for the mash when I take a small bite from the roasted chilli atop the ensemble; I can’t help myself, and my tongue suffers. Luckily it recovers quickly and I can continue to appreciate my fish. The very palatable house white wine is a decent accompaniment to our dishes.

The Cinnamon Tree is firmly on my list of potential venues when guests come to stay.

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