Back in September at the Abergavenny food festival there was a really good Indian food stand selling these incredible dosas and curries. My mum and sister were desperate to go to the restaurant – Cafe Spice Namaste – in London, and we finally booked a table during our last trip to London back in November, prior to my cousin's wedding. After eating here, I never wanted to order another Indian takeaway ever again. This was a game changer. This was really good, authentic Indian food.
From left to right: potato dosa – a crispy pancake filled with potato bhajee, served with saambaar (spiced veg and lentil soup) and a fresh coconut chutney. Beetroot and coconut samosa – diced Cheltenham beetroot and potatoes, freshly grated coconut and mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin and chilli. Bhael poori – puffed rice.
The potato dosa was crisp and filled generously with a really light, delicate taste. I'm so surprised I hadn't had these before and that they seem to be a relatively new concept to British diners because they are so delicious.
My favourite of the three was the samosa. Hot and crispy with the sauce (it tasted plummy), the combination of beetroot and coconut was right up my street and I'd love to try my hand at making a batch myself.
The bhael poori dish was the most unusual thing I have ever tried. Think sugar puffs, minus the sugar, but sweet nonetheless, with a moreish citrus flavour and lots of herbs. So strange but really yummy.
Once we'd finished the starters our mains arrived. I ordered the chicken tikka with rice and Tadka daal. The rice was sat on a bed of spices which was a nice surprise, and the chicken was flavoursome throughout, and, of course, cooked to perfection.
My mum had the salmon tikka and Sarah had the special of the day – the goat curry. All of it was wonderfully fragrant with just the right amount of heat. I always used to shake off Indian food as just a load of spice but when it's done well, it is actually incredibly complex and, interestingly, offers new flavours in every dish for every course.
Find out more about Cafe Namaste here – I can't recommend this place enough, but make sure you book, it's popular with the locals.