I’m a big fan of Anand George, with the Purple Poppadom and Munchesters both being firm favourites, so I was over the moon when his latest offering, The Pickled Pepper, opened up in Penarth. The Pickled Pepper is a takeaway only Indian restaurant, which describes itself, appealingly, as “The Home of the Cheeky Curry”. We tried a takeaway a couple of weeks ago, ordered via the handy mobile app – which worked like a dream and left me with no concerns that my order hadn’t gone through/my payment hadn’t been accepted etc. as is sometimes the case when you don’t get to speak to a “real person”. It even told me exactly what the current wait time was for delivery and collection respectively before I’d placed my order.
The menu is very varied, with seafood, lamb and chicken – and even one beef – offerings, including a couple of Anand’s signature dishes, including his take on chicken tikka masala with “half ‘n’ half”. It doesn’t include, however, the bog standard curry house repertoire of dhansaks, rogan joshes, kormas, vindaloos etc. with your choice of meat, chicken, prawn or vegetables, so if that’s what floats your boat, you may be a bit disappointed.
There are a number of set meals for one or two people on offer and we decided to try the “Cheeky Meat Supper for Two” which comprised Onion Palak Pakora for two, a choice of two main dishes from the lamb or beef options, a large steamed rice, the vegetable side dish of the day and a plan and a mango and coconut naan, plus salad, pickles and a bag of poppadoms. This came in at £31.95, although there are offers on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to make things a bit cheaper. Also in the set meals section is a chicken, prawn or vegetable version of the above – in fact, this is my only complaint so far as I’d ideally have liked to have chosen one chicken and one lamb, or one lamb and one prawn (you get the idea – I wanted to mix and match!) dish, rather than us both having to have a meat dish.
Our takeaway seemed to arrive at lightning speed – possibly even faster than the stated time – and was delivered by a really cheerful, friendly lady who had no trouble finding our address (it sometimes proves problematic to delivery drivers and in particular airport taxis – don’t get me started on that incident!) It was nicely wrapped and beautifully presented; you could tell it had been packed with care and not just slung in a bag to get it out the door quickly.
We started off with the poppadoms, which were lovely and crisp and fresh (no nasty stale oil taste which can all too often ruin poppadoms) and the plethora of pickles, which included lemon and date as well as the more usual suspects of mango chutney and cucumber yogurt (which had lovely chunks of fresh cucumber in it). There was also a really good fresh salad which was far more appetising than the standard ‘salad-in-a-bag’ which often goes warm and soggy in the takeaway bag with all the other items.
The onion palak pakoras were my highlight of the meal – in fact, I could have made a meal just of these with the salad and chutneys, so delicious were they. They were like really good, quite dense onion bhajis – apparently with the addition of spinach and water chestnuts, although clearly only a little of each as I couldn’t see much spinach and I’m not a fan of water chestnuts generally! They were lovely and crisp on the outside and not at all greasy.
Mr W’s main was a Lamb Kurumelagu – “spicy preparation of lamb with aromatic spices, prepared in the Syrian Christian style of Kerala” and mine a Lamb Korma – “Lamb simmered in a creamy sauce of cashew nuts, onions and flavoured with saffron and cardamom”. Both of these were very tasty, albeit not overly spicy in either case (to be expected with mine but not Mr W’s). My only slight complaint was that mine seemed to have an awful lot of what I think was fresh coriander in the sauce, which gave it a bit of a stringy texture and would have been disappointing for anyone that doesn’t particularly like coriander, as it wasn’t mentioned on the menu! On the plus side, there was plenty of meat in both of our dishes (unlike our experience of a takeaway from Mint and Mustard when it first opened in Penarth!) and the meat was succulent and tender. Mr W’s dish made up for its lack of spiciness with a great depth of flavour. My photos don’t really do the dishes justice – in hindsight I should have photoraphed them on the plate, rather than in the takeaway containers!
The rice was fluffy and cooked well, and the vegetable side dish had a variety of vegetables and was actually the spiciest part of the meal! The naans, especially Anand’s signature mango and coconut, were excellent.
All in all, our Pickled Pepper experience was fantastic and yet another resounding success from Anand George. We loved the ‘cheeky curry’ branding and other fun and quirky little touches too. I’m not generally a massive lover of takeaways, but I’ve remarked several times since this one that we need to have another one soon, which is praise indeed. Definitely the best Indian takeaway in Penarth, and I can’t wait to see what Anand does next.
The Pickled Pepper, 7 Glebe Street, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan CF64 1ED.