Moksh Cardiff bay – An award winning curry

As part of the celebrations for getting my new job I went out for a meal with my family to the Moksh restaurant in Cardiff Bay.  I had wanted to visit the place for a while, having heard good things about it and smelt the wonderful fragrances while walking past.  The chef and owner, Stephen Gomez, is from Goa and has was won several awards in recent years including Chef of The Year 06/07 and Best UK Curry, amongst others. He proudly displays these along with articles and reviews in a glass case outside of the restaurant.  Given the all the above I had high hopes for this meal!

The restaurant itself is quite small, maybe 30 covers.  It was fairly loud and busy, with quite a modern funky feel with lots of coloured light.  We were lucky enough to be sat at one end, in a small alcove with a Buddha spray painted on the wall.  As the other tables in there remained untaken, this felt like having our own private room. It was great as we were away from the bustle in the rest of the restaurant.

The funky Buddha

The menu has a huge range of choice, and being a first time visitor I found it a bit overwhelming. If only their website was up and running I could have browsed the menu at my leisure! So not entirely knowing where to start, and with this being a celebration, we all eventually decided to go for the Chefs Taster Menu.

This was a four course feast priced at £28 a head, pretty good value as starters are between £3-5 and mains £12 – 14 plus rice.  The exact content of the taster menu was not written down, and although it was explained to us before we started,  I struggled to remember it all.  Luckily everything was explained again as it was served so we knew what we were eating.

First up was the selection of starters.  There were three: A cheese, onion and spinach samosa, an aloo tikki potato cake and a lamb shammi kebab.  The presentation of these was unlike anything I have seen before. The samosa was upright on its own stand and a spring of lamb’s lettuce was stuck in the top of the shammi kebab.  This was not bad, just unusual!

My Starters: Aloo Tikki, Samosa and Lamb Shammi Kebab

Everything tasted great.  The aloo tikki and kebab were fragrant and subtly spiced, the meat in the kebab was extremely finely ground and the samosa was crisp and tasty.  I was really impressed with the flavours.  Also, considering that all three items had most likely been deep fried they were all remarkably light and non greasy.

The next course was our kebabs from the tandoor.  Each of us was presented with a plate with a freestanding skewer containing chicken, beef and a king prawn.

The Kebab

This was visually very impressive; however it was much easier to eat if you shifted the freestanding skewer out of the way once you’d removed the food!  The meat itself was lovely.   Everything was coated in an aromatic paste of spices which, although hot, was tasty and did not overpower the dish.  The chicken was moist, the beef had a deep earthy flavour and the prawn was soft. This well cooked prawn was my favourite of the three kebabs.

After a little breather it was now time for the main course!  This consisted of four pots of curry each with a selection of plain, garlic and keema nann, and plenty of pilau rice.  The curries were Chicken Szechwan, Lamb Navarin Bhuna, Malabar King Prawn Curry and Tarka Dal.

Lots and Lots of Mains!

The chicken Szechwan is an Indian take on the Chinese dish.  This was quite different to the other curries and it certainly packed a punch.  There was less sauce with this as it had chunkier veg and chilli pieces.  The Lamb Navarin Bhuna is another interesting cultural blend, being Moskh’s take on the French classic.  The meat was very tender and rich and although I failed to spot the French influence/flavours it was very tasty and a lovely medium curry.  The Tarka dal proved slightly divisive with the girls enjoying it and the boys not so sure. I think this had more to do with the lentils themselves rather than the way in which they had been cooked.  My favourite of the four dishes was the Malabar King Prawn Curry.  This had a slight sweet fruitiness to it which came from the coconut milk and moderate spicing.

Clockwise from top left: Tarka Dal, Lamb Navarin Bhuna, Malabar King Prawn Curry and Chicken Szechwan

Of the accompaniments, the rice was rice, nothing more, nothing less. There was however a huge amount of the stuff!  The nann breads were lovely, the garlic nann was smothered in garlic butter and delicious.  The keema contained one large piece of (processed) meat rather than the mince I’ve usually seen which was meant you got plenty of meat with every bite.

The service was leisurely which suited the style of meal.  You had plenty of time to consume and digest one course before the next was served.   Despite these long pauses by the time desserts came around I was still very full!  For dessert we had two mini chocolate ginger cakes and two mini cheesecakes which we shared between the four of use.

The desserts

Both desserts were interesting, but very small and not quite up to the standard of the rest of the food. But having already eaten so much I wasn’t too bothered by this.  The final thing to be served just before we left were some Welsh cakes, which struck me as odd in an Indian restaurant, even if it is in Wales!

The Welsh cakes

These were again nice enough, but did leave me with the feeling that perhaps desserts were not this restaurants strong point!

My only real complaint came when the waiters started to mention that their card machine was “not always working”.   When we came to and explained that we needed to use the card they were quite insistent that the machine would not work and that we should visit a cash point nearby without trying the machine.  However when we also insisted and did try the machine it miraculously worked first time!

Although I had really enjoyed the food and the evening, the farce with the card machine did spoil things a little. It would also make me think twice about recommending the restaurant to someone.  However, I’ve never heard similar complaints, so I hope that this was a one off!

Overall I thought the food was great, it was nice to see attempts to create fusion dishes (even if I could not have guessed some without being told!).  I think a lot of the food was innovative, well executed and well presented.  Now, having tried the chef’s selection I fancy trying some of the other dishes on the menu such as the Lamb with Gunpowder and the Goan Fish Curry.


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One Response to “Moksh Cardiff bay – An award winning curry”

  1. Helen T Says:

    Sounds fantastic, and will definitely be trying on my next trip to the Bay

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