Friday, 1 June 2012

The Royal India, Dinas Powys


The opening of a new Indian restaurant and take-away may not be a big deal where you live, but Dinas Powys has relatively few places in which to eat out.

The Royal India occupies a former pub (The Swan) on the Cardiff Road. Notices proclaiming “Opening Soon” were displayed for about six months, with delays caused by the planning process. Local residents expressed concern about curry smells, but a state-of-the-art odour extraction system has been installed. The Royal India finally opened its doors for business on Wednesday (30 May). We were there (along with many familiar faces) to check it out.

We ordered main courses and side dishes. Starters were typically small portions of curry, kebab or bhajee (that also feature as mains) served alongside salad on long rectangular plates.

I had the Chicken Tikka, which arrived sizzling in an iron dish, with onion and fresh coriander. The large chicken pieces, cooked in a tandoori oven, were succulent and subtly spiced. It came with a very British side-salad (lettuce and tomato), which was a little unexpected.

My partner had Lamb Dhansak. This was a satisfyingly hot and sour lentil-based curry, with a curiously shaped piece of cucumber in the centre of the bowl. Quality lamb chunks were present. It was a little hotter than expected, which might generally be the case here if you’re point of comparison is standard take-away Indian.

We had two vegetarian side dishes (there are also several vegetarian mains). The Baingan Bartha was rather good; a generous amount of very tasty roasted aubergines mixed with spicy tomato. Saag Aloo complemented this, being a substantial little plate of new potato and spinach with spices, garlic and coriander leaves. We shared the dishes, and also a Pilau rice and Naan bread. The rice was a little disappointing in its plainness, but the Naan was light and well-cooked. With the good-looking range of vegetarian side dishes, I will probably order those instead of rice next time.

There was a dessert menu, which the few children present appeared to be perusing (so I’m guessing ice cream).

A range of India bottled beers were on offer (I had a large followed by a small Kingfisher), along with Fuller’s London Pride (though unfortunately nothing on draught), as well as bottled cider and a small wine list; most people on the first night seemed to be drinking beer. Our total food and drink bill came to around £33.

The Royal India is the latest venture from the owners of India Gate in Whitchurch, a restaurant established in 1987, and Gate of India in Rhiwbina, a catering and take-away service established in 1995. This suggests that The Royal India is designed for longevity. The owners also looked at The Castle Oak in Dinas Powys (now a Tesco Express), but The Swan was the right choice: it’s a better building altogether. The restaurant area feels light and spacious, with even the old skittle alley providing an attractive side area. The bar, with its comfy chairs, could become popular for an after-work drink while waiting for a take-away.

There were first night problems. The service was very poor. It was 90 minutes from sitting down at table to being served our food. We were not the only ones. The table next to us decided to leave after starters and before their main course because of the long wait (and that party included the critic for a popular curry magazine!). One of our menu choices was unavailable (they were polite and apologetic), there was general confusion about which table dishes were for, and we had to query the bill for double-charged drinks. The decision to launch straight into a full opening, rather than a softer one, may have been over-ambitious (the restaurant was full with around 60 covers). However, I am sure the management will swiftly rectify all these problems.

The owners also need to do more homework. On the take-away menu, for instance, Eastbrook should be one word (not two), while Dinas Powys is in the Vale of Glamorgan (not Cardiff). The website does not have a holding page yet. Little advertising has been done locally. The Royal India will need to reach out to the local community a bit more if they want to fill this restaurant on a regular basis, because early word of mouth will not be enough.

The Royal India is a very welcome addition to the food scene in Dinas Powys. The menu looks promising and they have created a pleasant dining environment. Next, we’ll be seeing if the take-away food is restaurant quality. The prices are reasonable and there are interesting options to try. We’ll report back!

Finally, The Royal India is located on a bend notorious for traffic accidents, just as you enter Dinas Powys from the Cardiff direction. Do take care.

Opening hours:
Lunchtimes: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Evenings: Monday, Wednesday through Sunday.

The Royal India
Bar & Brasserie
213 Cardiff Road, Dinas Powys CF64 4JW
029 2051 3800

6 comments:

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  3. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem.

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  4. Stephen Nottingham adds (Oct 2012): The above was written based on first night observations only (no insider knowledge). We have eaten at The Royal India subsequently and found the service to be very efficient and friendly. The management have reached out more to the community, for instance, on one occasion we ate there we had won a voucher at a local event. The Royal India is a most welcome addition to the food scene in Dinas Powys. By the way, the two deleted comments under this post were from a company trying to advertise air travel to India, and they had no relevance to the blog post.

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