Archive | December, 2010

Mowgli’s, Crwys Road

26 Dec

Ready for takedown: the delights of Mowgli's

Someone with a little more flair for design than me could almost certainly knock up a nice visual illustrating locations of Cardiff curry houses while referencing the class system.

Sitting pretty on the city’s southside as the undisputed leader of the proletariat is the Vegetarian Food Studio, featured on this blog back in October. Head a few miles north to Heath, and Anand George’s aristocratic South Indian experience Mint & Mustard dominates the spice landscape.

Drop back townwards into the ever-so-slightly more urban surroundings of Roath and Cathays, and a wave of new-money upstarts can be found. The likes of Punitha’s and Mowgli’s have adopted some of M&M’s fine dining trappings, while knocking out meals that don’t dictate you eat there within seconds of being paid.

Of course, value for money isn’t just about price, so all this is only relevant if the eating is any good. I went to Mowgli’s, nestling on Crwys Road in the student heartlands, when my brother came to visit recently, and was impressed. The restaurant itself is functional rather than swank, but there’s very little wrong on the food front.

Mowgli’s Shahi Keema Momo delivered a fine version of one of my favourite dishes, minced lamb cooked with peas and flavoured with curry leaves – not too heavy or fatty and with complex spicing and just the right level of heat (though don’t expect to finish it without getting a sweat on). A platter of starters was also on the money, honey glazed paneer and excellent mixed kebabs offsetting one another well.

On this occasion I confess to breaking the Bare Grills tenner-a-head limit just slightly, but I’d have to say it was worth it.

Malcolm Gluck talks budget wines

25 Dec

Gluck, blatantly in his element

A few weeks ago the Guardian published a nice article on buying wine for less than a fiver. With uncanny timing, I interviewed their former budget wine supremo Malcolm Gluck on the same day, as part of a project I’ve been involved in to design a mini-magazine suitable to be given away free with a product.

Gluck, who wrote the Superplonk column for 14 years, has often cut a controversial figure, first and foremost for getting up the noses of the wine establishment by dismissing corks as likely to spoil good vintages.

More recently he caused further outrage for describing many wines as being so full of additives that they resembled “alcoholic cola” on a C4 Dispatches programme, and started a booze-related turf war by suggesting that beer-drinkers were “terrible lovers” in the Guardian‘s Word Of Mouth blog.

Quite apart from all this, I was nervous about interviewing him as he had been a hero of my father (a man who loved to drink wine, but not to spend silly money). What if he wasn’t a very nice bloke?

Thankfully I got a pleasant and informative interview out of Gluck, who recommended that novice drinkers looking to explore interesting wines at good prices should head to Sainsbury’s, Asda and M&S as their first ports of call. With this in mind, here are a select few of the vintages that should be available in Cardiff over the winter. If anyone would like a more comprehensive list please email me, and also see below for an audio extract from the interview.

Winter 2010/11 recommendations from Malcolm Gluck, all under £7. Wines are scored on a value-for-money basis out of a possible 20 points:

Sparkling

  • Asda Cava Brut – Spain, 16 points, £4.28

White

  • Asda Vin Du Pays Chardonnay – Italy, 16 points, £3.97
  • Asda Soave 2009 – Italy, 16.5 points, £3.28
  • Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Bourgogne Aligote – France, 16 points, £6.99
  • M&S Orvieto Single Estate 2009 – Italy, 17.5 points, £5.49

Red

  • Asda Beaujolais 2009 – France, 17 points, £4.47
  • Asda Marques Del Nortes Rioja Joven 2009 – Spain, 16 points, £4.06
  • Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Curico Valley Merlot – Chile, 16.5 points, £5.99
  • M&S Vina Ulmo Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – Chile, 17.5 points, £4.99

Excerpt from interview with Malcolm Gluck