Under the sea at Mint & Mustard

To celebrate the Jubilee season, award-winning Indian restaurant Mint and Mustard are enjoying a special seafood festival and I, with a handful of other bloggers, was invited along to test out some of the menu.

We started with a mixed plate of of Scallops Thengapal, Kekada Sirke (soft-shell crab), Steamed Salmon Cake and Chemmeen Porichathu (described as shrimp but instead a tiger prawn was served).  The scallops and soft-shell crab were some of my favourite dishes of the night - the scallop, served in its half shell with a delicate coconut and lemongrass sauce, was poached to perfection whilst the crab was the best I have ever tasted and lightly crisped.

The salmon cake looked equally delicate but beneath it's innocuous pink exterior it packed a hearty punch.  The prawn dish was meaty but didn't quite hit the flavour notes I was hoping for.

Next up was King Fish Steak Vattichathu - a firm, meaty fish reminiscent of tuna steak, it was served with a very hot chili pickle marinade.  A simple potato cake and green salad helped balance the dish and the mint dressing took the edge off the chili.

More followed in the form of Queens Silver Pomfret (Recreation of Royal treat on 17th October 1997, during the The Queen's visit to Kochi, Kerala where was served grilled Silver Pomfret by Chef Pramod), Karimeen Pollichathu (pearl-spot fish wrapped in a banana leaf), Nandu Masala (crab masala), Konju Manga Curry (tiger prawns) and Mixed Seafood Pachadi (cod, monk fish shrimp, squid and mussels) served with seafood rice and naan.

These were less successful - the crab was overly salted and the fish in the curry and pachadi were overcooked leaving it all a bit chewy.  The karimeen pollichathu and pomfret were well received but lacked the wow factor that the king fish or scallops had from earlier courses.

Pudding was an experiment of flavours by chef in the form of a trio of ice creams. A pungent rose and vetiver was a vibrant pink but reminded me too much of floral soaps and beauty products.  The jack fruit was pleasant but not being familiar with it I can't say if it was a good example or not.  Finally a mint and mustard ice cream which was thoroughly vile and not too dissimilar to eating toothpaste and wasabi in one mouthful.

Mint and Mustard have established a new direction since original chef Anand George left to set up Purple Poppadom at the other end of town (any similarities to their new fish menu is of course coincidental, I'm sure) and many of the dishes were very good (or at least very nearly there with just a little bit of refinement). However if I never have to eat mint and mustard ice cream again it will be too soon.

Bloggers and guests were invited to test the new menu and as such the meal was complimentary.


Ted Shiress said…
So perhaps not quite what it used to be?
Perhaps but this was my first visit so I have no reference point
Anonymous said…
An honest and frank review. What a pity it was spoiled by implying that the menu may have been plagiarised. A very unpleasant thing to say and here's hoping you have your facts right.
Hello Anonymous (isn't it funny how these types of comments are always anonymous), thanks for describing my review as honest and frank. I feel you have taken a big leap however in deciding I've accused anyone of plagiarism when all I did was comment that two fine-dining Indian restaurants both launching special fish menus over the summer was one heck of a coincidence. The actual menus themselves are very different, as I'm sure you will see if you look at their websites.

Another coincidence is that I've received similarly worded emails this week from a PR representing Mint and Mustard asking me to remove all reference to their competitors (their words not mine), Purple Poppadom which is headed by their ex-chef Anand George. This is something I had politely refused to do as A. this is a matter of historical record and B. I'm not especially in the habit of writing or doing things just because PR companies tell me to. In fact I have only ever made 2 edits to posts in the 6 years of writing this blog and both were for errors - the first for incorrectly stating the price of a fixed-price menu and the second for incorrectly describing the location of a venue. As Anand did indeed work at Mint and Mustard and has now moved on to open Purple Poppadom I didn't feel the need to change anything at all.

Now I'm not saying that you, my dearest anon, are in any way connected to Mint and Mustard. I'm sure this is just another coincidence.
Verity Smith said…
Here, Here, Cardiff Bites - blogs are a place for freedom of thought and speech.
There's a big difference between a factually correct comment and an accusation of plagiarism I think.
Lawrence Hourahane said…
Well, well. Firstly a PR Company attempts to alter a review based on honestly-held opinions, and the fact that a previous employee now works elsewhere - a fact which, if you care to Google it, is also mentioned elsewhere on the net.

And then a person who hides behind an Anonymous tag makes an accusation of plagiarism.

I think, in the interests of fairness, transparency and clarity, the PR company and the Anonymous person should reveal their identites (the blogger is clearly too gallant to name the PR company herself), and reveal if there is a link between them, and also between them and the Mint and Mustard.

Unlike you, Anonymous, I shall end my post with my name: Lawrence Hourahane
Update: I have today been contacted by Mint and Mustard who have confirmed that the person who requested the aleration be made was acting in their own interests and that the company did not know of and disagreed with her decision to do so. I believe this to be the case and will now leave it for them to handle internally. I'm very sad that this happened and would like to thank everyone for their supportive comments. I would also like to thank Mint and Mustard for contacting me swiftly to rectify the matter and happy that we can draw a line under the matter.
Cardiffblogger said…
When Cardiff Blogs did the "PRs vs. Bloggers" debate last year, I was asked to be on the panel but declined, as my experience with PRs through my blog has not been very good, so I thought I would be too biased to take part.

It's a fact that there are PR people out there who think that because blogs are written by amateurs and not employed journalists, that they can use them as their own personal sounding boards, that they're "renting out" your blog for their client, bribing us with free stuff, and if you don't say what they want you to say about their client, they get into a huff.

Not every PR person is like this, but I have come across it on more than a few occasions; hence I have stopped accepting requests from them too.
Up until now I've been quite lucky and have had generally good experiences working with restaurants and PRs. I hope that this is a momentary blip.

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